On Sunday, April 1, the white walls of Mark Miller Gallery on Orchard Street were covered with renderings of the imagined possibilities of the Low Line, a much-talked-about plan for an underground park in an abandoned trolley turnaround station below Delancey Street that will be lit by solar technology, if its creators can make it happen. The exhibit, which opened that night, also included a three-dimensional model of a cross section below Delancey Street, and a rather intimidating example of that fiber-optic solar technology.
Two months ago, we were introduced to James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the duo who were proposing to turn the abandoned Delancey trolly tunnel underneath Essex Street into an eco-friendly environment from the future called the Low Line.
Despite the very real chance that the Low Line won’t get any public funding (making it near impossible to build), the media has picked up on this whimsical idea…mainly because we had no idea that every time we looked across the platform on the JMZ to Brooklyn, we were staring directly into a 108-year-old cavern. With signs of human life.
Last week, New York magazine revealed James Ramsey and Dan Barasch‘s plans to create a subterranean green space in the abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Station under Delancey Street. The pictures that Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Barsch (a former NASA engineer and a PopTech executive with a background in non-profit social design and government work, respectively) produced for the article were futuristic wonderlands, like Japanese illustrations inspired by Ray Bradbury.
But the reality is not so fanciful: The proposed “Low Line” project would transform the approximate 600 x 100 square feet area that lay across from the Brooklyn-bound JMZ-line into an organic public space that would be three quarters the size of Gramercy Park. It will cost millions of dollars in private funding, and will need the support of a community that has spent forty years fighting with another environmental group over approximately the same space above ground.