A Decade Later, the Lowline is Stopped in its Tracks

Posted on: February 19th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

At the Lowline Lab, Oct. 2015

More than a decade after its conception, the ambitious Lowline project is kaput. Stopped in its tracks due to financial constraints, Crain’s reports.

The founders of the $83 million subterranean park – Dan Barasch and James Ramsey – announced this week that the project is no longer viable. That despite years of neighborhood outreach, appearances before Community Board 3, political wrangling, headline news stories, and a replica Lowline Lab, the team was unable to sustain sufficient fundraising to proceed.

As of last year, the park was under construction and expected to debut in 2021.

The idea for the sci-fi Lowline germinated in 2009, co-founded by Barasch and Ramsey as the Delancey Underground. With plans to occupy the long-dormant trolley terminal behind the Essex Street subway station, the concept went public two years later and became a polarizing topic. Many locals feared a hyper-gentrification scenario similar to the High Line, while supporters thought it a boon for the community.

Now, it’s a footnote in Lower East Side history. Eclipsed by the mega-development above its proverbial head.

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