MTA Looking at Delancey Underground Idea “Very Seriously”

Architectural rendering courtesy: RAAD Studio/James Ramsey.

Two months ago, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch went public with their bold proposal to transform an abandoned train station below Delancey Street into a beautiful subterranean park.  There was a blizzard of media coverage back then — including our own in-depth interview with the creative team. Now the New York Times has gotten around to the story.

The piece, in this morning’s edition, doesn’t contain much new information about The Delancey Underground (otherwise known as “The Low Line.”) But there are a few noteworthy remarks from an official with the cash-strapped MTA, which controls the space.  Here’s how the Times reported its conversation with Peter Hine, a senior real estate manager at the transit agency,

“We’re looking at it very seriously because we need the money,” Mr. Hine said, “and this is a cool space and we ought to do something with it.” Mr. Hine cautioned that the authority would first need to issue a request for proposals. The authority’s main interest is in deriving revenue from the site, and whether a free public space can serve that end is unclear… The transportation authority is sure to entertain other proposals. “They’re enthusiastic and gung-ho, and I like that,” Mr. Hine said of the partners. “But there are a million creative people in this city, and I would love to get 500 ideas on how to deal with this space.”

Right now Ramsey and Barasch are focusing most of their energies on fundraising. The Delancey Underground web site has been updated with a list of supporters (although there’s no mention of specific financial backers as of yet).   The Times story will be another tool they’ll be able to use in pitching the concept to potential financiers.