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Subterranean Park Could Grow in Former LES Trolley Terminal

By Patrick Hedlund | September 21, 2011 11:49am | Updated on September 21, 2011 11:52am

LOWER EAST SIDE — A group that has unveiled a new project to create an underground oasis in an abandoned trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street will present its ambitious proposal to the local community board Wednesday night.

The project, called Delancey Underground, seeks to transform the disused, nearly 2-acre terminal beneath the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge into a functional park space, using solar technology to channel sunlight underground to grow trees and other plants.

The plan comes courtesy of James Ramsey, a former NASA engineer and founder of the design an architecture firm RAAD Studio; Dan Barasch, vice president of PopTech, which is focused on providing socially innovative technology; and R. Boykin Curry IV, a partner at a New York investment firm who also co-founded the Lower East Side’s Girls Prep Charter School.

A recently launched website for the project includes renderings featuring the subterranean space filled with a lawn and pools, walkways and seating, as well as trees and plantings sitting below built-in solar roofs.

The terminal itself, abandoned in 1948, is property of the MTA, which has been open to discussing the project, New York Magazine and The Lo-Down reported.

The area around the terminal is part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), a swath of vacant lots whose future development is currently being debated by Community Board 3.

The team will discuss the Delancey Underground project with the board’s land use committee at 6:30 p.m. Weds., Sept. 21, at University Settlement’s Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge St.