The Lowline Park in NYC

The world's first underground park

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While the idea of the Lowline has already existed for 10 years, it won’t be open until 2021. The timeline alone reflects the complexity of the project which is nothing less than the world’s first subterranean park. In the same way as its counterpart the High Line, the Lowline will enrich New York City by adding one more unique attraction.

So what is the Lowline?

The Lowline in NYC
Photo courtesy of The Lowline

The Lowline is a green underground park that uses solar technology to stream natural sunlight below the ground creating a community space. Once open, it will be a green space just like those above ground. Grass and trees will be cultivated underneath the ground. Walking in the park and participating in community events will also be possible at Lowline Park.

Where is the Lowline located?

The Lowline is located in the gentrified Lower East Side on Delancey Street. What was formerly the Williamsburg Bridge trolley terminal is currently being converted into the world’s first green underground park. The trolley terminal has been out of use and abandoned since 1948, making it a large “lost city”. New York is one of the densest cities in the world, so why not use the space? That’s at least what James Ramsey and Dan Barasch were thinking to themselves. The Lowline Park ceiling is 20 feet high and the entire space extends over 3 blocks from Essex Street to Clinton Street. That’s the size of a football field and space that will no longer be unused.

How does the Lowline work?

Collecting daylight at Lowline NYC
Photo courtesy of The Lowline

Lowline Park will be lit using natural sunlight that is directed underground. Throughout the day, daylight will be concentrated on the roof and channeled below through a tube. The redistribution of the light is carried out by fiber-optic and helio tubes. The natural light transforms the park into a green space making it possible for plants to grow. The light transformation process has been developed and tested throughout the years to ensure the feasibility of the project.


When will the Lowline open?

The Lowline is anticipated to open in 2021 with no exact dates specified as of right now. The technologically innovative project required extensive research and planning ahead, which is why it will take such a long time until the grand opening.

The Lowline’s timeline

  • 20th century

The trolley terminal is unused for more than 60 years.

  • 2011

The idea of a subterranean park in NYC is first proposed to the public by James Ramsey and Dan Barasch.

  • 2012

A kickstarter campaign is launched. The installation “Imagining the Lowline” aims to help promote the project. It gives an insight into what we can expect of the suggested underground park Lowline.

  • 2015

The Lowline Lab opens from 2015 to 2017. While it’s a prototype that determines the feasibility of the Lowline in NYC in the long term, it also gives a glimpse of what the underground park will become. More than 3,000 plants are featured in the Lowline Lab.

  • Currently

The Lowline in NYC is under construction with the goal to officially open in 2021.

Things to do near Lowline Park

Once Lowline Park in NYC opens, it will draw thousands of visitors. If you decide to go too, you may be wondering what you can do before or after visiting the underground park.

One of my favorite restaurants, Sweet Chick, is located two blocks away. Their chicken and waffles are the best ones I’ve had in New York. Alternatively, you can stop by Katz’s Delicatessen – a touristy yet must-try spot. f you’re looking for dessert after, I highly recommend stopping by Wowfulls. They were one of the first shops to serve egg waffles with ice cream in the city.

For things to do in the area, check out our Lower East Side insider guide.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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