New Yorkers get enough sunlight

New York tram station is to become an underground park

In this gallery: 3 pictures

A former elevated railway line is now the most popular green zone in New York alongside Central Park. The "High Line" opened in 2009 and meanders alongside urban canyons along the Hudson River. Where freight trains used to run, the New Yorkers are now walking along the two and a half kilometer long "green catwalk" financed by donations and private investments.

Underground idea

Two New Yorkers now have an idea that could easily take on the High Line. The "Low Line" project aims to turn an old underground tram station into a green oasis.

The initiators James Ramsey and Dan Barasch presented their concept on kickstarter.com, a platform for project financing through crowdfunding, and with current funds of more than 155,000 US dollars have long since achieved the funding goal, as it is called on the platform.


Light in the dark

The project managers have developed a new technology so that the plants can photosynthesize underground: collectors on the surface of the earth are supposed to collect the sunlight and guide it into the underground via fiber optic cables and reflect it there. The special thing about it: Harmful UV and infrared rays are filtered out. "We channel sunlight into their graves like the ancient Egyptians, but in a super modern way," Ramsey told New York Magazine.

Ghost train station

The park is to be created in a more than 6,000 square meter underground and forgotten tram station, which is located right next to the Delancey Street subway station on the Lower East Side. Since the tram operation over the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn was discontinued in 1948, the area has been fallow.

The "Low Line" has broad support from politicians, citizens' groups and local business people. A model is to be built by September that will also convince the owner, the municipal transport company, of its implementation. According to Ramsey, they are interested, but so far not willing to pay the remaining costs. (mvu, derStandard.at, June 21, 2012)