Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

The Lowline is not a park

Photos by Vicente Muñoz.

I’m not mad at the Lowline any more. I was, for years, as I saw the same trippy renderings and the phrase “world’s first underground park” bounce around the internet pinball machine and never, ever exit. It seemed unstoppable as Kickstarter urbanism, meme-tecture, and the infrastructural sublime, with the added bonus of a High Line founder as board member and Lena Dunham as fundraiser.

It was a lot, especially for a project that is quite small: 50,000 square feet, underneath Delancey Street, adjacent to the J train. Until July, its founders didn’t technically even claim the space. Those dreamer-creator-founders, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, haven’t had real access to the site for years. But now, the Lowline has been selected by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation as designated developer for that subterranean acre and there’s a chance that the dream might become real.