New York City
Charged with the redesign of the deteriorated Upper Promenade, Starr saw the need to design a space that could hold two seemingly contradictory uses: a walkway to deliver tourists to the Statue of Liberty ferry and other destinations, and a place where people could enjoy the commanding view of New York Harbor. Observation of the pedestrian movement of the over five million annual visitors and the daily visits office workers and residents led Starr to a plan that repositioned stairs to line up with Statue of Liberty ferry gangways and integrated wheelchair access ramps. Starr designed a continuous granite and wood bench for the lower level whose tall sculpted back doubles as a retaining wall for flower beds on the upper terrace behind. On the upper terrace, lush planting creates the sensation of intimacy. In all, more than 5,000 square feet of gardens with native grasses and flowering perennials were planted in collaboration with Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, transforming the Upper Promenade from a place to pass through to a destination in its own right.