Skip to main content

Thanks to Kickstarter, New York is getting an underground park with real sunlight

An ambitious team of inventors, designers, and strategists have just cleared a key hurdle in bringing the world’s first underground park to New York City — and the project looks stunning. Utilizing their own cutting-edge solar technology, the team intends to put a foliage-rich park — chock full of live plants and trees — underneath Delancey Street, right in the heart of NYC’s Lower East Side. To top it off, the designs for this revolutionary park have it calling the 107-year-old Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal home, effectively giving a derelict landmark a renewed lease on life.

Called Lowline, this project recently took to Kickstarter intent on raising $200k to help fund a test facility it plans to use to convince the City to approve the project. Over the course of the campaign, Lowline officially raised an impressive $223,506, allowing them to greenlight production on the testing site. This facility — called the Lowline Lab — will inhabit a former market building just a short walk from the intended final site, and should serve as the last stop before underground production commences.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Using nearby warehouse space for the test, the team plans to install its advanced sunlight collection technology, which is comprised of four different working parts. First, Collectors installed on rooftops track and reflect sunlight down to the street, then Concentrators focus the light towards underground tubes called Irrigators. These tubes then deliver the sunlight further underground to Distributors, which reflect and distribute the full-spectrum light into the Lowline Lab. Using this technology, the team has the ability to cultivate thriving plants in a typically dark area, creating a space reminiscent of a city park (i.e. somewhere city folk might want to gather). The Lowline Lab exhibit plans to run from September 2015 to February 2016, and hopefully provide the crew with a slew of information on how to perfect the project on a larger scale. 

Though the project is still in the early stages, the team already produced a small-scale version of the project back in 2012 after another successful Kickstarter campaign. Lowline’s 2012 version featured similar solar technology and successfully created a living, breathing garden fit for people to visit and enjoy. After receiving massive amounts of feedback from lab visitors, youth organizations, and hosts of advisors and supporters, Lowline got back to business developing new ideas and tech for the project.

Armed with advanced solar technology, yet another successful Kickstarter campaign, and even more help from directors and advisors, Lowline figures to see the world’s first solar-powered underground park through to completion. This is not only a slam dunk for the team at Lowline, but it also allows the people of New York City to celebrate one of its most historical landmarks. Moreover, this gives solar energy yet another impressive achievement its proponents get to hang their hat on.

Eat your heart out, Thomas Edison.

Editors' Recommendations

Rick Stella
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rick became enamored with technology the moment his parents got him an original NES for Christmas in 1991. And as they say…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more