Underground Society

Karlie Kloss and co. put their weight behind the Lower East Side's Lowline project


Lena Dunham, Humberto Leon, and Spike Jonze   
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New York's philanthropists always seem to have a new, inventive cause to get behind and an inventive party to throw for it. So when do-gooders were invited to a saloon-themed shindig in New York's oldest surviving synagogue for the unbuilt, underground Lowline park, nobody so much as batted an eye.

The dream of co-founders Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, Lowline will become the world's first underground park and public space. For now, it's an abandoned trolley terminal underneath what is roughly Delancey and Essex streets on the Lower East Side. Barasch told "At this point it's about working with the incoming mayor's administration, raising private capital, and making it happen. We're probably about five years away from a Lowline existing."

The station dates back to Prohibition, so last night's party at the Orensanz Center was a throwback of sorts, complete with saloon girls, sideshow acts, and bathtub gin. One period-dressed porter approached every guest during cocktail hour and whispered that it was time for dinner. When he got to Karlie Kloss, the man considered her height and found a valise to stand on so he could reach the model's ear.

The Lowline is a cause exciting enough to get Diane von Furstenberg, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo on board. Lena Dunham's enthusiasm was apparent: "I'm so excited, an underground park!" Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon, a longtime resident of the area, added, "I can't wait. This is really going to change the landscape of downtown." If the results are anything compared to how the High Line has changed the West Side, Leon might just be right.

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