Harry Winston, King of Diamonds

The simplest ring in Harry Winston  Jewelry shop, located at 718 5th Avenue,  is $2,600. Wedding bands of more than twenty different styles  start at $3,900.For over a century, Harry Winston has been synonymous with exquisite gems and jewelry  that rival (and often surpass) the royal collections of the world. 
Harry Winston was a famous American jeweler.   Known as the “King of Diamonds”,  he owned  the Blue Hope, a 45.52 carat deep blue diamond, discovered in India 300 years ago and  considered to be the rarest gem ever fond on the  Earth.

 The plot of the first detective novel in the English language , “Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins  (1868), is  based on the legend about Blue Hope . Henry Winston  was the  last owner of  Blue Hope and donated it  to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington in 1958 after owning it for a decade. Winston   famously sent the diamond to the museum   via USPS.  Over five million people go to the Harry Winston Gallery in the Smithsonian every year to view the Hope Diamond.

Winston was among the most famous jewelers in the world, well-known to the general public. In the 1953 musical film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" includes the spoken interjection "Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!"
Harry Winston's mother and father emigrated  from Ukraine in 1890. His father Jacob started a small jewelry business. As the legend says,  Harry, 12 years old at that time ,  recognized a two-carat emerald in a pawn shop, bought it for 25 cents, and sold it two days later for $800.
     In 1920, at the age of 24, Winston started his first business, the Premier Diamond Company.   
Winston's jewelry empire  started with the  acquisition  of  Arabella Huntington collection after her death.  Arabella was   known as the richest woman in America  and an  collector of art, jewelry and  antiques.  Her son Archer   donated many of her paintings, including  two Rembrandts  and  a Vermeer,  to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

   Since Winston invented ‘celebrity jewelry dressing’, stars from Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have graced the red carpet adorned by diamonds personally designed and crafted in the Harry Winston workshops.

   In 1968 Harry Winston  purchased   rough diamond  over 601 carat in the South African kingdom of Lesotho. The cleaving (slicing ) of the stone, named Lesotho,  was broadcast live on television in 1968.  Aristotle Onassis purchased   one of the stones  for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ engagement ring. She only wore it twice and then it was locked away in a bank vault in New York.  In 1996 Sotheby's auction of Jackie's estate the stone was sold  for $2.59 million. 

    The list of the diamonds owned by Winston is really impressive
By the end of his career, Winston had owned, at one time or another, most of the history’s famous diamonds.  Winston bought  718 Fifth Avenue, at 56th Street in 1959. The original  building was built in 1872 and belonged to a  cabinetmaker and interior decorator Charles Baudouine, who used the house as  the main residence.  Fifth Avenue Association gave him an award for the best altered building of the year, when Winston moved his $35 million in jewels to the new location in 1960.
 Wilson had two sons and when he passed away in 1978, he left   the company to his son Ronald and two trustees, but  instructed that both his sons- Ronald and  Bruce - should get equal income from the company.

In 1990 Bruce filed a suit against Ronald demanding more information about the finances of the company. Ronald made several offers to buy his brother out but Bruce refused.
Both brothers finally settled in 2000 when Bruce sold his stake in Harry Winston
Inc. for $44 million. Funds for that payment came from Fenway Partners, a NewYork-based private equity group, which received a 55% stake in return.

Three years later, Fenway Partners wanted to cash out and Aber Diamond Corporation, an exploration company formed in 1994 in Toronto,  announced its plans for a friendly takeover of Harry Winston. By May 2004, Aber had acquired a 51% stake in Harry Winston for $85 million with an option to buy the rest of the company.  Aber soon exercised its option and in September 2006, for an additional $157 million, it bought the rest of Harry Winston. A year later, Aber took on the glorious name of Harry Winston and the company began trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “HWD” and officially changes its name to Harry Winston Diamond Corp. HWD changed ticker and is traded now under DDC (Dominion Diamond Corp).

In 2008 four men wearing wigs and female clothing entered a Harry Winston jewelry store in   Paris neighborhood   and swiped an estimated $100 million in jewels. It was the most important robbery in French history, only second to the world record in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2003. $25 million in stolen jewels was found three years later  in Paris sewer.

Astors,st. Regis hotel, Titanic and Bloody Mary

The St. Regis hotel, on the corner of 5th avenue and East 55 street  was built by John Jacob Astor IV, one of the wealthiest men in America and the member of a prominent Astor family.   Construction began in 1901 and the hotel opened September 4, 1904.  Jack was a great-grandson of the founder of the family John Jacob Astor  and the son of  Caroline Astor,  referred   later in life as "the Mrs. Astor". Here portrait  by the French artist Carolus-Duran  is in   the  Metropolitan museum, New York.
Astor was born in the family estate  "Ferncliff," north of the town center of Rhinebeck, New York. The estate, reduced to 50 acres and renamed "Astor Courts,"  later became a wedding venue.   The wedding of Chelsea Clinton took place there on July 31, 2010.
In 1891 Astor was married to Ava. Together  they had a son Vincent and  daughter Alice. The family been living in their luxury house on East 65 and 5th Avenue.  En Emanuel  synagogue is now on this place. 

In 1894 Astor  wrote “ A Journey in Other Worlds” , a  science fiction novel about the space ship Callisto that travel  in  2000 to  the planets Saturn and Jupiter.  Inventions Astor envisioned,  included a picture telephone, an airplane with the ability to fly to Europe in one day, an electric automobile, hidden phonographs by the police to record conversations of criminals and color photography. Astors' pneumatic walkway invention won a prize at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and he was one of the first Americans to own a motor car.

Seven years before St. Regis, In 1897 Astor built the Astoria Hotel  adjoining the Waldorf Hotel which had been built by his cousin William Waldorf Astor.  The new complex became known as the Waldorf-Astoria. You can find more about Waldorf-Astoria in my posts.

At the suggestion of his niece, Miss Helen Roosevelt , Astor named the new hotel after 742-acre Upper St. Regis Lake in the Adirondacks, where New York City’s richest and most powerful gathered their families  long before the Hamptons became their summer playground.  Astor liked the lake where his brother-in-law, J. R. Roosevelt, had a camp.
The construction of the hotel cost over five and a half million dollars. There were 18 floors in the hotel and the building was the tallest  in the city when built.
There were marble floors and hallways from the quarries in  France , Louis XV furniture from France and a library with more than 3000 books. There were  telephones in every room, a fire alarm system, central heating and an air-cooling system in every room of the hotel. There was even a central vacuum systems – innovation  for the beginning on the XX century.  
 The list of celebrities who  were the guest of the hotel is long and include Salvador Dali and his wife Gala, Marlene Dietrich and Russian prince Serge Obolensky, who lately marries Jacks daughter  Alice.

In  1909 at the age of 47  Astor divorced Ava and, two years later, married eighteen-year-old Madeleine Force. Mr. and Mrs. Astor travelled to Egypt and Paris and, in the spring of 1912, decided to return to America on board the brand new Titanic. After the crash Astor helped his pregnant  wife to climb through the windows of the enclosed promenade and board a boat. His wife survived.  His body was recovered seven days later.

Astor's son Vincent inherited the hotel and sold it to Benjamin Newton Duke.In 1927, the Dukes added a new wing  on  the east end, added a rooftop ballroom/nightclub, and increased the height to 20 stories.  In 1935, in the depths of the Great Depression, Vincent Astor bought the hotel back from the Dukes. The lobby of the hotel  and elaborate marble staircase  has not been altered since Astor died.  And the thousands of leather-bound books that he collected have been preserved on the same bookshelves for 100 years.

 In 1934 bartender of the hotel bar Fernand Petiot   invented a drink   which he called the "Red Snapper". It has since become known around the world as the Bloody Mary.

On April 4 , 2012 the St. Regis held a small dinner in the hotel library to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. The guests, who included some of Astor's descendants, were dressed in fur and feathers as they perused his books and dined on food inspired by the last meal served aboard the ship. 

Astors-Landlords of New York. Waldorf Astora. Part2

Waldorf-Astoria on  Park Avenue between East 49th and 50th Streets was built in 1931. I told about the history  of the hotel  and the prominent Astor  family ,  known as “the landlords of New York” in  the first Post about “Waldorf-Astoria” and  “En Emanuel” synagogue.

President Herbert Hoover delivered a radio broadcast commemorating the opening of the hotel and congratulating its owners.   He said: “The opening of the new Waldorf-Astoria is an event in the development of hotels even in New York City. It carries on a great tradition in national hospitality. A long line of constantly improving hotels from that day to this has marked the measure of the Nation's growth in power, in comfort, and in artistry”.

There were under two thousand rooms in the hotel, making it  largest hotel in the United States when it was open. The new hotel  has a handsome corridor an a restaurant which was built to captured the spirit  of the fabled promenade in the old Waldorf “Peacock Alley”. 

The Waldorf Towers has its’ own private entrance and elevator lobby on Fiftieth Street and is used exclusively for long-term tenants.  The Towers have 115 suites and 90 rooms on the 28th to 42nd floors. President Hoover  lived in New York in the suite 31-A  for 30 years of the Waldorf Towers after departure from the White House and had a personal waiter.
Every president since Herbert Hoover has stayed in the presidential suite.  The President  suite on the 35th floor includes four bedrooms, and the hotel hand-monograms towels for the first lady and president when they visit.
The hotel has its own railway platform (Track 61)  as part of Grand Central Terminal, used by the president Franklin D. Roosevelt.   An elevator  large enough for Franklin D. Roosevelt's automobile provides access to the platform.

When President Bush was in the hotel in 2003 seeking international support for the U.S. resolution on Iraq, the Secret Service arranged for the Metro-North train to be parked at an abandoned platform, always running and ready for instant departure.
 Queen Elizabeth II, General Charles de Gaulle,   Nikita Krushchev, David Ben-Gurion were among the gusts of the Hotel.

The International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria is held every even year in December to formally introduce young high society women. The Ball, founded in 1954, is the most prestigious and the most exclusive debutante ball in the world. Three quarters of debutantes are from US.  France, England, Italy and Germany are represented most frequently.  Each debutante has to be escorted by two men: one United States Military Academy cadet and one American civilian.  28 girls   from all over the world took part in the 2012 Ball.  The price was $16000.Among  the notable past debutantes are the daughter of President Richard Nixon and American fashion designer Vera Vang, the daughter and granddaughter of Malcolm Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine, and princesses Natalya and Octavia Obolensky, great-great-great-great daughters of John Jacob Astor
Waldorf salad — a salad made with apples, walnuts, celery, grapes, and mayonnaise or a mayonnaise-based dressing — was first created in 1896 at the Waldorf in New York City by Oscar Tschirky, known throughout the world as Oscar of the Waldorf, who was the maître d'hôtel.
There is a new lush green garden  on the roof filled with planting beds of different vegetables and herbs. There are also six hives brimming with thousands of honey bees. This summer (2013) marks the second year the hotel is harvesting its own honey.
During 2006, the Hilton Hotels Corporation   introduced the luxury brand Waldorf=Astoria Collection. The first three additional member hotels were in  Arizona, Phoenix  on   Maui  and   in California.

Astors-Landlords of New York. Waldorf Astoria. Part 1

Waldorf-Astoria that sits on posh Park Avenue between East 49th and 50th Streets.   Every president of United States after 1931 ( the year when the current Waldorf-Astoria was built) was the guest of the hotel.  Waldorf-Astoria   was built by two Astor cousins. This famous hotel is  not the first hotel in new York that was built by Astor.  The first one was built by the founder of the family   John Jacob Astor, who came to America in 1763 from Germany and made a fortune  in fur-goods  trading. 
 At the beginning on the XIX century Astor started buying and renting land. His motto was “never sell,” and he didn’t. He assembled the building lots around his former house and opened hotel in 1836 on the west side of Broadway between Vesey and Barclay Streets. There were more than 300 rooms in 6 floors. The hotel had its own gas manufacturing plant that supplied gas lighting for the building.  A steam engine in the basement ran a pump that provided water to all floors and powered machinery in the kitchen and laundry.   There were 17 bathrooms and 2 showers.
The running water for these facilities was provided by the   reservoirs in the attic.  The price was $2 per day. President Abraham Lincoln, Grand Duke Alexis , Admiral Farragut  and Charles Dickens slept here. The southern section of the hotel was demolished in 1913 because of the subway building.  The rest of the house was shattered in 1926 and the Transportation building was built.

In 1827   William Backhouse  Astor, son of   John Jacob Astor I, who inherited the major portion of the estate, purchased a  farm north of the city and built a small brick house  at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.  Within a few decades Astor’s section of the land became the most prestigious residential district in the United States.  William Backhouse Astor was the wealthiest person in the U.S  - he more than doubled the family fortune. After Williams’ death , the Fifth Avenue property was passed to his sons. 

In early 1880s one of Williams’ grandsons, William Waldorf Astor  opened the 13-story Waldorf Hotel on the site, which had formerly boasted his mansion, at Fifth Avenue at 33rd Street.
 Later William moved to London and become a British subject in 1899.  He accepted a peerage of the United Kingdom and was elevated to the rank of Viscount.  In 1908 he opened hotel  in London,  known now as “Waldorf Hilton” now.   The “Waldorf  hotel “ in New York had 17 stores, and was designed by the same architect   who later designed the Plaza Hotel in 1907.
There was a long corridor connecting two of the most popular restaurants in Waldorf, the Palm and the Empire rooms.  Almost from the opening, the corridor was a popular promenade for ladies of fashion to display their gowns and jewelry. The society editor of the New York Tribune called it “Peacock Alley”.
Four years later his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV built 17-story Astoria Hotel an adjacent site.  John Jacob  had a lavish house on the corner of 5th Avenue and East 65. El Emanuel  temple  occupies this lot now.  You can find more about  El Emanuel   in one of my posts.
 The hotels were initially built as two separate structures, but the architect planned the Astoria so it could be connected to the Waldorf by the “Peacock Alley”.  The combined  hotel was originally known as The Waldorf-Astoria with a single hyphen, as recalled by a popular expression and song, "Meet Me at the Hyphen."  The first words of the song are “At the Waldorf hyphen  Astoria no matter who or what you are”.
The sign was changed to a double hyphen (Waldorf=Astoria)   by Conrad Hilton when he purchased the hotel in 1949.  Hyphen  completely removed from the hotel name  in  2009.

The combined Waldorf-Astoria was  the largest and the tallest hotel in the world at the time. It was the first hotel to offer room service  and was the first hotel to offer permanent living spaces in its suites. The Waldorf-Astoria   was the first hotel to put an end to the old-fashioned Ladies’ Parlor rule and ladies can have dinner in the same room as gentlemen.


In 1929 the original hotel was sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation and  torn down   to make room for the Empire State Building.  Former Waldorf manager Lucius M. Boomer had retired to Florida after the demolition  but he retained exclusive rights to the name, which he transferred to the new hotel. Boomer died in an airplane crash in 1947 and Conrad Hilton bought The Waldorf Astoria in 1949. The new Waldorf-Astoria was opened to the public on October 1, 1931. 
Learn More about the history of the hotel from New York City History

Temple Emanu-El - the largest synagogue in the world

   Temple Emanu-El in New York City ( 5th Avenue and East 65) is the largest synagogue in the world. It can accommodate 2,500 worshipers - more than St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. 
Temple is made of the limestone and is designed in the Romanesque architectural style with Moorish and Art Deco elements.

Directly out front of the temple there is an enormous wheel-like window with twelve spokes that represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

Temple Emanu-El is on the site of demolished John Jacob Astor IV mega mansion that had been sitting on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 65th Street from 1895. The house was one of the grandest houses in New York at that time.

    Jack was a great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, the founder of the prominent Astor Family, who arrived from Germany penniless , made fortune with fur trading and made the Astors’ one of the wealthiest families in the America. John Jacob Astor IV went down with Titanic in 1912 after helping his pregnant wife escape into the last lifeboat.

   His son Vincent sold the Astor Mansion to developers for $130,000. The salon, library and all of the painting in the ballroom where bought by the John Ringling for his Italian Renaissance style mansion in Sarasota.

   John Ringling, who is mostly known as a circus showman and promoter, bought massive bronze doors from the Fifth Avenues entrance of the Astor Mansion. These doors now are at the entrance to the Sarasota Art Museum in Florida. He also purchased many of the paintings that were in the great Astor ballroom and complete fittings of several rooms, two of which are re-installed in Museum.

   The temple's first ceremony was in September 1929, a few short weeks before the stock market crash. The Emanu-El congregation was the first Reform congregation established in New York City . It was founded in 1845 by 33 German Jews,  who assembled for in a rented hall in Lower East Side.

   In the end of XIX the mixed seating was adopted, allowing families to sit together, instead of segregating the sexes on opposite sides of a hall. The congregation also eliminated mandatory head-coverings for men. Michael Bloomberg and Eliot Spitzer are the members of the congregation. There is in-house small museum where religious relics, some dating back to the sixteenth-century are kept. Temple Emanu-El also hosts lectures, films, music, symposiums, and other events.

Tudor City - the urban utopia in the center of Manhattan

If you go along East 42 in Midtown, Manhattan  up to the east  end you can see a huge sign  on the top of the building  ”Tudor City”. This city within the city is the first residential skyscraper complex in the world built by one of the largest developers in New York   Fred F. French.

French wanted to create an apartment complex with a suburban ambiance and a spirit of community, the urban Utopia-- a "human residential enclave" that boasted "tulip gardens, small golf courses, and private parks."  He hoped to attract young people who would want to spend one to two nights in the city, but he also wanted to have large apartments for families.

In 1925 Fred F French   started construction of what he called “The largest project in Midtown.”  The project was named Tudor City.   In order to get money for this development French invented the “French Plan”, which allowed citizens to buy stock in his plan, receive dividends and share in the profits.
The location for the construction was selected with great foresight.  It was very close to the newly built Grand Central Terminal and commercial hub.  French secretly  bought  up the old tenement buildings that then occupied the cliff  First Avenue between E 41st and E 43rd Streets. 

 Most of the land was purchased before the former owners realized they could have a better price.

French put his complex on a Prospect Hill cliff with the three main towers  facing west, turning it back to the river.  At the time, the waterfront along the East River had meat packing houses, coal-burning Con Edison plant, glue factory, slaughterhouses and barge landings.

Tudor City was considered  "the real estate investment of the future" and the largest housing project in Manhattan to date. The architecture of Tudor City is a mix of early 16th Century Tudor and late 16th Century Elizabethan style.  Tudor style was a very popular style for suburban housing at that time.

  Complex consisted of 12 apartment buildings with more than 3000 apartments and 600 hotel rooms.  At that time average rent was $500 per room per year.
Community had a drugstore, a laundry, a grocery store, a liquor store, restaurant, flower shop, and even a kindergarten. Many of these amenities were in the same location as their successors today. There were four beautiful gardens with arbors and gazebos, fountains and tree-shaded walks on both sides of 42d. There was   even a 18 hole miniature golf course with lighting for evening play.
There was a local newspaper “Tudor City View” published by residents from 1941-1968.  There was also theater workshop, the camera club, the art league, the language club, the chorale at that time.
After the Second World war  John D. Rockefeller bought the land near the rover to build United Nations building.  A tunnel that channeled 42nd Street traffic beneath Tudor City to First Avenue was replaced by the bridge and the steps on either side of 42nd Street were created to provide pedestrian access to Tudor City.  Tennis courts in 1954 were demolished to free the space for new Tudor Gardens.

French died in 1936 but the firm he founded continued to own and manage the properties until 1972, when the Helmsley-Spear company bought Tudor City.   Mr. Helmsley's planned to erect several high-rise buildings on the site of the two parks. On a sunny Sunday morning on memorial weekend in 1986 a bulldozer appeared near the park.   An early riser noticed it coming and sounded the alarm. People poured into the street and blocked the bulldozer from entering the parks. After a prolonged battle, the community won.
In 1988, The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Tudor City a Historic District. Tudor City Greens, Inc. was formed in January 1987 to take care of the parks.  Each summer for the last five years, one of the parks has hosted a concert series. 

Tudor City now is a home to over 5000 residents  and you can be one of them – just buy one of the apartments - the small studio or one  bedroom. The price is about $1000 per sq. feet.   Or you can rent a small studio with the Murphy bed for less the 2K - renters make up 60 percent of residents at 45 Tudor City Place, or Prospect Tower, the building with the “Tudor City” sign on its roof.

High Line Park, Part 2

High Line Park, Part 1
The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan's West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and runs for 15 blocks from  Gansevoort Street, three blocks below West 14th Street    up to 30th Street.  Park is open daily, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM and has multiple access points almost every two blocks, but only one restroom station  at the 16th Street access point. I wrote about the history of High line in the first part of my story.

     The park does not contain any recreational facilities and does not permit biking and rollerblading and dogs are not allowed.  Park is place for relaxation and meditation and provides visitors with panoramic views of NYC,  the Hudson River, and the New Jersey waterfront. Commuters  and morning joggers use High Line as a shortcut without traffic lights.

   You can relax  on the grass  to escape from the heat at summer.  A little patch of green in the middle of so much brick, concrete  and steel can be very soothing.  There is a sundeck  at 14th Street and  a  shallow skim of water that bubbles up over a section of the pathway  and you can put off  you shoes  and tiptoe through the cool water- it is really priceless on a hot summer day!
   There are many individual benches and nooks scattered about. There are nice  beach benches you can use to lounge. There's also two small theater like seating areas where you   can have a meal or just  do people watching.  

     The wood used on the High Line was harvested from a managed forest and has  life-span of up to 100 years. The High Line's landscape uses the same technology as a green roof. Plantings, mostly native  and    produced by local growers, create shade, oxygen, and habitat for insects and birds. Many of the 1930s railroad tracks are still in their original locations, integrated into the planting beds.

   The southern section between Gansevoort and West 12th Streets is more heavily planted than the rest of the park.  In 2013 High Line Art announced Busted, the HIGH LINE COMMISSION that includes figurative sculptures, celebratory portraits, and c monuments installed on the High Line.

The public is invited to participate in an open poll and vote online for a person who in their opinion should be commemorated in a monument to be installed on the High Line. 
     There are a lot of food vendors on the High Line. The earliest  to open at 9AM is  BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE at West 15. There is a full service seasonal open air café TERROIR AT THE PORCH,  also as West 15 . The cafe is open up till 9PM.
     Every Tuesday  from  6:30pm to 7:30pm between Tuesday, May 7 and Tuesday, September 24 there is a free High Line tour.  The tour starts   on the High Line at West 14th Street .

The only one modern building that was raised over and above the   park is Standard Hotel. The hotel was designed by Todd Schliemann and looks like an open book.

High Line lifts NYC residential property values. Between 2003 and 2011, nearby residential property values grew 103%, according to The New York Times.   
Blackhouse, a New York basedrel estate group  announced  this June  a plan to build Soori HighLine condo near High Line with  27 ultra-luxury apartments with interior pools, a Japanese restaurant and lobby bar. 

     Zaha Hadid, a famous Iraqi-British architect,  has a plan to build  an 11-story, luxury apartment with 37 units block near the second section of the High Line in Chelsea, at 520 West 28th Street. It will be her first project in New York.  In February 2013 Zaha  was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4.
     Inspired by  New York's success with its High Line park, Philadelphia plan  to redevelop an abandoned viaduct into an elevated urban park.  Chicago has a $91 million project  to convert BloomingdaleTrail into the public park.
     Other countries already have or plan to have public parks similar to New York High Line.  I wrote in my previous post that Promenade Plantée in Paris, France was a model for New York High Line Park.
     London will have its’ own version, “Missing Link”,  in 2017. Two London architecture firms won a competition to design a landscaped walkway  south of the River Thames, that will link new and existing galleries, public works of art and an open-air auditorium.  Last year Joshua David and Robert Hammond, the co-founders of the New York High Line, gave  a talk at the Garden Museum on designing urban green spaces in London.

      New York City already has the High Line, but another project is making headway: The Delancey Underground or “Low Line”. The Low line, which currently exists as a former trolley terminal below Delancey Street will be  transformed into the city's (and world's) first subterranean park.  The former Williamsburg Trolley Terminal was opened in 1903, as a depot for streetcars ferrying passengers between Williamsburg ( Brooklyn)  and the Lower East Side.  It was in service until 1948 when streetcar service was discontinued, and has not been used ever since.