Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer have announced New York City’s first official approval of the Lowline project in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
As the first major step in making the project a reality, the approval will help to create the world’s first underground park, a community-oriented public and cultural space that will become both a local resource and an attraction for worldwide visitors.
Although the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) did express interest in the space last fall, the Lowline team was awarded conditional use due to its high community potential. Conceptualized in 2011, the Lowline seeks to utilize cutting edge solar technology to transform the abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal located under Delancey Street into a one-acre underground public park. Here, sunlight is delivered underground, activating photosynthesis to create a lush garden space year-round.
In addition to creating much-needed public space, the Lowline team hopes to set a model for adaptive reuse and cultivation of abandoned underground spaces, as well as “to shape the future of the City through innovation, deep community engagement, education, and youth development.”
Since October 2015, the Lowline has been showcased in the experimental Lowline Lab, which tests the project’s solar technology and subterranean horticulture, and has attracted nearly 70,000 visitors and hosted youth education visits for nearly 2,000 children across New York City.
The Lowline Lab will remain open through March 2017, and is free and open to the public on weekends.
News via NYCEDC.