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NYC’s New Park Concept: Underground

First there was the High Line, an elevated park that brought new life to a rusty, unused-for-decades elevated subway rail on Manhattan’s west side. Well now there’s an idea floating around that would turn the whole concept upside down, literally. A subterranean park created from the long-abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, on Delancey Street in NYC’s Lower East Side. The station hasn’t been in service, or even used, since 1948.

The brain child of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, this park—the Lowline—would be the first of its kind, and one of the very few green spaces on the LES. The first reaction people have, aside from fascination, is the more rational, “But how the heck are you gonna get plants to grow underground, away from the rays of the sun.”

Says James Ramsey, “That’s why we invented this new technology. We call it a remote skylight. It concentrates natural sunlight from the surface, channels it underground, and redistributes it. And actually kicks off enough light to support photosynthesis.” Boom. There you have it. An amazing, inventive (literally) way to support an underground ecosystem.

Right now, the park exists as an exhibit called “Imagining the Lowline,” housed in an abandoned warehouse on Delancey. The exhibit, which will stay open through the fall, is meant to prove that their technology works, and the creators hope that it will help to convince the city, MTA, and supporters, so they can make their dream come to fruition.

So what do you think? Yay or nay? Would you hang at an underground park?

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 Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and is crossing his fingers that this park dream will come to life. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

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