The Delancey Underground or: The LowLine

by: Blaine Skrainka

March 14, 2012

Of the endless amenities afforded to the burghal dwellers of New York City, green space is one that comes at a premium. Urban planners the world over are having to consider new paradigms of metropolitan environmental integration. Two entrepreneurial architects in the Lower East Side of Manhattan are doing just that with their vision of an innovative underground park.
The Delancey Underground

The Delancey Underground, also coined the LowLine, would occupy one and a half acres of an abandoned street car terminal adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. The designers are developing “remote skylight” technology that uses fiber-optics to channel sunlight from the surface to the underground park, a modern take on an ancient Egyptian method. The developers even claim that their lighting system filters out harmful UV rays while still allowing for photosynthesis to occur.

As the name suggest, the project took inspiration, and even guidance, from New York City’s immensely popular High Line, a mile long park on elevated train tracks.
The Delancey Underground

The local community board has already shown support, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority has expressed interest in hearing the idea. The catch is that the MTA is severely financially strapped. The LowLine will have to be funded by donations and private investment. Future revenues to maintain the space remain uncertain. Farmers markets, vendors, concerts and art installations could provide the solution.

The next step for the project to move forward will be to present a feasibility study that includes a full-scale installation to demonstrate the technology to the MTA and potential stakeholders. The Delancey Underground is raising money for this “mini LowLine” through Kickstarter. Check out the exciting vision below.

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