AVENUE OF STARS
The Avenue of Stars is a 400-metre long bridge section of waterside promenade along the northern side of Victoria Harbour at Tsim Sha Tsui in front of the Intercontinental Hotel and site of the former New World Centre, since replaced by New World's Victoria Dockside development. The Avenue, based on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame", celebrates stars of the Hong Kong Film Industry, and was opened in April 2004. It cost HK$40 million to construct and was designed by local architects AGC Design and financed by New World Group and supported by government bodies including Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong Tourism Commission and the Hong Kong Film Awards Association. On completion it was donated to the Hong Kong SAR Government by New World Development which managed the attraction under a 20 year contract which was originally to have run until 2024. However, New World were awarded a new 20-year management contract in early 2016 to replace the existing contract to run until 2036 in return for funding an extensive three year reconstruction programme which was completed in early 2019.
The Avenue of Stars closed on 8th October 2015 and following extensive renovation was reopened to the public on 31st January 2019. During its closure some of the exhibits from the Avenue of Stars including statues and hand prints were relocated to a temporary "Garden of Stars" at Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront Podium Garden and a pedestrian subway linking East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and Salisbury Garden became "Starry Gallery" gallery with walls lined with photos of film stars and movie stills. Some of the items relocated from the "old" Avenue of Stars including the film director statue as well as handprints have been retained at Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Podium Garden.
At the same time as the redevelopment of the Avenue of Stars was taking place, New World Development was undertaking its Victoria Dockside development, adjacent to the Avenue of Stars, due to be completed in 2019, which involved demolition of the New World Centre and construction of two hotels, shopping mall, residential apartments, offices and art space, directly accessible from the Avenue of Stars.
New World had built and funded the entire Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, of which the Avenue of Stars forms part, in the early 1980's. In August 2015 conditional approval had also been been granted to allow New World Development to extend the Avenue of Stars by 500-metres eastwards along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade towards Hung Hom entailing closure of that section of the promenade for two years. However following objections revised plans for the redevelopment of the eastwards extension on a much smaller scale were subsequently approved in February 2016 and that section of promenade will instead be redeveloped over a period of about one year.
Bruce Lee Statue in its new location and no longer surrounded by barriers following reopening of the renovated Avenue of Stars in early January 2019
When first opened the attraction contained 73 handprints, increasing to 107 by the time of closure for renovation. Following its renovation addition these 107 handprints, nine new handprints from the winners of Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress are to be added in the near future. All handprints have been newly designed and carry the elegant bronze colour of the Hong Kong Film Award statuette. Some of the stars more familiar to audiences outside Hong Kong include Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Chow Yun-fat and Maggie Cheung. Many of the stars featured are deceased. The handprints have been finely crafted and the palm prints are clearly visible. The handprints have been relocated from ground level to wooden handrails, allowing them to be more viewed more easily by visitors.
Handprints of film stars have been relocated to hand rails on the renovated Avenue of Stars to become more accessible to visitors
The four bronze statues (Bruce Lee, Anita Mui, Hong Kong Film Awards and McDull, a popular local animated piglet character) are also more accessible and no longer surrounded by fences. The statues of Bruce Lee and Anita Mui are decorated beneath with flowing-water features; the water installation for the former flows faster to represent Lee's martial arts fighting speed, while the latter flows more slowly to mimic Mui's performance on stage.
Anita Mui Statue, Avenue of Stars
With the integration of digital technology, visitors can use smart phones to scan QR codes near the handprints to view a brief biography and film footage of the superstars and learn more about them and can also take photos next to the statues of the superstars with the augmented reality (AR) based technology on site. The renovation included new landscaping resulting in a doubling of the seating area, as well as an increase of shaded and green areas by about 700% and 800% respectively. Environmentally friendly materials were used - the railings and chairs are made of a bio-based wood substitute which mainly consists of rice husks, while the light-coloured pavers, which partly comprise recycled glass, help reduce heat absorption. The "new" Avenue of Stars also includes refreshment and souvenir kiosks and mobile carts.
New landscaping and seating on the renovated Avenue of Stars
The eastern end of the "new" Avenue of Stars. The renovated Starbucks coffee shop offers splendid harbour views
Prior to its renovation coloured paving blocks contained plaques and in some cases handprints, each representing present and past stars, Plaques of most living stars contained handprints set in cement and autographs. Handprints are now located on handrails for easier access by visitors. Above is the handprint of Hong Kong's Hollywood movie star Jackie Chan before closure of the avenue for renovation
The statue of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, a popular spot for photo opportunities, was surrounded by barriers prior to renovation of the Avenue of Stars.
Stage performances often take place on the Avenue, particularly on weekend evenings
Section of the "old" Avenue of Stars before the three-year renovation project
The avenue has panoramic views across the harbour to Hong Kong Island and makes for a pleasant stroll at any time of day, but particularly after dark when the Hong Kong Island’s famous skyline becomes spectacularly illuminated. The avenue is a popular viewing point for the free 10-minute light and sound show “A Symphony of Light”, featuring 45 prominent buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour, which takes place nightly at 8pm;
The Avenue provides an excellent viewing point for the nightly light and sound spectacular "A Symphony of Light"
The Avenue of Stars is often the venue for temporary exhibitions including, above, "The Upside Down World of Philippe Ramette"
At the eastern end of the avenue are Starbucks coffee shop and Deck N Beer bar. The New World Centre is currently closed and undergoing major renovation and conversion to a 63-storey hotel which is not expected to be completed until 2016 at the earliest.
The last days of the "old" Avenue of Stars before its closure in 2015 for renovation. The New World Centre, alongside the Avenue of Stars, seen during its demolition as part of New World's "Victoria Dockside" development project which includes two hotels, residential apartments, shopping mall, office accommodation and event space. In the foreground are the popular Starbucks and Deck N Beer bar at the eastern end of the avenue which have also since been demolished.
During the three year closure of the Avenue of Stars for renovation, some of the exhibits including the Bruce Lee Statue, were relocated to the temporary "Garden of Stars" at Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront Podium Garden"
Although no longer named the "Garden of Stars", East Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Podium Garden still contains some of the statues relocated from the "old" Avenue of Stars in addition to handprints
AVENUE OF STARS WEBSITE - https://www.avenueofstars.com.hk/en/about-aos/
GETTING THERE –
MTR - East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, exit J, near InterContinental Hotel is about 3 minutes walk from the avenue. Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, which is linked by pedestrian subway to East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and has common exits is also within walking distance.
STAR FERRY – Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier is about 10 minutes walk from the avenue by following the promenade past the clock tower and along the harbourside in front of Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Museum of Art.
BUS – Star Ferry Bus Terminus is located at Star Ferry Pier (see above) and is the terminus for KMB services 1, 1A, 2, 5, 5A, 5C, 6, 6A, 7 and 8. Routes A20, A21, 8A, 13X, 26, 28, 35A, 41A, 81C, 87D, 98D, 110, 203, 208, 215X, 219X and 224X all stop on Salisbury Road, outside Victoria Dockside, about 3 minute walk from the avenue.