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.
After not sleeping so well last night, I woke up to a text message that Michael was headed here to start the day.
I took a couple pictures out our window. It’s really sunny out but these pictures make it look pretty grim:
After milling around a bit, we decided to go to a diner I’d seen last night. On the way, it started raining. We got to the diner and it was closed so we headed to another one.
We ended up at Amelia’s Diner and had breakfast.
On the way to Tribeca Park, we saw Duarte Square
Juan Pablo Duarte Square
This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.
In the late 1600s the land that is now Juan Pablo Duarte Square was developed as a farm by Trinity Church. A forty-foot-wide canal was built to the south in 1810 to drain the pestilent Collect Pond into the Hudson River. The canal was filled in 1819 and now forms Canal Street. As the city spread northward, this became an important commercial thoroughfare. Canal Street achieved further prominence with the construction of the Holland Tunnel at its western end in 1927.
Juan Pablo Duarte Square was officially dedicated in 1945, when Sixth Avenue was renamed Avenue of the Americas in celebration of Pan-American unity. The name of the square, located near the southern end of the Avenue of the Americas, honors Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876), the liberator of the Dominican Republic.
As a young man, Duarte founded a society called La Trinitaria which sought to promote democratic ideals among the Spanish-speaking inhabitants of Hispaniola Island, most of whom were clustered around the city of Santo Domingo. In 1843 Duarte launched an attempt to free the eastern half of the island from Haitian rule. When the rebellion failed, Duarte fled Hispaniola. However, when a new revolution succeeded in winning independence for the Dominican Republic in February 1844, Duarte was invited to return as President of the new republic. Although he eventually lost control to a military dictator and died in exile, Duarte was instrumental in developing the Pan-American traditions of democracy and self-government celebrated by the Avenue of the Americas.
Duarte Square, a triangular plot bounded by Sullivan Street, Grand Street, and the Avenue of the Americas at the intersection with Canal Street, was initially developed and maintained by the Department of Transportation. The square was improved in 1975 with the addition of benches, trees, and sidewalks.
On May 26, 1977, Duarte Square was transferred to the Department of Parks. A statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, donated by the Consulate of the Dominican Republic, was dedicated in the square on the 165th anniversary of Duarte’s birth, January 26, 1978. The thirteen-foot bronze figure, which rests atop an eight-foot granite base, was designed by the Italian sculptor Nicola Arrighini. It is one of a pantheon of six monuments to Latin American leaders which overlook the Avenue of the Americas.
We continued on to Tribeca Park and no one had put the tarp over the piano so it was pretty unplayable 🙁
The next stop was Albert Capsouto Park
Albert Capsouto Park
Laight St., Canal St., and Varick St.
Directions via Google Maps
Capsouto Park, named for neighborhood activist Albert Capsouto (1956-2010), is a vital public space located at the triangle between Canal, Varick, and Laight Streets in Lower Manhattan. Once a parking lot, this park opened in 2009 as one of the more than 30 parks and open spaces funded through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s revitalization project.The park features lush plantings and an award-winning design. The park’s new plantings include a double row of canopy and street trees and three large planting beds filled with low flowering shrubs and colorful perennials. Nestled into the edges of the planting beds are several continuous rows of contemporary benches and a small cluster of chess tables at the southwestern gate. At each of the three entrances to the triangle are etched stainless steel plaques with images from the New York Historical Society, New York Public Library and Library of Congress that tell of the area’s urban evolution
The centerpiece of Capsouto Park is a 114-foot long sculptural fountain by SoHo artist Elyn Zimmerman. This fountain bisects the interior space. Water spills from an 8-foot tower into a series of stepped “locks” evoking the canal that once flowed along the Canal Street. A sunning lawn rises up to meet the fountain from the south and granite seat walls adorn the fountain to the north.
We stopped by Freeman Plaza East but it was on a “break”(?)
In the street, though were some odd rocks called lemniscatus.
From there back to our hotel so Michael could go to his training session.
And, so ends the morning.