In 2009, James Ramsey told his friend, Dan Barasch about an underground trolley terminal that opened in 1908, just under Delancy street. It closed in 1948 and hasn’t been used since. As more buildings finish development in Lower East Side, New York, the future holds little room for green space in the area. So Ramsey, founder of RAAD, a design practice in NYC and Barasch decided to build a park underground in this crowded area, inside the abandoned trolley terminal. What would make it work would be an element of genius on Ramsey’s part: sunlight would be brought underground, with enough energy to grow trees and other greens using a “remote skylight”, a reflective dish which would pick up sunlight aboveground and transmit it below, using fibre optics.
When people viewed the concept shots, they thought of it as the High Line underground. And so the project got to be known as the Lowline, attracting celebrities like Lena Dunham and Spike Jonze in support. Even though it has garnered much attention, there are obstacles for the Lowline team to traverse before it’s actualized. Recently, New York Deputy Mayor for housing and economic development Alicia Glen stated that New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio supports the project. That’s good news for this innovative upstart.