Would you play in a park underground? This artist's rendering shows a deep underground park that could be created in a 116-year-old abandoned trolley terminal below the Lower East Side. At left, how it appears now (AP photos / The Lowline)
Would you play in a park underground?
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Visitors from around the world are drawn to New York City's High Line. It's an elevated park. It was built on old railroad tracks that were transformed into a sanctuary of flowers, grass and trees.

Private planners inspired by the High Line's success are now looking deep under Manhattan. They want to create the Lowline. It could become the world's first underground park.

The project would occupy a 116-year-old abandoned trolley terminal. It's below the city's Lower East Side neighborhood. The terminal area has been used for storage since 1948.

Street-level solar collectors would be used for the park. They would filter the sun about 20 feet down to bedrock. That would turn the space into a luminous, plant-filled oasis. The park would offer city residents a place of refuge. It could host art exhibits, music performances and children's activities.

The Lowline is only one part of a Lower East Side revitalization project.

The neighborhood has an important place in the history. Italian, Irish and German families made their first homes in America in its tenements.

"Many people once fought to move out of the Lower East Side. And now, their grandkids are fighting to get in," says Mark Miller. He is an art gallery owner. "It's come full circle; it's hip, happening and historic."

Dan Barasch co-founded the nonprofit Lowline project with architect James Ramsey. The park is expected to cost about $60 million. More than $1 million has been raised for research and design.

Ramsey and Barasch got the idea for the project when they heard about the underground site. It was once a trolley turnaround.

Barasch estimates it will take about five years before construction begins.

Community members had their questions at a Lowline presentation. Some asked where the street-level entrances would be, how the space would be ventilated and what kinds of plants would be brought in.

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea.

Kerri Culhane, associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, says the project will draw real estate investors while alienating longtime residents.

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COMMENTS (45)
  • mundot-Wre
    12/11/2014 - 01:14 p.m.

    An underground park is cool because its like the only underground park in the world.

  • gloriav-Wre
    12/11/2014 - 01:22 p.m.

    Well I would tell you that I had not played in a park under ground before but if I was playing in a under ground park I would love it so what I

    • marthad-Wre
      12/16/2014 - 10:25 a.m.

      If I was underground I would love it because you could do whatever you want.

  • BrandonL-Yag
    12/15/2014 - 06:31 p.m.

    In my opinion I wold play in a park uner grond because a park is a park so it dose not mater ware it is

  • BrandonL-Yag
    12/15/2014 - 07:46 p.m.

    In my opinion I would play at a under ground park because a park is a park it dose not mater ware it is or what it looks like. Also I believe that the park looks pretty cool and I want to go there just by herring about it. In my opinion everybody shod go there at lest once a week so they can exercise for there health. Of corse most of the people there might be going out with someone else or geting a phone number from a girl friend. But, the point of the park is the fun and romance.

  • brandonv-Wre
    12/16/2014 - 10:21 a.m.

    This underground park is so awesome man. There must be a way to get some loot in there.

  • troyc-Wre
    12/16/2014 - 10:24 a.m.

    I think that they are probely informing us to play in an underground play ground.

  • jahvona-Wre
    12/16/2014 - 10:24 a.m.

    it will be cool and fun to play in an underground park in new york city with my best friends

  • jahvona-Wre
    12/16/2014 - 10:24 a.m.

    it will be cool and fun to play in an underground park in new york city with my best friends

  • edgarc-Wre
    12/16/2014 - 10:29 a.m.

    I would play in a under ground park cause it looks really cool. how did they manage to make that its enpresive too its actualy really weird that they made one . My last question is do they realy get a lot of light or electricity and what do they play down there.

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