New York's Lowline project - like the High Line but more mole-man-style under Delancey Street - passed a major roadblock this week as City Hall approved the plans.
Lowline was the only project submitted to the Economic Development Corporation to overhaul the underground trolley terminal at the Williamsburg Bridge. The project's creators James Ramsey and Daniel Barasch are excited to get started on this pipe dream they never thought would get this far.
The City has given Lowline 12 months to raise $10 million, create a design, and host public comment sessions. The project is estimted to cost $60 million to complete and roughly $4 million to maintain annually. The City has not said whether it would contribute public dollars to the project.
Some locals worry that, yes, the Lowline would add much-needed public space to one of the densest neighborhoods in the city, but also drive up rents. Furthermore, in another High Line parallel, there are fears the destination-in-waiting might simply become another overflowing tourist trap inhospitable to locals.
“The Lowline, what they’re offering right now doesn’t seem so bad,” said Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. “I like the focus on kids, and the eco-enviro focus. It could be an interesting space for not-for-profits. I think they mean what they say, but we have to make sure it doesn’t become a space for the Hollywood set and the cultural elite. This is a community with a lot of low-income families in it.”