If you haven’t stopped by the Lowline Lab on the Lower East Side yet, better step to it: It’s due to close at the end of February. The lab, located in a warehouse next to the Essex Street Market, serves as a showcase, of sorts, for what could be New York City’s first underground park. It was due to close after a few months, but proved popular enough to remain open for more than a year.
Dan Barasch, who, along with James Ramsey, is one of the Lowline’s co-founders, told DNAInfo that “we would prefer to keep the lab open longer, but we can’t.”
In the time that it’s been open, the lab has given visitors a peek at what that proposed underground park might eventually occupy the disused Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal. Some of the lab’s features include a solar-harnessing system, which demonstrates how the team will bring sunlight to the subterranean trolley terminal (a key feature of the park).
The centerpiece is a huge living display, featuring a wide variety of plants (including everything from ferns to herbs to baby pineapples) that harnesses that sunlight in order to grow. The lab also offered workshops and tours that explained the science behind the not-quite-a-park.
As for the Lowline itself, it’s moving forward slowly but surely: Its creators released a proposal last fall detailing specific plans for the project, and it’s gotten the backing of officials, including deputy mayor Alicia Glen. And Barasch told DNAInfo that the team is planning more community outreach as it moves into the next phases of planning. “Our work is really only going to accelerate from here,” he says.