February 19, 2020

The Lowline goes into ‘dormancy’ as funds dry up

Ambitious plans to transform the abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side into the world's first underground park are no longer viable due to waning funds, Crain's reports. The founders of the Lowline—Dan Barasch and James Ramsey—dreamed up the idea more than a decade ago and as of last year, the $83 million project was under construction with an expected opening date in 2021.
What happened?
September 20, 2016

Lowline team releases official proposal for $83M underground park

Just a couple months ago, the NYC Economic Development Corporation granted preliminary approvals to the Lowline, the world's first underground park. This came after the city put out a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) late last year for the 60,000-square-foot abandoned trolley terminal below Delancey Street. The Lowline proposal was the only one received, and initially the 154-page document was only to be publicly available through a Freedom of Information Law request, but the group worked with the EDC to release it to the community. The Lo-Down got a look at the document, which reveals everything from the projected cost of the project ($83 million) and operating hours (6am to 9pm, five days a week) to specific design elements like a "ramble" and 1,600-square-foot cafe/bar.
Lots more details this way
July 14, 2016

City Gives First Approval for the Lowline, Must Raise $10M Over the Next Year

The world's first underground park just got one step closer to reality thanks to approvals from the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The Lowline, which will occupy a 40,000-square-foot abandoned trolley terminal below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, received the thumbs up after an eight-month bidding process during which no one else submitted a proposal. City hall granted co-creators James Ramsey and Dan Barasch control of the space provided they can reach a $10 million fundraising goal over the next 12 months, complete a schematic design, and host five to 10 public design sessions and quarterly community engagement meetings.
What's next and who's paying for this?
July 6, 2016

LES Residents Propose Turning Lowline Site Into a Bus Depot During L Train Shutdown

There's been no lack of ideas for how to deal with the impending L train shutdown, from realistic proposals like the East River Skyway to some more out-there concepts like a giant inflatable tunnel. The latest suggestion was presented at a recent public meeting between the MTA and Manhattan's Community Board 3. DNAinfo reports that local residents discussed taking the old underground trolley station at Delancey and Essex Streets (the same site that's been long proposed for the Lowline) and turning it into a transportation hub for the B39 bus that operates between Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.
Find out more
April 13, 2016

Bid on Dinner at Daniel Libeskind’s Tribeca Apartment or Cocktails With the Lowline Founder

Sick of just reading about today's architects and designers? Now's your chance to meet some of these prolific figures in the flesh, through the Van Alen Institute's third annual Auction of Art + Design Experiences. Launched today, the experiences you can bid on include dinner at Daniel Libeskind's Tribeca apartment cooked by his wife Nina, the chance to harvest cocktail ingredients in the Lowline Lab with founder James Ramsey, pedicures in Brooklyn with artist Diana Al-Hadid, and a recipe tasting in Bon Appétit's One World Trade Center offices.
Get the scoop on some of the most exciting experiences
November 20, 2015

City Will Start Accepting Proposals for Underground Lowline Space

In 2009, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch started planning a solar-powered subterranean park on the Lower East Side, the underground equivalent of the High Line. They set their sites on the 60,000-square-foot abandoned Essex Street Trolley Terminal below Delancey Street and named their project The Lowline. Now, six years later, they've launched the Lowline Lab, "a high-tech, miniaturized precursor to the city’s first underground park," as 6sqft put it in a recent interview with Ramsey and Barasch. Located in a vacant warehouse on Essex Street, the Lab most certainly served its purpose, as The Lo-Down is reporting that the city and MTA have finally agreed to accept proposals for the space. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will release on Monday a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), followed by a briefing next month with Community Board 3.
Find out more ahead
October 26, 2015

INTERVIEW: Lowline Creator James Ramsey Discusses the Challenges of Building an Underground Park

The hottest destination in the Lower East Side is not a bar, but rather a cutting edge installation hidden inside a vacant warehouse at 140 Essex Street. Just over a week ago, partners James Ramsey and Dan Barasch launched the Lowline Lab, a high-tech, miniaturized precursor to the city’s first underground park. James is the co-founder (alongside Dan) of the park, which will occupy a 40,000-square-foot abandoned trolley terminal below Delancey Street; and creator of the technology that will fill it—a remote skylight system that redirects light underground thorough a maze of optic tubes and diffuses it over a canopy to produce a subterranean environment where plants can grow and flourish (phew!). 6sqft recently took a private tour of the Lowline Lab alongside James, and he gave us some insight into the science, as well how he and Dan are approaching the challenges that come with bringing a park below ground to life. We of course asked all those questions you've been wondering about, like: Who's paying for this whole thing? And what about the rats?
Read our interview with James here
December 4, 2014

Lowline Underground Park Creators Want to Open “Lowline Lab,” a Research Hub and Exhibition Spot

Four years ago, likely inspired by the wildly successful High Line, architects James Ramsey and Dan Barasch revealed their plan to turn the forgotten historic trolley terminal below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side into a solar-powered underground park. By 2012, the Lowline had raised over $155,000 from 3,300 donors on Kickstarter, setting a record for the largest number of supporters for an urban design project on the platform. And now, with design competitions, support from elected officials, and planning studies under their belt, the Lowline team is aiming to complete negotiations with the MTA and the city by 2017, anticipating a 2018 opening. But the latest component of the $55 million project is the development by May 2015 of the "Lowline Lab," a year-round nucleus serving as a research hub and exhibition spot, and going by the success of their previous crowdfunding campaign, the team is once again reaching out to the public to fund the initiative.
More details on the Lowline Lab ahead