The city’s move to activate the abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey got off to a rocky start last month. The space has long been discussed as the ideal location for the Lowline‘s subterranean park and some felt the city was moving full steam ahead, without involving the community enough (an ongoing issue for the project).
We heard quite a few gripes over the city’s steps to “activate” the abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street at Wednesday’s Community Board 3 meeting, and it seems the city heard them loud and clear…ish.
Board members worried that the subterranean site was on its way to being given to the Lowline project with a Christmas bow on it, and asked that a new Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the space be put on hold and restarted with community board input on guidelines and criteria.
Yes, that neglected trolley terminal under Delancey Street has already been dubbed the “Lowline site” by some. As of now, the underground park proposed for the space has no actual claim on the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, but the project already feels smugly wrapped in destiny — and that’s exactly what Community Board 3 railed against at last night’s Land Use meeting, requesting that the city halt steps to “activate” the space until the board could be consulted further. With the city expected to begin reviewing official proposals as soon as next month, members said they were blocked from influencing a crucial stage of the process and argued that the well-organized Lowline team has an unfair advantage.
“Lower East Side, not for sale!” “Chinatown, not for sale!” These were the chants on the streets of Chinatown two weeks ago, when protesters, huddled under umbrellas, marched to City Hall to demand the prevention of the 80-story tower currently planned for the East River waterfront. With more luxury apartments on the rise and the commercial landscape following suit, anxiety over the rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side is intensifying.
The folks behind the Lowline are in high spirits: a benefit at the Bowery Hotel on Monday night attracted 500 guests (including celebrity supporter Adrian Grenier) and raked in about $30,000. The money will go towards funding the next phase of technology and design research, according to Robyn Shapiro, the project’s Director of Community.