Some may be calling it the world’s most expensive subway station (costing nearly $4 billion), but residents and visitors alike will be enjoying this soaring monument to the near-3,000 people who lost their lives on 9/11. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub’s main corridor, or the Oculus as it’s being called, opened today, and critics of the public-funded mess have nearly forgotten why they were so upset with the project after after feasting their eyes on the station. Connecting the New Jersey PATH trains to the NYC Subway System, the Santiago Calatrava–designed hub is meant to be a modern-day complement to New York’s world-famous Grand Central Station.
The New York Times, who called it a “cathedral of public space,” describes the hubs impression on commuters:
Curved, steel-ribbed walls rise 160 feet like a pair of immense clamshells toward a ribbon of glass that is the giant hall’s skylight. I visited the other morning, when sun spilled through windows between the ribs, dancing with the dust motes, splintering into fingered beams. It poured through the skylight, whose glass panes can slide open. I could imagine some poetic-minded, devil-may-care soul at the Port Authority allowing a shimmering scrim of snowflakes to waft down into the hall and dissolve on the vast white marble floor.
Later this year retail stores will be moving in, and the Port Authority is hoping that by renting the space (including for events) and bringing more tourists and New Yorkers Downtown, the project will pay for itself.
Watch a video from the Financial Times after the jump…