February 01 2013

Beyond Belief: The Delaney Street Underground in New York’s Lower East Side

Conceptual Image of Low Line

In September 2012, New Yorkers were offered a first glimpse of what the Low Line will look like – New York City’s newest subterranean park, designed by co-founders James Ramsey and Dan Barish. According to the New Yorker, the exhibition, entitled “Imagining the Low Line,” on view through September 27, 2012, allowed visitors to “feel like Alice in Wonderland looking around after her long fall into the depths of the earth.” The project vision, which seeks to transform an abandoned 1903 Williamsburg Trolley terminal, has been celebrated by Fast Company & Mashable and greatly supported by the greater NYC community. In 2013 – it finally could become a reality, according to a recent press release.

Conceptual Image of Low LineJames Ramsey, whose creative process is manifested largely from “devouring books,” has not only allowed us to reimagine our cities, but has also pushed the proverbial imagination of urban planning & sustainability towards a new threshold that was previously unreachable, blurring the dividing line between science fiction and reality.

Design of the Low Line carries the same creative drive conveyed in popular literature all over the world – creating an entirely new foundation to rapidly expand scholarship and literature connected to the underground. Contemporary writers, such as Neil Gaiman and Jeanne DuPrau, who authored Neverwhere and City of Ember respectively, painted vivid portraits of complex subterranean worlds, ranging from unknown medieval fiefdoms located beneath modern day London to a last bastion of humanity existing deep underground following a violent cataclysm. Simply put, the underground creates fascination and intrigue to all who venture near it, inspiring new ideas and producing a diverse array of popular culture according to BLDG BLOG.

Design of the Low Line calls into question the creation of new parks in other abandoned or unfinished New York City Subway Stations.

Will the park set a new precedent towards building downward instead of skyward?

How will the Low Line change the way in which we conceptualize underground public spaces in other cities? Share your thoughts.

Credits: Photograph by Geoff Bliss. Images and data linked to sources.

Geoff Bliss

Geoff Bliss grew up in Woodstock, New York and will soon graduate from the Master of Community Planning program at the University of Cincinnati with a focus in Physical Planning. He holds a B.S. in Applied Arts & Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied Political Science & Archeology. With broad interests in Urban Planning, Geoff is interested finding relationships between Sustainable Development, Urban Archeology, Public Art, and DIY Urbanism. As a Grid blogger, Geoff reported on a wide range of Urban Planning & Urban Design topics in New York City and Cincinnati, OH.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 1st, 2013 at 9:33 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, History/Preservation, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Beyond Belief: The Delaney Street Underground in New York’s Lower East Side”

  1. Farewell to the GRID: Geoff Bliss | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] in pursuing topics which were pushing the limits of research and advocacy, having written about The Delancey Street Underground (an underground park in the Lower East Side) and The Welikia Project (an ongoing research project, [...]

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