This is the Williamsburg Bridge.
It connects the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Mid Brooklyn and on its Brooklyn side, it marks the start of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. On the Manhattan side, The Williamsburg crosses over Roosevelt Drive and what appear to be endless housing blocks.
The approach to the Williamsburg is Delancey Street, a pretty non-descript patch of well-traveled road that looks like the rest of the Lower East Side.
However, underneath Delancey is an abandoned rail yard.
It's but one of countless abandoned rail yards in Manhattan and it always amazes me that the city with the most expensive real estate values in the US has so many under utilized nooks and crannies.
A couple of years ago, an abandoned, elevated railway was turned into New York's now-legendary High Line. However, a couple of forward thinkers have an similar idea for the Delancey Street only instead of a High Line, they've come up with the idea that's come to be known as the Low Line.
The Delancy Underground is its official name and at this point it's in the process of raising money to make the dream a reality. I remember when the High Line was in a similar situation and just look at it now. I have no doubt that the Delancey Underground will happen and based on the speed of the High Line's development and conversion, it will happen pretty quickly.
However, the Delancey Underground is very different from the High Line, primarily because it's underground. However, the plan for the Delancey calls for a host of sky lights, solar collectors and fiber optics to bring the light of day underground. The light levels underneath Delancey Street will be intense enough for trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses to grow. check out these renderings.
It's going to be amazing and if any city in the world can pull this off, New York's definitely the one. No where else in the world can mount projects on the scale New York can and nowhere else on earth can channel ambition and vision the way New York does so regularly.
Man I love that town and the Delancey Underground is one more reason to hold it in as high a regard as I do.
New Yorkers aside, what public space initiatives has your city undertaken? Are publicly-funded, public spaces important and worthwhile? Talk to me about this stuff.