Today’s Original Schedule:
What really happened:
Michael had his workout with his trainer so he came at 10:30. We checked out of 10 Hanover and took our luggage to his place. Ubered over to the Lowline Lab.
What a fascinating place, interesting idea – I wish I’d thought of it!
The Lowline Lab is a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground. Built inside an abandoned market on the Lower East Side, just two blocks from the site of the proposed future Lowline, the Lowline Lab includes a series of controlled experiments in an environment mimicking the actual Lowline site.
Behind the doorway of a hulking, unassuming warehouse on Essex Street, a fascinating—and potentially game-changing—experiment is taking place. This is where you’ll find the Lowline Lab, a prototype for New York City’s first underground park, which until now has existed only as an idea. The lab, which opened to the public on Saturday, is the culmination of years of work by its creators, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, who have been tinkering with plans for the space since at least 2008. The idea is to create a green space deep below NYC’s streets by projecting the sun’s rays down into a disused trolley station, a complicated process that the Lab is now putting on full display. “We’re kind of blown away now that it actually exists,” says Ramsey. “To our great delight, all of our equipment and technical pieces are performing in excess of our calculations.”
When visitors come to the lab, they’ll have a chance to learn about the science of the Lowline—which involves harnessing the sun’s rays with pieces of optical equipment on the roof, transferring it into the warehouse through a protective tube, and then diffusing it over the site via a canopy that stretches across the ceiling. In addition to its solar-harnessing system, the centerpiece of the lab is its huge living display, which functions as both a science experiment and an art installation. There are thousands of plants in it—from hardy moss to edible herbs to baby pineapples—which are placed in accordance to how much sunlight they need. (Fragile spearmint is closer to the light, low-lying ferns are further away.) And because it is a living, breathing installation, it’s meant to morph over time. “It’ll look different in a few months than it does right now,” says Ramsey.
That adaptability is one of the defining traits of the lab: “We’ll see how people come in and use the space, and we’re really excited about being flexible, and play[ing] with what works and what doesn’t,” says Barasch. And while they have yet to see how the Lowline technology will work long-term—this is one of many phases, and the projected opening date for the actual park is 2020—he and Ramsey are excited to see what happens next. “I feel like we’ve been toiling in obscurity for a long time, and now this is our time to show off all the work,” Barasch explains.
We were early for lunch so we walked through Tompkins park (across the street from where Michael used to live). We saw statues of others, but not Tompkins. We were surprised to see that the WCTU has a water fountain.
Lots of dogs were having fun at the dog park.
Met Lingyi at (Northern) Thai Sontum Der Restaurant. I didn’t know anything on menu but we ordered anyway. It is her favorite place. Michael had taken her there for her birthday last Wednesday (April 6). Pretty spicy-hot but good.
We walked to New York Historical Society Museum and Library.
It was very cool and had a section devoted to the World’s fair that I went to as a kid.
We also saw the Batmobile
And some uniformed Civil War soldiers teaching kids (and adults)
From there, we walked to Juilliard School Music Store, the last store in New York where you can buy sheet music.
Then we Ubered back to Michaels.
We had a bit of extra time, so we saw Trinity Church
Back to Michael’s, rested 5 minutes, got our stuff and ubered to Penn Station where we took the train home.
For the first time ever, I got most of my packing done the night before. I still work up about 4:00 am, with my mind racing, thinking about what needed to be done.
We got to the airport in record time. Our flight was at 11:45 and we were there by 9:45 am. Another first.
We found a table with a very interesting woman from Indianapolis on her way to Boston and chatted a bit, had some coffee and breakfast-y stuff. Read a little, just relaxed.
Then I heard the final boarding call for our flight. I hadn’t heard any of the others. Raced over the gate and were the last ones on. A poor guy waiting in stand-by almost made it on.
It was a pretty uneventful flight. There weren’t even any events like coffee or peanuts 😦
Even though we couldn’t carryon our carryons due to being last on the plane with the overhead bins being full, you’d think that they’d come off first on the carrousel but no. I don’t know how last on became close to last off.
We got the shuttle bus Route #2 and headed for our home for the next few days.
The Wyndham Avenue Plaza Resort was the first stop! Their website says:
New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the prime vacation destinations in the world with a host of fun attractions, unforgettable special events like Mardi Gras, and epic nightlife complete with live jazz and blues seven days a week. Located in the historic Garden District, Avenue Plaza Resort is only minutes away from some of the most exciting urban districts, including the famous French Quarter, hip Magazine Street, scenic Jackson Square and St. Charles Avenue lined with grand architecture.
Just outside the door to these charming vacation suites you can easily catch the convenient New Orleans trolley line that travels straight to Canal Street and the French Quarter in just minutes and out to the fashionable Uptown district near Tulane University and Loyola University. You can also stroll through the Garden District to experience a real taste of the South, with the beautiful homes and historic landmarks that characterize this one-of-a-kind neighborhood.
We were greeted right off the shuttle by a most helpful gentleman who reminded us of some of the above and got us in to the registration desk.
After checkin, we got to our studio apartment, which is bigger than our first apartment was. There’s a view of the pool out back, a courtyard and the “Ashley House”, which was built above ground. Despite being built in the mid 1800s Ashley House and its entire historic memorabilia survived the massive flood waters that devastated New Orleans.
It once housed prisoners of the Civil War, and is reputedly haunted by an ethereal woman in the parlor, a phantom pianist, and footsteps sounding in unoccupied parts of the house. Numerous “cold spots”, unusual electrical disturbances, and doors that are operated by unseen forces have been reported.
Though the ghosts in residence claim it was they who held the flood waters at bay, salvation was more likely due to the original designers building the property above ground because the common superstition of the day was that feared diseases such as malaria and yellow fever originate from the ground!
We’ll actually have to go check that out!
After we got settled, we headed out four our first streetcar trip to Canal Street. We got off at the end of the line, walked around a bit, then got something to eat at a Marriott. Back on the streetcar for our new home.
I did a bit of work while Tom went out junk-food shopping.
Major nap, then shower, then bedtime.
We’re staying in the Garden District. From http://www.neworleansonline.com/tools/neighborhoodguide/uptown.html
The Garden District is a dynamic community grounded in a strong sense of tradition. Some of its homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago, and official flags designating Mardi Gras Royalty are a common sight here during Carnival season.
Laid out in 1806 by Barthelemy Lafon as an open, semi-urban system of interrelated parks with basins, fountains and canals, the Garden District was “one of the earliest expressions of the Greek Revival to appear in New Orleans,” according to noted architect, the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. The streets still bear the names of the nine muses of Greek Mythology, and many of the mid-19th century Greek Revival and Italianate homes built in this classical setting remain.
Today stroll under the oaks of Coliseum Square or any of the smaller parks in the Garden District and you are likely to find locals playing with their dogs or reading on the grass. Walk down Magazine Street, the neighborhood’s commercial center, and feel the energy as antique shops give way to contemporary design studios, offbeat clothing stores, restaurants, and much more. Visitors can even find an old-world barber shop, operated by Irish barber Aidan Gill, who offers Guinness and whiskey with his hot towel shaves.
Dubbed the “Garden District” for its capacious showy gardens, this New Orleans Neighborhood is noted for its astounding scenery-just one of its numerous attractions. Visitors are amazed by the elegant homes and the stylish setting that lends itself to a very relaxing and enjoyable experience for all.