After over a decade of delays, the transportation hub under New York City's World Trade Center is expected to re-open the first week of March, according to Port Authority officials. The hub, called The Oculus, was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and is meant to look like a bird in flight (and, in fact, features skylights that will open each September 11). The hub has been in the works since the early aughts, but its opening has been repeatedly delayed and far surpassed its original $2 billion budget in the process.
When the now $3.7 billion project opens, it will have the dubious distinction of being the most expensive train station ever built. It’s only fitting, though, as it sits underneath 1 World Trade Center, which is currently the most expensive building in the world.
Once the transportation hub is open, it should make traveling much easier for residents and visitors alike, by allowing for seamless connections from the New Jersey PATH station to 11 different subway lines, as well as the East River ferries. The Port Authority said that the shops and restaurants located in the new train station will open in phases starting in the spring. In a statement, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, "The Hub will be a vibrant transit center and tourist destination with an extensive transportation network in the revitalized Lower Manhattan.” That’s good news for anyone who wants to visit the World Trade Center Memorial or the viewing area on the top of 1 World Trade Center.
Travelers may be thrilled that The Oculus is finally opening, but architecture critics—professional and hobbyists alike—may be less so. The New York Times referred to the building’s design as a "kitsch stegosaurus," while the New York Post architecture critic called it “LOL-ugly.” New York Magazine, which merely called The Oculus a "glorious boondoggle,” noted that the site’s architect "expects the building—and its architect—to be vindicated once the public is able to experience it in full." In just a few weeks, the world will know if that prediction will come to pass.