Next-gen hipsters and future trendsetters now need something more emergent—less obvious—and ideally with a tech bent, to get excited about. Which is where the Lowline—Delancey Park in official circles—comes in.
Plans are afoot to turn a disused trolley park underneath the not-so-green-and-pleasant Delancey Street into the world’s first subterranean public park, creating a luscious sun-drenched oasis covering nearly an acre (40,000 square feet) of currently dark and derelict underground space.
Initially funded with $150,000 raised through Kickstarter, the Lowline project is a thoroughly modern enterprise that will, if it goes ahead, see pineapples growing in the bowels of the Big Apple by 2021. Sunlight will be ‘piped’ down to the old trolley park, where it will be distributed through a 20-foot-high geometric ‘solar canopy’ that Ridley Scott would be proud of, providing a brighter-than-daylight environment that should support everything from edible mushrooms to herbs and fruit trees. While co-founders James Ramsey (an engineer-turned-architect) and Dan Barasch (a social media exec) are clearly—and rightly—excited about the sci-fi solar tech that makes the Lowline feasible, it’s the grand-scale community engagement that makes this project so ground-breaking. “It’s not often you get a chance to dramatically change the landscape of your city,” says Ramsey. “New York is going to change in one way or another; we are choosing to participate in a very big way in that change, and to shape the city into something that we want to live in.”