Everybody loves the Low Line! Gentrification fears aside, who wouldn’t want to see the abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal transformed into a subterranean greensward, lush with plants and trees fed by sunlight channeled from the street above?
The project, also known as the Delancey Underground, has been building a growing roster of supporters, among them the local community board and essentially every elected official with any jurisdiction over the project. And now they’re mobilizing to wrest control of the space from the MTA: last week The New York Press reported that a coalition of elected officials sent a letter to the Economic Development Corporation, urging it to work with MTA to turn the terminal over to the city.
Delancey Underground, a.k.a. the Low Line, a.k.a. New York’s first underground green space, has had a lucrative summer, raising a not-unimpressive $150,00o.
Efforts to raise money for the Delancey Underground–also known as the Low Line–have taken off, thanks to private fundraising on the website Kickstarter.com. Back in September, when we talked to the founders of the project, ex-NASA scientist James Ramsey and RAAD partner Dan Barasch, they had low expectations about raising any money from the city.
It’s predecessor, the West Side High Line, had gotten some public money, but was built in a different era, Mr. Ramsey told us. “The recession hadn’t hit, and it was right after 9/11, when the city was looking to put money in an urban renewal project.”
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.