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The Lowline Lab on the Lower East Side could become the world's first underground park

There's a solution in the works to provide public indoor recreation at the Lowline Lab, located inside an abandoned market, on the Lower East Side. The "long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit" is an attempt to demonstrate the ability to grow plants underground, according to its website. It will be open through June because it has been attracting visitors, spokesman Christian Bergland said.

The Lowline Lab was created by James Ramsey, who invented the remote skylight, which allows sunlight to reach underground locations.

According to the website's description, the Lowline Lab would like to expand the project to create a new form of public space "that highlights the historic elements of a former trolley terminal while introducing cutting-edge solar technology and design, enabling plants and trees to grow underground."

The Lowline team hopes to get the green light from New York City and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build the park by 2017 and then launch a capital campaign to support its construction. The team hopes that the site will officially open in 2020, according to the website's timeline.

"This is sort of the proof of concept, not just for making this idea work in New York, but making this idea work pretty much anywhere," Bergland, said.

Scroll down to see photos of the world's first underground park.

How sunlight gets underground

Upon arrival at the Lowline Lab, after entering
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

Upon arrival at the Lowline Lab, after entering through subway-like turnstiles, visitors walk along a path lined by detail boards, explaining the technological and environmental elements, as well as a plan the Lowline Lab entrepreneurs want to accomplish.

Lowline visitors

Since opening in October 2015, the Lowline team
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

Since opening in October 2015, the Lowline team has been keeping track of how many people visit the site and how long they stay to show public interest. According to Dan Barasch, co-founder and executive director, there is an average of about 1,000 visitors per day on the two weekend days the lab is open to the public. More than 40,000 have visited since it opened.

Plant life

A wide variety of 3,000 plants can be
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

A wide variety of 3,000 plants can be found growing at the Lowline Lab, as the team seeks to determine which types of plants are best suited to growing underground.

Location

The current location of the Lowline is only
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

The current location of the Lowline is only temporary. If the project is approved by the city and the MTA, it would be moved to the one-acre former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side. The station was originally opened in 1908, but has been abandoned since 1948 when trolley service ended, according to the Lowline's website.

What's growing at the Lowline?

Pineapples, strawberries, onions and other foods are being
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

Pineapples, strawberries, onions and other foods are being maintained at the Lowline. Since the Lowline Lab is a popular field trip destination for local schools during the week, the vegetation serves an educational purpose to teach kids about growing plants.

See for yourself

There is no admission fee for the Lowline
Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro

There is no admission fee for the Lowline Lab, but donations are encouraged to support the project. It is located on 140 Essex St. between Rivington and Stanton streets and open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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