With the opening last Thursday of the World Trade Center Concourse, a vital underground passageway closed since 9/11 that connects the Calatrava-designed WTC transit hub to the Winter Garden and the Hudson River, commuters will find it easier and more pleasant to get around this pedestrian-thick area of Lower Manhattan.
The gleaming 600ft-long-marble corridor is the first piece of the nearly $4bn transit hub to complete with the full project expected to open in 2015. When completed the multimodal transit hub will connect tens of thousands of visitors and commuters to the PATH rail system, ferry service, the New York City subway lines and the newly completed Fulton Street Transit Center.
The sneak peak last week bodes well for those critical of the massive cost overruns for the project as it brings style and elegance to the arrival and departure experience at this most important site. And who knows, it may even rival the old Penn Station and it stands a good chance to at least stand up to the experience of Grand Central Terminal with its light filled cavernous spaces. The concourse, when fully finished, will house stores and restaurants on two levels. The Port Authority is partnering with Westfield Group to develop and lease more than 350,000 sq ft of space.
As commuters scurried through the temporary PATH station Thursday, yards away workers continued hammering away at the 800,000 sq ft transit hub. Optimism, energy and excitement were palpable in the air. “To use a football analogy, we feel like we are on the 20 yard line and we’re about to punt,” Steven Plate, WTC Construction Director said.