Kickstarter Success Lowline Receives Approval From NYC’s City Hall to Build Underground Park

This week, Kickstarter alum Lowline officially received approval from New York City’s City Hall to build an underground park.

lowline exhibitionLast year, Lowline captured $223,506 from 2,564 through Kickstarter and was dubbed one of the most-funded public art projects on the crowdfunding platform. The project’s description read:

“It turns out there’s a 107-year-old former trolley station– untouched since 1948– right below Delancey Street in the center of New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood. All the old architectural details are still there, and right now it sits in one of the most crowded neighborhoods in a very crowded city. Our dream is to take that space back and transform it into a beautiful public gathering space.”

The funds went towards building a Lowline Lab, a long-term solar device testing laboratory and public exhibition to test and display the organization’s tech and design vision. The company was to test solar technology performance; landscape design and performance; and the social and community value of the Lowline.The Lab successfully opened last October in Essex Street Market and has since welcomed over 70,000 visitors.

The Lowline project was previously launched on the crowdfunding site in 2012, helping the organizers make progress on some fronts: building a public exhibit; conducting extensive technology research; building political and local support, and fostering sustained community engagement.

lowline centerDeputy mayor for housing and economic development, Alicia Glen, announced on Wednesday:

“When they presented to me, I thought, ‘This is some crazy, smoking-dope stuff- let’s check it out!’ We’re very excited about taking interesting technology, and the way the tech ecosystem is converging around the cities, to solve civic problems and objectives.”

Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, also noted:

“The Lowline, what they’re offering right now doesn’t seem so bad. I like the focus on kids, and the eco-enviro focus. It could be an interesting space for not-for-profits. I think they mean what they say, but we have to make sure it doesn’t become a space for the Hollywood set and the cultural elite. This is a community with a lot of low-income families in it.”

dan baraschCity Hall reportedly agreed to grant the project’s creators, James Ramsey and Daniel Barasch, control as long as they can meet funding and development standards. Barasch added:

“I never even thought we’d get this far. It’s basically like a giant version of, when you were a kid, using a magnifying glass to focus light to burn leaves and melt toy soldiers.”

Timeline-wise, the Lowline Lab is set for this year, and the Lowline itself is predicted to open 2018-2020.


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