Abandoned Trolley Tunnel Could Become City's First Underground Park

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rendering of Delancey Underground Rendering of Delancey Underground (Courtesy of Raad Studio)

A Lower East Side trolley tunnel could be transformed into the city's first underground park, complete with greenery and a so-called remote skylight. The proposed park is called Delancey Underground because it would sit in a tunnel underneath Delancey St. near the base of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The project, which will be the size of Manhattan's Gramercy Park, is the brainchild of NASA satellite engineer-turned-architect James Ramsey, who has developed a technology that can "harvest" sunlight and "channel" it elsewhere via fiber optic cables. He and his business partners plan to use this piece of science fiction-turned-reality to light what is now a cavernous, dank tunnel that was abandoned in the 1940s.

"We're using an advanced form of technology my office has been working on to bring natural sunlight into this underground space to grow plants and trees," Ramsey said.

Ramsey, who is the owner and founder of the architecture and design firm RAAD Studio, and his two business partners will present the idea of the Delancey Underground park to the public for the first time at a Community Board 3 meeting on Wednesday night.

Rendering of Delancey Underground


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Comments [6]


who's the chick in the hot pants?

Sep. 23 2011 10:14 AM
Adam from Port Chester, NY

@Davidson Norris: Good comments about Parans and fiber optic, remote lighting. Also pretty advanced are Himawari's products that have a variety of sizes. Sunlight direct is also impressive but the design is not enclosed like the others. From what I understand, the Parans systems had issues with the IR filters not securely staying in place above the fiber's entry point. Here is an experimental project that I completed for RSL Fiber Systems regarding the design of a solar collector with exceptional active tracking (+/-.01 degree).

I would like to see the use of light pipes and heliostats if possible.

Sep. 22 2011 05:04 PM
Ed Borgersen

Sounds cool. Hope I am alive to see it.

Sep. 21 2011 07:38 AM
Davidson Norris

Leaving aside the issues of what this space is and what it is for and what, if anything, might attract people to it, sun driven fiber optic systems (see Parans for the most sophisticated system on the market now), are limited by high cost, limited transmission distance and the weird light that comes out the end. It is sunlight but is very white which is not odd when outdoors but is odd when indoors. Why not simple skylights or light pipes that would at least establish a direct and meaningful connection to the sun?

Sep. 20 2011 10:52 AM
Bill C from Metuchen, NJ

This would be great if it can get off the ground - plenty of hurdles to go through, funding not the least. As a kid riding the J train I always wondered what would be done in that dank, forboding, cavernous place in view from the Delancey/Essex Street station, before heading across the Williamsburg Bridge. Perhaps the park can incorporate some historical elements and references, like what used to be at the location and what the neighborhood used to be. A partnership with Lower East Side cultural/historical institutions, and/or musuems would also be a good idea.

Sep. 20 2011 09:09 AM
Michael from New York

Is this a news article or p.r. gimmickry??

Sep. 19 2011 06:14 PM

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