Activists Call The Lowline Park A “Trojan Horse” To Enrich Investors

October 17, 2014 | Rhett Jones

Community leaders are beginning to show opposition to the construction of an underground indoor park on the Lower East Side. The Lowline would be located beneath Delancey Street in a trolley station that has been abandoned for 60 years, but critics would like to see more consultation with the community.

Kerri Culhane, associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, has penned an op-ed on the Lo-Down that asserts residents are being drowned out by real estate developers and other parties who stand to profit from construction of the Lowline. Culhane says that the extent of their supposed outreach has consisted of a TED Talk, a one-sided proposal to the community board, and an after school curriculum for a handful of children in the neighborhood.

Culhane argues that the Lowline is more like a corporate atrium and the money might be better used to improve the already existing outdoor spaces in the area. As for the site, she proposes a new bus terminal. She goes on to say that like the High Line, it’s a “trojan horse” effort to line the pockets of real estate investors disguised as a community improvement project. Real estate prices along the High Line have pushed out residents and mom and pops and Culhane fears the Lowline will have the same impact.

ANIMAL reached out to the MTA to see where they stand on the project and according to spokesman Adam Lisberg, the transit agency is playing it neutral:

The MTA does not have an official position on the use of the former Delancey Street trolley terminal. Like much of the city’s mass transit network, the space is owned by the city of New York and controlled by the MTA under a master lease; any decisions about new use of the space would have to be jointly determined.

(Images: Words In Space, Wikipedia)