Dan Barasch and James Ramsey’s innovative Lowline would be New York’s first subterranean park. Lit by an innovative daylight-siphoning fiber-optic cable and mirror system, the park would bring much needed green space to a retail-heavy area of the Lower East Side. We love the idea of an urban oasis, but the price of the park may end up being more than just its projected $77 million price tag.
When the High Line was first opened in the Meat Packing district, the area was already flourishing. The nearby Chelsea Arts District touched on the northern tip of the park, and the southern portion was surrounded (and still is) by flagship designer stores. But once the park opened, the area immediately saw an influx of thousands of visitors per day, a new Standard Hotel outpost and a bevy of high end restaurants.
Some hypothesize that the Lowline will have a similar effect on the Lower East Side, driving up land value, pushing out boutiques and mom and pop shops, and drawing a touristy crowd that will demand big box retailers and chain restaurants (a fear that has already been looming over residents with the eventual SPURA redevelopment). Only time will tell what changes the Lowline will catalyze, but we’re still excited to see what this urban oasis could bring to the largely concrete Lower East Side.