July 14, 2016

New York City’s Lowline Project is One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality

The proposed Lowline. Rendering courtesy of Raad Studio.

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer announced today that NYCEDC has selected the Lowline to revitalize the vacant Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side. The conditional designation indicates the first major step in making the world’s first underground park a reality. “New York City is the place where visionary ideas get turned into tangible realities,” remarked Torres-Springer. “Today we move one step closer to making the Lowline a reality, which will serve as a cultural and educational hub for this vibrant community and pioneer cutting-edge technology.”

The proposed Lowline. Rendering courtesy of Raad Studio.

“New York City never stops innovating—that’s what makes us the greatest city in the world,” stated Glen. “The Lowline represents an incredible fusion of technology and public space. For eighty years this underground space has sat idle. Now we’re putting it to use for the people of the Lower East Side and for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”

Receiving the city’s approval surmounts a major hurdle, but the Lowline team must meet a number of other measures over the next year in order to proceed with the project: raise $10 million, engage the community for input across several design charettes and meetings, and present detailed schematic design concepts for approval. 

Lowline co-founders Dan Barasch and James Ramsey.

“Every designer dreams of doing civic work that contributes to society and to the profession,” said James Ramsey, Lowline co-founder and creator. “Over the last eight years, we just stuck to what we thought was a great idea that could make our city and community better.” Dan Barasch, co-founder and executive director of the Lowline adds, “we couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity…the transformation of an old, forgotten trolley terminal into a dynamic cultural space designed for a 21st century city is truly a New York story.“

The Lowline Lab installation on the Lower East Side. Photography courtesy of Lowline.

As a precursor to this project the Lowline team opened the Lowline Lab in October 2015 to showcase and test its solar technology and underground landscaping. Having attracted over 70,000 people so far, its popularity with visitors and educational value solidifies the significant benefit the project can bring to New Yorkers while inspiring designers worldwide to rethink sustainability and urban design. The Lab will remain free and open to the public on weekends through March 2017 to offer a look at the cutting-edge sunlight-capturing technology that will nourish the proposed subterranean gardens.

A component of the sunlight-capturing technology that will funnel sunlight to the underground gardens. Photography courtesy of Lowline.

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