A friend posted this campaign to Facebook earlier this week and my initial thought was: AWESOME! A Low Line park to compliment the already kick ass High Line! Their basic idea is to take an abandoned trolley terminal on the Lower East Side and transform it into the world’s first underground park... Carlsbad Caverns notwithstanding. It will be a beautiful public space and the thing that will make it especially cool is that it will utilize solar technology in a uniquely designed way, allowing for natural illumination underground! That should allow for plants and flowers and trees to grow! And maybe allow people to tan?? (They are not advertising that. I'm just putting it out there.)You can learn more about the project at www.delanceyunderground.org. It all sounds pretty cool, has great people supporting it and already reached its 100K kickstarter goal. Still, I have a few concerns about a green space underground. Off the top of my head, here are some potential issues.
1. RATS. There are rats underground! Everywhere! Have you been on the subway? Sure, there are rats running around in both green and non-green locations at street level, but when they scurry away do you know where they always go? Underground How would they solve the underground rat problem in this new space? And can that solution be applied to the rest of the subway system? (PLEASE?)
2. FEBREEZE, BUT NO BREEZE. It kinda stinks underground. It just smells bad. Sure, this green space theoretically will have trees and flowers and fresh smelling things in the area, but won't the air still be stale without any wind? Will there be a wind simulating ventilation system? That sounds really complicated. Part of the reason you go out to a park is for the fresh air and this seems to be the opposite of that.
3. THE HEAT, MY GOD, THE HEAT! Underground temperature stabilization is always tricking in NYC. I'm basing this opinion on my experience with the subway system. In the summer the subway gets baked like an oven and in the winter it can be freezing! Sure, you could go to this park even when it's raining, but how are we gonna keep it comfy? I can envision the place looking cool (the above concept art helps) but I have a hard time imagining it's relaxing.
4. BALROGS. Quite frankly, if we dig too deep into the Earth while creating this underground park we risk releasing these powerful beings of flame and shadow upon our beautiful city. Is this a risk we are willing to take? Perhaps a public hearing on the matter is in order.
(You shall not pass! ... without paying admission!)
I hope these concerns are all addressed in the planning stages and that we get a wonderful new park out of it. Come to think of it, the Transit Museum is underground and that place is pretty awesome. Whatever they create, let's hop that it doesn't quickly turn into a pit for homeless crazies, drug dealers and child-trafficking rings. That would be a total worst-case scenario. Good luck, Low Line team! Make it work!.