NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transit Authority is stepping up its efforts to develop various underground spaces it owns.
They’ve released a guided tour of a space that two architects hope to convert into an underground park.
In the video, Peter Hine of MTA Real Estate walks viewers through the mothballed Essex Street Trolley Terminal. That’s the spot that architects James Ramsey and Dan Barasch hope gets made into the “low line.”
The Terminal functioned from 1903 to 1948 and has been sitting empty ever since.
“The real estate department is looking very closely at alternative uses and generating revenue from the facilities and assets we have,” says Hine in the video. “The Essex Street station, at 60,000 square feet, is a remarkable opportunity for creative entities to look towards doing revenue-generating projects that the real estate department would help coordinate.”
The vacant space is immediately adjacent to active subway tracks. Hine described the large, dark area as “Ghostly.” It still retains the trolley tracks and cobblestones.
Watch the tour:
The large space runs from Clinton Street to Essex Street, south of Delancey Street. Above ground, there are several large vacant lots that New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.
“We are essentially immediately adjacent to the basement of whatever gets built on these several now-vacant blocks,” Hine explains in the video. “It’ll be a great benefit for both whatever’s above ground and whatever somebody decides to build down here.”
“The sky’s the limit” for the underground space, Hine says, adding it would be a natural location for a nightclub, restaurant or a number of other possible venues.
Ramsey and Barasch were inspired by the overwhelming success of the “High Line” project, an elevated old train line turned park. The proposed “low line” park would feature actual trees and greenery, thanks to fiber optics and other cutting edge technology.
Whether or not the proposed park moves forward, Hine makes it clear that the MTA is looking to make something out of its surplus space. He says the agency is planning to make other “conventional and unconventional” spaces throughout New York City available for redevelopment.
For more information on the proposed park check out http://delanceyunderground.org
How do you think the space should be used? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.