Underground Garden: “The Lowline” Gets Government Approval

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The new underground Highline, mimically entitled The Lowline, has officially received government approval. A former overhead railway crossing in the Lower East Side, is set to undergo a major transformation into a dynamic cultural space that will highlight the historic elements of a former trolley terminal. The site was originally opened in 1908, but has been unused since 1948 when the trolley service was discontinued. Despite almost seven decades of neglect, the space still retains some of its incredible features such as; rustic cobblestones, crisscrossing rail tracks and vaulted ceilings.

The ambitious plan, which envisions an acre of vegetation and educational displays, will require approx $60 million to be built. The developers of the project, also named the Lowline, were given just one year to raise the first $10 million before public funding is given consideration. Their plan is to use innovative solar technology to illuminate the abandoned terminal located just below Delancey Street, adjacent to the Essex JMZ subway stop.


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The Lowline Before Transformation



The vision is a stunning underground park that provides a beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of  New York City’s most vibrant and thriving urban environments. The developers aim to create an innovative display of how technology can transform major cities in the 21st century. The design features a proposed solar technology involving the creation of a remote skylight.  In this approach, sunlight passes through a glass shield above the parabolic collector, and is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground. Sunlight is then transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology will transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow. An amazing step forward in today’s world. 



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Renderings Of How The Lowline Will Look Once Complete 



In September 2012, The Lowline team built a full scale prototype of the planned technology in an abandoned warehouse, for the Imagining the Lowline exhibit.  The demonstration project has shown that the project is feasible, with solar collectors mounted on the roof of an abandoned market. It attracted more than 70,000 visitors since October 2015, was heavily covered by the press and ultimately served as a proof of concept.


The Lowline is set to be fully complete by 2021 for all to enjoy but until then we will just have to sit tight!!