There Goes the Neighborhood: What the Lowline Means for the LES
For some reason, New York really likes building parks on train tracks. The Lowline, a new park proposed to be built in an abandoned trolley station underneath the Lower East Side, is slowly and surely becoming a reality. To some New Yorkers, the idea of an underground park is an exciting one. But for many others, this new development is a sign of the end of days. The High Line, for better or for worse, has forever changed the West Side. Here are just a few predictions for what the Lowline will mean for the Lower East Side. The neighborhood’s already super gentrified, but like Williamsburg, things can always get worse!
In October, a lonely tree frog was discovered hiding in the ferns of the Lowline’s test lab. It’s currently the only animal calling the underground park home, but we can for sure expect to see an explosion in popularity of these little amphibians, particularly as pets. Get ready for a lot of new frog clothing stores, and a slew of blog posts with titles like “17 Things White Lipped Tree Frog Owners are Tired of Hearing.”
No subway station (or trolley station, as the case may be) is complete without a news kiosk owned by a salt-of-the-earth guy or gal grumpily peddling candy and magazines. Only this time, each one will have an espresso bar complete with a threateningly bearded barista, and all the paleo candy bars will be $10. They will all have names like Nüstand and Keeyosk, and sell indie zines and Frog Fancy instead of gossip rags. Oh, and there will be no cigarettes, only vapes.
It’s not certain yet whether these condos will be built from the ground up or from the ceiling down (probably the latter), but they’re going to happen somehow. Apologies in advance to all the roaches and rats that are going to get priced out of their homes. And just like the condos that shot up almost immediately after the construction of the Highline, apartments in these buildings will be ludicrously expensive and will largely remain empty.
“What’s that? Where you guys going? Can I come?” says the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Upper East Side was so over, so it moved downtown, to the south end of the Highline. Now, it too seems like the Lower East Side’s days as the go-to spot for hipsters, yuppies and “artists” are numbered. Admission to the museum will have to be jacked up, unfortunately, in order to pay for pest control (the frog situation is really getting out of hand).
Images via Bloomberg and Pop Up City.