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The Lowline Underground Park is taking a step closer to reality

By
Howard Halle
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It’s been five years since the Lowline Underground Park—the Lower’s East Side answer to the Highline—was first proposed and until recently, there hasn’t been much to show for it. Understandably, perhaps, because no matter how cool it sounds, the whole notion of building a subterranean greenspace in an abandoned streetcar station beneath Delancey Street seems a bit farfetched. For one thing, it would rely on an unproven technology that would pipe sunlight through a series of polycarbonate tubes outfitted with lenses and mirrors.

But in 2015, planners raised enough Kickstarter money to fund a Lowline Lab—a sort demonstrator for the design located in the former in Essex Fair Market. Furthermore, the The New York City Economic Development Corp. conditionally approved the project this summer.

Now, as LES news site The Lo-Down reports, new renderings of the Lowline have been released along with new details. The park, measuring an acre, would be free and open to the public year round from 6am to 9pm for five days a week, including weekends. (There would be days, however, when it would closed for revenue-generating events.) As to the cost, organizers are looking to raise $22 million from the city and an additional $35 million from the private sector.

The entrance will be on Norfolk with a “grand staircase” leading underground. If everything goes as planned, the Lowline could be a reality by 2021. If it’s anywhere near as successful as the High Line, expect it to be crowded with tourist once it opens.

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