Day 58: Subterranean Sunshine

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February 27, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Parks are neat, especially when they’re interrupting the industrialized world.  Urban parks, gardens, forests and green spaces are like nature trying to push back into the space we kicked it out of.  Central Park is one of my favorite parks because it offers a remarkable departure from the buzz of Manhattan; smack dab in the middle of a big, hurried, bustling city is a little piece of nature.  New York really does set a great example when it comes to injecting a little green into the concrete and steel grays of urban culture, but why should Central Park be the end of the city’s ode to greener splendor?  Unfortunately, New York is rather…full.  Making room for a new park on the New York landscape would be like trying to fit a Sumo wrestler on the Tokyo subway during rush hour – you have to get rid of something in order to make space for it.  Today’s project has come up with an absolutely astounding solution to the shortage of city surface open to greenery by looking below.

LowLine will be a subterranean park.  Trees, grass, bushes, flowers and even sunlight, all thanks to an invention capable of channeling captured light from above ground to below, making underground photosynthesis possible and opening up a whole new dimension of possibilities to the city’s deep, dark and unused space beneath Delancey Park.

We want to transform an abandoned trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into the world’s first underground park.  It will be a new kind of public space, using solar technology for natural illumination, and cutting edge design to capture and highlight a very special industrial space.

Incredible.  What a concept.  LowLine would be the first of its kind and would demonstrate the immense possibilities for unused underground spaces across the globe.  Imagine bringing light to the abandoned tunnels and railways and drain pipes and sewers – filling them with green, breathing life.  This project is leading the way.

LowLine is turning to Kickstarter in order to fund a full-scale installation that will demonstrate the viability of their sunlight-channeling technology – helping to win over the community and potential investors who will allow the park to come to life beneath their feet.  With 39 days to go and a $100,000 goal, they’re already making great progress towards their vision, but I hope you’ll join me in pushing this project above and beyond anyone’s expectations.  With your help, your next trip to New York (or mine) might include a visit to the world’s first and finest underground public park.


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