Low Life

September 11, 2012 9:00 am

Any seasoned New Yorker is well-versed in the concept of “underground.”

The underground speakeasy in Chinatown. The underground pop-up at The Standard. That underground park on the LES.


Yes, you read that right, and now you get your first-ever look at the subterranean esplanade at the “Imagining the Lowline” exhibit in the Essex Street Warehouse, opening Saturday.

The first open-to-the-public look at the plans for the Lowline — that massive “underground park” to be built in the abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal beneath Delancey Street — the exhibit will reveal a never-before-seen (and gorgeous) 50-foot-long model of Manhattan’s subway grid displayed, glowing and TRON-like, on the warehouse floor.

Also on display: a working “solar collector”, a massive canopy of honeycombed aluminum panels that casts sunlight onto an indoor garden stocked with a pure Japanese maple tree, grasses, mosses and even mushrooms typically found in the rainforest. Once the Lowline’s completed, these whizbangingly futuristic panels will form the ceiling of the Lowline, bringing actual sunlight from street level to support a green oasis underground.

Just don’t tell anyone you’re headed to “that underground place with grass and mushrooms on the LES.”

Image credit: Experiments in Motion

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