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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.
And in other news...
- The city plans to nix one of two ice skating rinks run by the Trump Organization in the northern part of Central Park.
- A project to build a new hearing room and repair office space for the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has jumped by $33 million since 2016 to a whopping $62 million price tag—and the completion date has been delayed by four years.
- The de Blasio admin plans to appeal a state judge’s ruling requiring the Parks Department to prove that a contested plan to overhaul part of Fort Greene Park does not require a state environmental review.
- The commute to and from work can be a respite from the day’s bustle with say some pleasure reading, listening to music, or simply existing as you chug coffee trying to gather yourself for the day. But these commuters wring out every second of their travel time for maximum productivity. Maybe something to emulate? Or not.
- On the topic of commuting, the subway has hit its highest on time performance rate since 2013, according to new MTA data.
- New York City’s real estate industry continues to grapple with the fall out of the new rent laws passed in June 2019.
- Dianna Carlin of the Coney Island Boardwalk’s Lola Star boutique is facing imminent eviction by Zamperla, the Italian amusement ride maker that oversee’s the city-owned Boardwalk. The move comes after Carlin and others have vocally opposed hefty rent increases.