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The Lowline is dead, for now

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Plus, the city plans to nix a Central Park ice skating rink run by the Trump Organization—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

A prototype of the Lowline.
Max Touhey

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The Lowline, billed as the world’s first underground park, is no more

After nearly a decade of planning, an ambitious project to transform a disused trolley terminal on the Lower East Side into a subterranean park is dead, Crain’s reports. The one-acre green space called the Lowline would have used experimental solar technology to grow plants underground but struggled to secure steady funding for the pricey project.

Signe Nielsen, a landscape architect who is on the Lowline’s board of directors, told Crain’s that the project has “gone into dormancy” after failing to meet financial benchmarks. The effort, Nielsen said, was estimated to cost at least $80 million to refurbish and then reimagine the underground space.

The Underground Development Foundation, the nonprofit created to raise funds for and develop the park, managed to gather $3.7 million, but public filings show that by the end of 2017 it had just $9,938 in remaining funds—down from $815,287 in 2016. The city supported the project, which owns the trolley yard and leased the space to the MTA, by conditionally designating the Lowline as the site’s developer. But Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has declined to contribute cash to advance the effort.

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