The Delancey Underground, that ambitious initiaitive to build a park in an abandoned trolley terminal, is picking up more community support. The Lower East Side Business Improvement District has now signed on as an official supporter of the proposal.
In recent weeks, project co-founders James Ramsey and Dan Barasch have stepped up their public outreach campaign. They’re about to start a Kickstarter fundraising drive aimed at financing a large-scale test of technology to transport natural sunlight to the huge subterranean space under Delancey Street. The MTA, which controls the abandoned terminal, will eventually seek multiple proposals from prospective developers.
Bob Zuckerman, the BID’s executive director, told us the organization’s board believes the Delancey Underground is an innovative idea to make use of a space no one had thought about in many years. While the plans are still extremely preliminary, Zuckerman said BID members are definitely interested in whether the project could help address ongoing safety concerns on Delancey Street. There’s a lot of interest, for example, in exploring whether an underground pedestrian passageway could be created, as part of the plan.
The BID is now listed as a supporter on the Delancey Underground’s web site, along with other recently announced backers, including City Councilmember Margaret Chin and Tenement Museum President Morris Vogel.
Meanwhile, the Delancey Underground team is keeping up an active public speaking schedule. We were on hand the other day, as Barasch outlined the plans for students at Essex Street Academy, one of the small high schools located on the Seward Park campus. Nora Madsen, a teacher, reached out to Barasch after reading about the proposal in the newspaper.
Barasch and Ramsey are scheduled to speak at the Tenement Museum on Thursday evening.