The Lowline Lab — the world’s first subterranean green space — sits one story below Delancey Street in New York’s Lower East Side. It’s doors are set to open Saturday October 17th.
The full park will eventually take up three city blocks of an abandoned trolley terminal (see photos above), but the first phase — the Lowline Lab — opens this weekend in the former Essex Fair Retail Market warehouse to show the public the world’s first ever subterranean indoor green space. The owners also plan to show off solar technology that lights the space and supports 3,500 plants!
“I want people to come into this space and just to have a moment of transcendence where they can really imagine that they are in this alternate world,” said co-founder James Ramsey. “It’s pretty surreal and maybe even a little bit psychedelic.”
Ramsey built the first phase of this project with $225,000. He and co-founder Dan Barasch raised the money on Kickstarter. By the time they finish the project, they expect to spend between $60 and $75 million.
Ramsey, a former NASA engineer, built an innovative solar system that funnels light from a rooftop through a series of tubes and pipes and magnifies it to an intensity 30 times that of regular sunlight.
The project has garnered the support of celebrities like Lena Dunham, Spike Jonze and Laura Prepon.
“There is something appropriate to the spirit of New York about having a park underground, about using every inch of our space,” Dunham said in a Lowline video. “It really feels like we are living in the future.”
The trolley terminal below Delancey St. has been out of service since 1948. Its cars once carried passengers between Brooklyn and Manhattan, before the L line on the subway was created. The underground area will soon be transformed into a perfect green space for the community to enjoy during all four seasons.
The Lowline Lab, 140 Essex St. between Rivington and Stanton Sts., opens Saturday at noon. Free. For info, visit thelowline.org.
Check it out beforehand in the video below: