Developers Plan Underground NYC Park
Visitors from around the world are drawn to New York City’s High Line, an elevated park built on defunct railroad tracks transformed into an urban sanctuary of flowers, grasses and trees.
Private planners inspired by the High Line’s success are now looking deep under Manhattan at a proposal to create the Lowline, billed as the world’s first underground park, Fox News reported.
The project would occupy a 116-year-old abandoned trolley terminal below the Lower East Side that’s been used for storage since 1948.
Street-level solar collectors would be used to filter the sun about 20 feet down to bedrock, turning the dank, subterranean space into a luminous, plant-filled oasis. The park would offer city residents a place of refuge and host art exhibits, music performances, readings and children’s activities.
The Lowline is only one part of a Lower East Side
The planners say they’re not erasing the rich history of the Lower East Side.
Dan Barasch co-founded the nonprofit Lowline project with architect James Ramsey, a former NASA engineer. The park is expected to cost about $60 million in mostly private funds, plus some government money. More than $1 million has been raised for research and design.
Barasch estimates it will take about five years before construction begins to transform the 1-acre relic of the past into a destination of the future.
First, he says, the Lowline team of three, plus hundreds of volunteers, must tackle some technical challenges, such as how to channel the natural sunlight from the collectors to the park below, using the latest optics. Then, they must determine the best way to position the sunlight so it allows plants to grow.
Several high-tech companies have already used such systems to funnel natural illumination to previously light-inaccessible areas.
“But you can’t just cut the street open,” says Barasch.
Community members had their own questions at a Lowline presentation held recently at the Tenement Museum, which celebrates the rich history of the Lower East Side. Some asked where the street-level entrances would be, how the space would be ventilated and what kinds of plants would be brought in.
Bold New Park Planned to Float in Hudson River
A new, offshore, $170 million, futuristic park built atop an undulating platform 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline, near 14th Street, featuring a series of wooded nooks and three performance venues, including an amphitheater, may soon become a reality.
Mr. Barry Diller, a private investor, has agreed to provide
$130 million to build the park through a family foundation. An additional $39.5 million would come from the city, the state and the Hudson River Park Trust, the New York Times reported.
The proposal has the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Because the park does not need to raise funds to get off the ground, officials seem to be proceeding as though the concept will become reality. Mr. Diller has also agreed to run the
2.4-acre park and cover its operating expenses for 20 years.
As envisioned, the park, to be known as Pier 55, would replace
Pier 54, a narrow, crumbling, flat-topped structure within Hudson River Park that juts 875 feet into the river. Pier 54 was once a departure point for ocean liners that has been used in recent years for outdoor movies and other activities, but it has been slowly collapsing into the river, and there is little money available to rebuild it.
The park’s parallelogram-shaped platform would sit atop
300 mushroom-shaped concrete columns ranging in height from
70 feet above the water to 15 feet above, roughly the minimum required post-Hurricane Sandy. The platform’s height would allow sunlight below and help guard against storms.
The biggest performance space planned for the park could accommodate up to 1,000 people in seats and another 2,500 on a lawn. Other sections would hold an 800-seat amphitheater and a small stage with 250 seats.