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N.Y. Park Proposal to Transform Old Subway Station
September 17, 2012

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Don Barasch and James Ramsay, the creators of the High Line park, have moved their sights underground, with plans for a park in an abandoned subway station.

The High Line was an elevated train platform on the West Side that once hummed with business from the meatpacking industry but fallen into disuse; now it's a green area favored by families, with gardens, sidewalks, and play areas.

The plan is the same for the Lowline, in an underground space built in 1903 but not used since 1948. Echoes of architecture past in the former Delancey Street Station on the Lower East Side include vaulted ceilings, granite cobblestones, and (of course) railroad tracks.

One of the main challenges with an underground park will be to create a "natural sense." Barasch and Ramsay have invented a technology, called a "remote skylight," that would bring natural light from above ground through a fiberoptic cable to the underground park, providing enough lights to grow greenery.

The Lowline is not a reality yet, mainly because Barasch and Ramsay don't have the funding. To help with that, they have created a warehouse prototype, using $155,000 raised through crowd-sourcing. The exhibit will be on display through September 27. Among the plants featured in the prototype are moss, vegetables, and Asian trees.

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