How Low Can Solar Tech Go? - The "Lowline" Park to Transform Underground NYC

What if the sun could shine underground? Could we build the world's first underground park?
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What if the sun could shine underground? Could we build the world's first underground park?

New Yorkers James Ramsey, Dan Barasch and Robyn Shapiro are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $200,000 to build the Lowline Lab to test and exhibit preparations for their ultimate undertaking - building the world's first underground park. 

In contrast to the award-winning Highline park on Manhattan's west side, the Lowline will use solar technology to bring light through tubes to New York's underground, creating an ecosystem in the location of a 107-year-old former trolley terminal that has been unused, abandoned below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side.


Says James Ramsey, Lowline creator and co-founder, "The key feature of the Lowline was that we could take natural sunlight and send it underground to grow something. With this natural sunlight, we could take an abandoned trolley terminal, where there's a football field size of New York City history, and transform it into a vibrant public space filled with plants and trees"


The intention is to introduce a brand new park in one of the areas of the city that has the least green space in Manhattan, and to simultaneously celebrate the underground hand-laid cobblestone trolley terminal that used to ferry people across the Williamsburg Bridge. The Wall Street Journal stated with incredible insight that the venture is "poised to become the New Yorkiest thing to happen to NYC since the double-dutch tournament at the Apollo Theatre."


From all accounts, the campaign and the project seem set for success. The project has powerful political figures and recognizable names like artist Kenny Scharf, film producer Megan Ellison, actor/writer Lena Dunham, and Craigslist's Craig Newmark on its list of advisors and. with a day to go (at the time of posting), the Lowline team is only about $15,000 short of the target. 

Things this cool take time to grow, and while the Lab looks set to begin seeding this year, the full fledged project isn't slated to be unearthed until 2018. Given how long this secret garden has already been hidden,  that must feel like mere moments. -NIN


Check out co-founder and executive director Dan Barasch talking about his inspiration for the Lowline at TED: