When Two Great Ideas Collide: Subway Symphony And The Lowline Lab

November 24, 2015

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There are two forward-thinking projects underway that aim to improve one of the world’s greatest cities – and I had the pleasure of enjoying them both this weekend in one unique, immersive experience.

Next time you’re in New York, you can experience these innovations for yourself too.

Some Peepshow readers may be aware that Fast Horse has been working with client Heineken USA on their “Cities” campaign, which aims to make great cities even greater. In the first iteration of the campaign, Heineken partnered with James Murphy – legendary producer and DJ of LCD Soundsystem fame – to replace the harsh and grating noises of New York’s current subway turnstiles with beautiful, melodic music. The project garnered attention from all sorts of tech, urban development, music and other media in New York and beyond – including the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, Fast Company, HuffPo, Adweek and many more.

Below is an overview video with additional details, and you can find more videos here.

Just recently, Subway Symphony teamed up with The Lowline – another fascinating project that aims to make New York an even greater place to live and visit. In a nutshell, The Lowline aims to create the world’s first underground park through the use of innovative solar technology. That’s right – we’re talking plants growing underground. This is some seriously mind-bending urban development, but these guys have it down to a science, quite literally.

This year, to help demonstrate how the underground park could eventually come to life in an abandoned trolley station, Lowline organizers created a temporary, above-ground research and exploration hub called the “Lowline Lab.” Located in New York’s Lower East Side, the immersive space simulates underground conditions, showing off how the technology would work and giving visitors a first chance to experience the innovative solar technology, which is designed to draw sunlight from street level, allowing plants to grow underground.

I had the opportunity to check it out this weekend:



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You can probably see where I’m going with this, but the Lowline Lab offered a no-brainer opportunity to incorporate Subway Symphony turnstiles, which were recently installed at the entrance to The Lowline Lab. This offers New Yorkers (and tourists like myself) a chance to experience Subway Symphony for the first time, firsthand. (A photo of the installed turnstiles appears at the top of this blog post.) I took the liberty of swiping a card through the turnstiles several times, listening to the melodic sounds create their own song.

If you get a chance, I recommend checking it out. The Lowline Lab’s located at 140 Essex Street on the Lower East Side, and it’s free and open to the public between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. There’s also a great market next door, and you’re steps from the Williamsburg Bridge. As I walked across and caught the sunset over Manhattan, I was reminded how beautiful New York already is, and how fun it is to see people committed to making it even better.

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