Amazing technology would allow for underground parks in NYC

If you’ve been to Manhattan in the past several years, you may have heard of the Highline in Chelsea. It’s a project that converted an abandoned above-ground railroad track into a park, and it has turned the formerly underdeveloped area around it into one of the trendiest new neighborhoods in the city; if you visit Manhattan, you have to check it out. Anyway, two architects want to build a park that will do for the Lower East Side what the Highline did for Chelsea, but with a twist: they want to build it underground!

If you’ve been to Manhattan ever, you’ll also know that space is at a premium, and there are few open spaces left to grow leafy green things or build a park. Dubbed the LowLine, the project would convert an old underground trolley car station, abandoned in 1948 and untouched since, into a 1.5 acre underground park. But how? This is where the science comes in: they’ve developed the technology to transmit sunlight underground. Using large parabolic mirrors and a fiber optic relay, sunlight from the surface would be shuttled to the park and then redisbursed, allegedly yielding enough light for photosynthesis. As shown in the artist’s renderings above, the park could house trees, grass, farmers markets, or art installations, all year round, rain or shine. The architects raised money on Kickstarter for a proof-of-concept exhibition, happening RIGHT NOW in the Essex Street Market in NYC, and they’re doing battle with the city and the transit authority that owns the underground depot for approval. Here’s to hoping the city bureaucrats see the light! *slaps knee*

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