New York City
Central Park’s Naturalists’ Walk, located just inside the park opposite the Natural History Museum, is now a popular shady landscape with a secluded atmosphere at the bottom of a natural slope. Prior to 1996, the area had been largely neglected, viewed as an unsafe and hidden setting with dry, worn-out surfaces. As Chief of Design for the Central Park Conservancy, Laura Starr reconfigured the pedestrian paths and bridle trail in this area to improve circulation. The design shapes the visitor experience to feel an escape from the surrounding dense urban environment and into a beautiful natural area enhanced by the dramatic color of native plants. The landscape includes a small one-acre lawn as its center, a wooden rustic bridge, and a stone bridge spanning a narrow inlet of the Lake. Pedestrian paths link to series of west side destinations including Columbus Circle to the south and Great Lawn to the north.