The spectacular Angel Orensanz Center was the setting for last night’s Lowline “anti-gala.”
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard an update about the Lowline, the proposal to build an innovative park and events space below Delancey Street. Today there’s word of a new effort to move the project through the bureaucratic maze that is city and state government.
It has been well over a year since the team behind the LowLine, the proposed public green space beneath Delancey Street, went public. In that time, they have held countless informational sessions and fundraisers, met one-on-one with many groups, staged a high profile demonstration project in the Essex Street Market and generated a huge amount of media coverage. But in spite of these efforts, co-creators Dan Barasch and James Ramsey know there’s a long road ahead if they are to succeed in transforming an abandoned rail station. City and state officials in a position to move the project from the “cool idea” to “real-life project” phase have yet to come on board. Even within the Lower East Side community, where the LowLine has been met with a lot of enthusiasm, Barasch and Ramsey have some work to do. It’s in this spirit, that they’ll be appearing tonight before Community Board 3’s land use committee.
In the past several weeks, they have been circulating a “preliminary vision and planning study,” detailing how the underground facility might be used, how it would be financed and what the impact could potentially be on the surrounding area. This evening they’ll share some of the study’s fine points with CB3, which voted last June to “officially support” the LowLine project. It would be an overstatement to say opposition to the Delancey Underground concept is now emerging, but in a community board meeting late last year, there were signs of new skepticism from some land use committee members. Since that meeting, various activists have hinted that they’re concerned about the potential of the LowLine to be an agent of gentrification. Recently, we sat down with Barasch to talk about that specific issue.
The centerpiece of the recently-concluded Lowline exhibition in the Essex Street Market, a Japanese maple, has a new home. On Friday, it was moved over to the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Click through for a few more shots of the journey across the neighborhood. You can visit the garden on Thursdays between 5-7 p.m. and weekends noon-4 p.m.
“Imaging the Lowline,” the installation in the Essex Street Market, is taking a break for the Rosh Hashana holiday. But the show from the team proposing a 60,000 square foot park below Delancey Street, will be back in action tomorrow from noon-6 p.m. Also coming up on Saturday, City Council members Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez are inviting constituents down to have a look at the installation and to spend a little quality time with your local elected officials. Chin and Mendez will be at the market (in the building on the south side of Delancey Street/Broome Street entrance) at 1 p.m.
As we reported yesterday, “Imagining the Lowline,” an exhibition from the guys behind the proposed park under Delancey Street, opens in the Essex Street Market on Saturday. You’ll also be able to see the installation on Sunday, but there’s a twist. The Lowline team has partnered with the Lower East Side BID to showcase several neighborhood businesses. It’s a kind-of teaser for the BID’s “Daylife” street festival coming up on Orchard Street September 30.
The vendors that will be set up in the market building include: Heritage Meat Shop, Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, Ni Japanese Deli, Pushcart Coffee and the LES Girls Club. The Lowline and the BID will be co-hosting a similar event Sunday, September 23rd, featuring several more local businesses.
The Lowline exhibit and Daylife preview take place in the Essex Street Market building on the south side of Delancey Street. You can stop by anytime between noon-6 p.m.
The Lowline exhibit is open daily through September 27 (except for next Monday and Tuesday when it will be closed for Rosh Hashanah).
Here it is. We just returned from a press preview of “Imagining the Lowline,” the exhibition coming to the Essex Street Market for two weeks beginning Saturday. Up until now, all we’ve had are renderings depicting what a park in an abandoned trolley station below Delancey Street might look like. Now visitors to the public installation will be able to see and touch real trees and grass growing with the aid of natural sunlight being channeled into the darkened back half of the abandoned market building.
Wherever we went this past weekend, it was the question on everyone’s lips: “Have you heard about “The Lowline?” No doubt about it. The neighborhood is buzzing about the audacious proposal, reported in this week’s issue of New York Magazine, to turn an abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street into a large subterranean park.
We first met James Ramsey and Daniel Barasch, the guys behind the proposal, last spring, as they were just beginning to reach out to the Lower East Side’s elected officials and community activists. Saturday morning, we sat down for an in-depth interview about the Delancey Underground (the project’s official name), which will be presented to Community Board 3’s land use committee Wednesday night.
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