Lonely Planet Writer

The world's first underground park is one step closer to reality in New York

The radical new proposal for the world’s first underground park has come one step closer to reality. The team behind the idea have gotten approval from New York City to become the designated developer of an abandoned underground terminal.

underground park
The Lowline Image by Liz Ligon/RAADstudio

If successful, it will be the first underground park in the world. RAADstudio are the team behind the concept and want to build the Lowline park in an abandoned J train terminal at the Delancey/Essex subway station. It will be in a similar style to Manhattan’s High Line park which is built on a disused railroad.

Concept drawing of the Lowline
Concept drawing of the Lowline Image by RAADstudio

The team opened the Lowline Lab in 2015, an open laboratory and exhibit designed to test and showcase how an underground park could work. More than 45,000 visitors have visited the lab so far to discover the potential of transforming space underneath New York’s concrete jungle into year-round public spaces.

You can visit the Lowline Lab to get a glimpse into how the underground park could work.
You can visit the Lowline Lab to get a glimpse into how the underground park could work. Image by Lowline Lab

In order to be successful, the underground park needs sources of light, air and water. The team have created a slow drip irrigation system as well as a dedicated solar technology system designed by a former NASA engineer.  The result is a lab filled with more than 3,000 plants and dozens of varieties. The experiment should reveal which plants grow best underground, information they hope to put to good use if the real underground park comes to fruition.

The Lowline concept.
The Lowline concept. Image by RAADstudio

Now the underground park has gotten its first approval, the team have 12 months to raise $10 million, implement a community engagement plan and complete schematic design documents. If you simply cannot wait to explore this radical new space, the Lowline Lab is free to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm until March 2017.