LOS ANGELES — A good portion of New Yorkers’ lives are lived underground. Whether riding the train or waiting for the train, the subterranean world of Gotham is famous the world over for its grungy, dirty character. Few people, however, actually want to hang out underground.
The Delancey Underground project, nicknamed “The Lowline,” aims to change this. Spearheaded by Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, the project is a proposed restructuring of an underground space they discovered in the Lower East Side. At 60,000 square feet, it reaches Gramercy Park proportions and is reportedly unused.
“One of the biggest and most exciting spaces in New York is right down the street,” said Barasch in a phone interview. He and Ramsey discovered the underground space recently and realized its potential, especially with regard to a special technology developed by Ramsey to bring sunlight underground.
Their new Kickstarter project aims to raise $100,000 to support an initial model of the project, which will serve as a proof of concept for the actual installation. “The only thing that stands in our way now is to do a couple things to make it more real,” explained Barasch. “We need to convince people that the technology works.”
The project is gaining widespread appeal, and their impressive list of supporters includes March Kushner, Architizer and District 1 Councilmember Margaret Chin. But more importantly, Barasch tells me, is that the Lower East Side community has been backing them.
“We presented it to high schoolers, tenth graders,” he told me. He expected disinterest, but instead “they were really really excited and engaged. I’ve never seen more questions from students.”
As of press time, the project is nearing $60,000, just $40,000 short of its goal. Rewards range from a listing on their website for $5 to Lowline SWAG and a tour of the Tenement Museum for $100.