The Lowline Lab, an experiment in utilizing solar technology to grow and sustain plants underground, will close doors at Essex Street on February 26. The lab was designed to be a temporary community space, educating the public and raising funds for the Lowline, an expansive, one acre underground park in what was once the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal.
Since its opening in October of 2015, the lab has functioned in open conversation with visitors and the lower east side community, a neighborhood that lacks an abundance of public green space. The lab’s programs offered a range of hands-on science learning opportunities, particularly to youth, including a talk with a NASA scientist, and a young ambassadors initiative. The lab sparked interest and curiosity about how an underground park with vibrant plants could exist and thrive in a former train station. The founders’ vision of reclaiming the abandoned space as a one-of-a-kind, green oasis in a part of the one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods of the city is still very much intact.
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The organization will offer public programs at Essex Street through February, and will continue to fundraise and hold participatory events throughout the city following the closure of the lab. New York City has approved the plan for the lowline park, and while it is tentative, the founders are surging ahead with their vision to create a dynamic cultural space for and with the lower east side community.
Images courtesy of The Lowline