Plans for Delancey Underground “Low Line” Presented to CB3

Posted on: September 22nd, 2011 at 7:48 am by

As reported earlier this week, the Lower East Side is now considering its own subterranean version of Chelseas’s High Line called the Delancey Underground. James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the two entrepreneurs behind this innovative “Low Line” project, presented their bold plan to Community Board 3 during last night’s Land Use committee meeting. Representatives of local politicians including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver were also in attendance for the presentation.

Ramsey and Barasch together envision an underground community greenspace nearly the size of Gramercy Park at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, where the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal sits abandoned. The team argues that the Lower East Side is one of the least green areas in the city that is in need of some spruce-up. “We are getting involved in this because we want to turn this into a community space,” said Mr. Barasch, a vice president at Poptech. The project envisions using advanced solar technology to channel sunlight underground through fiber optic cables, enabling plants and trees to flourish.

According to current plans for the Delancey Underground, the ambitious project would be adjacent to the SPURA development site on Delancey Street. However, it is important to note that no subsidies from SPURA would be used to fund the project. Much like the High Line, the money would need to be raised privately.

On the topic of the SPURA development project, a lawyer representing tenants of 400 Grand Street was on hand. The quaint pre-war tenement building, currently the new home of the Jewish Conservancy Visitor Center, sits on parcel #5 of SPURA and is in the line of fire. That building would need to be demolished and the eight tenants remaining in the building would be displaced. A representative from the NYC Housing Preservation and Development let tenants know the city would assist them anyway possible if they were displaced from their homes.

Reporting by Andrew Cohen

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