World's First Underground Park Coming to NYC

When you think ‘New York City underground’ a vivid image of a giant rat conducting a graffiti-covered L-train comes to mind. Designers, Daniel Barasch and James Ramsey plan to build a park underneath the crowded Lower East Side, which will totally revamp this sleazy stereotype of NYC’s subterranean space. The project, aptly dubbed the Lowline, will quite literally be bringing the Highline under Delancey Street, making use of a 107-year-old abandoned trolley station that hasn’t been touched since the 1940s.

The Lowline team intends to fill the acre of underground space with lush greenery, so even during New York’s frigid winters people can come on down and pretend it’s spring. The park’s roof will be fitted with cutting-edge solar reflectors that will channel sunlight from the surface and disperse it within the Lowline.

They have a location; they have the technology, now all they have to do is make sure it’s practical. Barasch and Ramsey have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the Lowline Lab, where they would test the technology that will be used to create the park. If they reach their $200,000 goal, the lab will be set up in a dark Lower East Side warehouse, which will resemble the dimly lit environment of the future park.

Even if the team is able to scrap up enough money to fund this gargantuan project, it will be anything but smooth sailing from there. They will need to convince the Manhattan Transit Authority to allow them to use the underground space by showing them the benefits of an underground park in the Lower East Side. Plus the engineering firm, Arup, that is working with Lowline estimates that space development will cost up to $72 million. It’s going to be a complicated and lengthy process before the Lowline actually becomes reality, but Barasch says construction could begin as early as 2018.

In the next 20-years we could all be sipping champagne in the most down to earth spot in Manhattan.

Photos via the Lowline Team

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