An underground walk in the park

Every New Yorker faces the same dilemma when deciding where to take a friend visiting from out of town. In a city with so many options that are unique and noteworthy, where do you even start? There are only so many museums you can visit in one trip, midday mixology tends to eat into late night dance parties, and well, Chinatown isn’t nearly as interesting as every tourist seems to think it is.

The solution to this never ending question came only a few years ago when an abandoned elevated train track was converted into a one-mile long park stretching from the West Village through Chelsea. The Highline park became the ultimate summer destination on a perfect day -- friends in town or not.

Not to let have the West Side have all the glory, a group in the Lower East Side is proposing their own park concept, one that puts all the emphasis on Lower. The proposed Lowline park builds on the Highline model, through adaptive reuse of an abandoned train line, but opts to use a long abandoned subway tunnel. The park would use cutting edge technology that would allow light to pass through the canopy, brightly illuminating the cavern below.

As anyone who’s been waiting for the 2nd Avenue subway line to open known, anything involv- ing the subways in NYC takes a bit of time and lots of willpower. To help bring the idea that life supporters range from the patron saint of the Highline, Diane von Furstenburg, to fans of the idea like Mark Ruffalo, Lena Dunham, Edward Norton, local business owners and politicians, as well as some additional supporters who believe in pushing the boundaries with big ideas.

For the past two years, Absolut has partnered with the Lowline organizers on star-studded fund-raisers, an artist program designed to bring the artist community into the project, and through Absolut Lowline cocktails available at a few of the best Lower East Side bars. Each time one of these masterfully crafted drinks is ordered, an automatic donation is made towards the project.

The Lowline is likely more than just a couple years away, but once it is, there will definitely be a new must-see spot to bring friends. Until then you’ll just have to bring them to the LES to grab an Absolut Lowline at one of the participating bars.

Text: Andrew Rozas