Taken the High Line Park? Now you can try the undergound Low Line, at least if a NASA and Google pair get their way.
The Highline has been a smash since opening in 2009, transforming the far West Side Chelsea area into a major tourist magnet--and even a respite for residents, when they can avoid the crowds and get a few moments of peace along its carefully manicured, slightly post-modern landscaping.
Now, according to a report in the New York Times, city planners who've come from around the globe to study the clever repurposing of a former eyesore have been joined by a pair of local fans, James Ramsey (NASA) and Dan Barasch, who envision a transformation of a dank, spooky, cavernous, underground, former trolley terminal on Delancey Street into an underground park with light and air brought in from above via cutting edge space-age technology.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is responsible for the space and has had meetings with the pair to see if something can be worked out.
Preliminary plans call for the use of fiber-optics to suck enough sunlight into the space to permit living plants to achieve photosynthesis. Ramsey, 34, told the Times, It's a little perverse, a little like science fiction, but we realized that we have the technology to grow grass and trees underground.
Ramsey, according the the Times, first spotted the space a couple of years ago as its near Raad Studio, his architecture firm. It's got 20-foot ceilings and extends three blocks under Delancey from Essex Street to the Williamsburg Bridge. Up to 1948 it was the spot where trolleys turned around, but now its home to graffiti and debris--and visible through a hole in the wall to J, M, Z riders.
Funding will be a challenge, but the pair have turned to the developers of the High Line for inspiration and guidance.