World Trade Center PATH Hub, Oculus, Finally Makes Grand Public Opening
News| | By Margo Gothelf
After more than a decade of construction, billions of dollars, and a ton of planning, the first phase of the World Trade Center’s PATH station will open to the public Thursday, March 3.
The grand opening of the station, called Oculus, will open without any spectacles of a ribbon cutting ceremony or VIPs. The station has been a critical topic of discussion with many who think it represents a symbol of “government waste.”
“The public is going to be able to decide for themselves, very soon,” Catherine McVay-Hughes, the chair of Manhattan’s Community Board 1 shared with amNewYork.
Thursday morning commuters will be able to experience the 56,000 square foot space for themselves. Highlights of the structure include a glass retractable skyline that rises 96 feet in the air. The structure is also “flanked by 150 white ‘ribs’ that form the wings of the structure and rise 168 feet in the air.”
The projects main architect, Santiago Calatrava, explained he wanted the structure the honor those who had lost their lives during 9/11.
“It is a sign of reconstruction, recovery and even peace,” Calatrava shared.
During the grand opening, only about 50% of the space will be open. In the next few weeks, the rest of the station will open including the eastern and northern entrances and the Day Street connector to 11 subway lines. It will also feature the Westfield World Trade Center, a retail space that expects to open later this year.
“It really is a spectacular space and I think what is critical about this is there needs to be a re-engagement. We have to bring back an emphasis on public space and the systems that serve us,” shared Sanjive Vaidya, the chair of the department of architectural technology at New York City College of Technology.
Although the hub will service thousands of people everyday, it wasn’t an easy task to complete. The project was delayed six years and was originally only supposed to cost $2 billion, instead of the final $4 billion. Many argued that the money could have been used elsewhere helping other sectors of the Port Authority.
“I believe that they had the plans early on and should have been able to recognize the extravagant costs of it and trimmed it down,” shared Sarah Kaufman, the assistant director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation.
Steven Plate, the agency’s chief of major capital projects explained the hub would pay for itself in seven years time.
“There have been a lot of changes over 15 years,” Plate said. “As [the project] evolved we became more and more informed.”