World’s First Underground Park, New York
Following a Kickstarter campaign back in 2012, the world’s first ever underground park has just had planning permission approved in Manhattan, New York City. And if the artist’s impressions are anything to go by, it’s going to be amazing!
The project is called ‘The Lowline’ and involves using innovative solar technology to illuminate the park, despite being completely underground. The site is an 80-year old historic trolley terminal located beneath the Lower East Side of New York. The one-acre urban park will have plantations aplenty and should provide a place for locals and tourists to experience a real break for the frantic pace of one of the world’s most dense areas.
The proposed location is the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, just below Delancey Street in Manhattan. The site was opened in 1908 for trolley passengers, but hasn’t been in use since 1948. Despite being dormant for six decades, the space still has some incredible original features such as remnant cobblestones, crisscrossing rail tracks and vaulted ceilings.
The Lowline is being designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, and relies on electricity-free ‘remote skylights.’ The idea is that sunlight passes through a glass shield above ground and reflects to a focal point before being directed underground using mirrors and fibre optics, before subsequently being distributed to the whole space below. (If it sounds complicated, just check out the picture below!)
Construction on the park will begin in 2019 and will be ‘spearheaded by a former NASA engineer and architect’ when the space has been fully prepared and funding has been reached. The park will contain trees, plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables which should thrive under the innovative lighting system.
Planting on The Lowline has already began and you can see its progress in some of the images below or by actually heading to The Lowline Park yourself (140 Essex Street). It’s free and open to the public from 11am – 5pm until March 2017. Check out more details and keep up to date with progress at The Lowline Website.