Rendering of the Lowline

New York will be getting the world’s first underground park after city officials approved plans for the Lowline.

James Ramsey and Dan Barasch – co-founders of the concept – have been eyeing up the abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal below Delancey Street for eight years.

Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal
Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal

They set up a test lab for the Lowline at a smaller site in the former Essex Street Market building last year to prove the concept works, and can now make their dream a reality at the desired Lower East Side site.

‘Every designer dreams of doing civic work that contributes to society and to the profession,’ says Ramsey, a former engineer at NASA. ‘Over the last eight years, we just stuck to what we thought was a great idea that could make our city and our community better.’

The Lowline will use solar technology to funnel and magnify natural sunlight into the space and allow greenery to grow.

‘It’s like turning light into liquid that we can channel to where we need to get it,’ Ramsey explained to The Spaces last year. ‘Once we’ve channelled the light, we can then grow things and transform that abandoned trolley terminal into a vibrant public space.’

Added Barasch: ‘The transformation of an old, forgotten trolley terminal into a dynamic cultural space designed for a 21st-century city is truly a New York story.’

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