Raad Studio
July 15, 2016

New York City’s Highline, the elevated park that winds along the Hudson River, has become a must-see destination for visitors.

Soon a new attraction may compete for some of New York City's tourists: the Lowline.

The Lowline would be an underground park underneath Delancey Street, in Manhattan's Lower East Side neighborhood—a lush paradise, with sunlight beamed in by high tech solar projectors.

The idea garnered serious skepticism, considering the challenges of keeping plantlife alive below the city streets. But the project just jumped its first administrative hurdle: City Hall gave the project its official initial approvals.

Kibum Park/Raad Designs

The concept comes from James Ramsey and Daniel Barasch, who now have the official go-ahead to begin transforming the long-disused underground trolley terminal at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge into an ivy-draped oasis. To keep the dream alive, they must meet certain fundraising and development benchmarks. They have their work cut out for them: The park is expected to cost $60 million to build, and as much as $4 million annually to maintain. They may turn to Kickstarter again to raise funds.

The project could also get some help from supporters in the city's government.

“When they first presented it to me, I thought, “That is some crazy, smoking-dope stuff—let’s check it out.’” Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen told New York Mgazine. “We’re very excited about taking interesting technology, and the way the tech ecosystem is converging around cities, to solve civic problems and objectives.”

Kibum Park/Raad Designs

With the city on board, and locals as well as visitors eager to take a stroll underground, hopefully the Lowline will soon see the light of day. 

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