‘Low Line’ fundraising on track; Kickstarter already passes goal | East Villager & Lower East Sider

‘Low Line’ fundraising on track; Kickstarter already passes goal

BY BONNIE ROSENSTOCK  |  Young visionaries James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, co-founders of Delancey Underground, reported that they are “insanely excited” that their Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 for the first phase of the project has reached 128 percent of their goal, with more than 2,000 contributors and 10,000 Facebook friends, since the campaign was launched on Feb. 22.

The campaign will end on April 6.

They are seeking funds to build a full-scale demonstration of an indoor park, which they have proposed to create on the Downtown side of the J, M and Z lines in the Essex St. subway station in a disused trolley terminal, that would be lit by natural sunlight.

The 60,000-square-foot, 1.5-acre site was built in 1903 for streetcars traveling across the Williamsburg Bridge. The facility was abandoned in 1948.

Ramsey and Barasch are hoping the demo will convince the community, funders, the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the space, that the project is viable.

What has been dubbed the “Low Line” has already received official endorsement from the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, Councilmember Margaret Chin, Russ & Daughters, the Tenement Museum and other local establishments.

As a fundraising inducement, the museum is offering a tour for $100 — and $250 for a cocktail party — featuring the “Low Line,” a cocktail created by Tony Powe, owner of Barramundi, at 67 Clinton St., who will donate $1 for every drink consumed of the Campari-rye whiskey-vermouth libation at his establishment.

A $500 contribution will get you a private after-hours party at Russ & Daughters. “But there are awards at all levels,” they said.

Barasch noted that many contributions are in the $1 to $3 range.

“I think that’s cool, and we are very proud of that,” he said. “People can’t afford much, but they believe in our project.”

They are planning to install the mockup of the “remote skylight,” cutting-edge, solar technology in the old Essex St. Market, just south of Delancey St., in September. This technology is what would be used to illuminate the underground “Low Line” space with natural sunlight, should the two win approval for their project.

They have also begun a feasibility study to put forth the economic rationale for the park. They would need $500,000 “to do everything we want to do,” said Barasch.

For more information and to donate, go to delanceyunderground.org .