April 26, 2012 Dylan Ratigan

New York’s Next Great Park Might Be Underground

New York City is famous for a lot of things — seas of honking yellow cabs, an iconic skyline, some of the best pizza in the world, and the idea that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.  All great stuff, right?

But actually living here is a different story — residents have to deal with a sky-high cost of living, long (and sometimes unpredictable) commutes, and in the most populous areas of Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, miles of concrete and asphalt that never seem to end.  Residents need more parks and green space in the city — but with one of densest urban grids in the world, where do we put it?

Two NYC-based architects had an idea — to build New York’s next great park in an unlikely spot: underground.  Their idea, called Delancey Underground, is an ambitious project to convert an old trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street into an subterranean public park– nicknamed the “LowLine.”  Architect and designer James Ramsey (@jamesramsey) and partner Dan Barasch (@kineticdb) launched their funding through Kickstarter, a website where innovators can solicit multiple backers at the micro level to fund their ideas. With their Kickstarter campaign, more than 3300 people pledged a total of over $150,000, and they said that’s incredibly important to the next steps of the project.

“Because we’re able to do this, we’re not only able to raise that money, but it also provides us an avenue to reach so many people and have a lot of people involved — so we can actually build a grassroots movement,” said James Ramsey.

“This campaign was incredible in a lot of ways. We now have over three thousand individuals who have raised their hands amd said they’re interested in supporting us with either a dollar, five dollars, or in some cases, many thousands of dollars of support.  So now we have, as James mentioned, the beginning of a real movement.  Something we can take to our political leaders, to other funders, and say listen we actually do have this growing level of support from our community,” explained Dan Barasch.

Here’s their visit to The Dylan Ratigan Show:

For more information on the development of the world’s first underground park, visit DelanceyUnderground.org.

– Meg Robertson (@megrobertson) is a digital producer for DylanRatigan.com.  She loves parks, especially ones that might end up being below Delancey Street.
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