Why build up when you can build down? This is the rationale behind the new Low Line Park concept from the Delancey Underground Project‘s Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, two New Yorkers who share a love for their city and the environment.
Their goal is to build the world’s first underground park, and the proposed project’s name is a clever play on New York City’s popular High Line Park, which was created from a railway line that sits above several streets and runs through parts of downtown Manhattan. Low Line Park would be a subterranean park larger than a football field on the site of a former trolley terminal in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
There are countless obstacles to an elaborate idea such as this one. The site itself is over a hundred years old and hasn’t been in use since 1948. Much of the former terminal remains intact, including the ceilings beneath the ground and the railway tracks, but Low Line Park would require major renovation to the area.
So how does a park survive underground? Dan, James,and their team have an answer well thought out. A system of solar panels, shaped much like satellite disks, would capture sunlight and reflect it into the park below. This system of inverse reflection would provide for photosynthesis, a necessity for the growth and sustainability of greenery in any park.
Although the park is projected to cost millions of dollars and is still in the early stages of planning, Low Line has already gained a lot of traction already. The park got a vote of support from the community board and, in the project’s first month of Kickstarter fundraising, brought in over $150,000. Low Line Park has grown organically via door-to-door canvassing by Dan and James and their team. Their efforts serve as a reminder of what people with an unlikely dream can accomplish for their community and the environment if they set their minds to it. –Raffi Simel