Bird-like transit hub opens The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, center, overlooks the September 11 Memorial north reflecting pool in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Bird-like transit hub opens
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The soaring, white transportation hub at the World Trade Center in New York City was designed to evoke a bird in flight. But it is hatching under a cloud.
 
There will be no ribbon-cutting celebration when the train station's grand hall opens. It is called Oculus. That is because the head of the agency that controls the hub has criticized it. He called it a "symbol of excess."  The hub's runaway costs are approaching $4 billion.
 
It's roughly the same price as the nation's tallest skyscraper. That building is next door. It is the 104-story One World Trade Center.
 
"The cost of projects, big and small, matters. A lot," said Patrick Foye in a statement. He is executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "Whether due to unforeseen conditions, errors or misconduct, cost overruns consume precious resources. And undermine public confidence."
 
Officials had indicated that there would be no ceremony at all. But they said the transit facility would partially open March 3. A ceremony will be held when the hub becomes "fully operational." That's expected later this spring.
 
The hub includes a commuter rail station, retail shops and connections to several subway lines. The hub appears destined to take its place among the city's most talked-about landmarks.
 
The hub is intended to serve partly as a monument to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. It was designed by a Spanish-born architect. His name is Santiago Calatrava. His idea is to convey the feeling of a bird released into the air. Its steel wings are poised for takeoff. Some critics have compared it to a dinosaur skeleton. Or even an armadillo.
 
Adjacent skyscrapers can be seen through the bird's curved white ribs. They enclose a vaulted, cathedral-like space.
 
"It is a monument to life. It is a monument of faith in this city. And a monument dedicated to the people," Calatrava said during a recent tour.
 
The station is replacing one that served PATH trains to and from New Jersey. It was destroyed along with the twin towers in 2001. Though some parts of the hub are still under construction, PATH trains will ultimately be connected to 11 New York City subway lines. The trains also will connect to ferries. Shops and restaurants scheduled to open this summer will give tourists and commuters a reason to linger.
 
"I think of the person who comes to New York commuting . . . and has to go to work maybe in a cellar and do a very simple work," Calatrava said. "In this minute that I am here, I can at least enjoy a place in which somebody is saying, 'You are an important guy.'"
 
Steve Plate is the chief of major capital projects for the Port Authority. He called the hub "the eighth wonder of the world." And he described how the building "is aligned precisely to allow the sun to come in exactly in that opening on Sept. 11 at 10:28." That is when the second tower fell. So the hub will capture that light to remember that moment.
 
Calatrava's design for the transportation hub was announced in 2004. It was budgeted to cost $2 billion. At the time, New York Gov. George Pataki said it would be finished by 2009.
 
The Port Authority puts the current cost at $3.9 billion. That's because of overruns and delays. They have been blamed on factors including the architect's exacting demands and the complexity of building the hub while the Sept. 11 museum and new office towers were also under construction.
 
In a marvel of engineering, the new complex was built around, beneath and above an existing, still-operating subway line. That line is the No. 1 train. It now passes through the new hub on a 200-foot-long bridge. It has no support columns. The decision to keep the subway line intact was partly responsible for the huge cost.
 
Calatrava, 64, is best known for train stations in European cities, including Lisbon and Zurich. He has complained of being unfairly blamed for cost overruns at the trade center. He told The Wall Street Journal last May, "I have been treated like a dog."
 
The Port Authority's Plate defended the building's costs.
 
"We had an obligation to do something very special," he said. "We did it very wisely, very prudently, very intensely to make sure we got the best product, the best quality and the most historic structure. We feel very strongly that the mission has been accomplished."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why doesn't everyone feel the same way about the new transit hub?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (11)
  • levenicel-Orv
    3/08/2016 - 03:46 p.m.

    wow they made a building look like a bird well that's something you don't see everyday I would come to see something like that to to be honest what would they make next

  • william1108-yyca
    3/08/2016 - 08:21 p.m.

    They don't because some people don't like it because it is taking up to much space and also some people like it because they think that it is very cool and also looks cool. SO that is how people feel about the new hub. Some people feel like it should be gone and some people feel it should stay.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/08/2016 - 08:34 p.m.

    The bird transit hub might have gotten some people to be getting the bird transit hub which people would be helping to build after some years after the Sept. 11 attack of the twin towers on the same place where the second tower fell. The people might have wanted to get people to be not helping out to be building the bird transit because people don't really like the bird transit hub. The people that work for the hub might have wanted to get people to be helping with the project which people would want to get more people to be helping out with the project transit hub. People might have wanted to get people to be motivated with the project that the people are working on to be building in honor of the bird being released from the edge of the second twin tower memorial.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why doesn't everyone feel the same way about the new transit hub?
    Answer: Everyone doesn't really remember about the attack of Sept. 11 of the twin towers which people might have forgotten after some years later.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    3/09/2016 - 11:52 a.m.

    Not everybody likes this idea because it costed way too much to build and it represented indulgence to some. Plus, it takes away from the World Trade Center and many people don't like that.

  • daytonb-3-bar
    3/09/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

    Not everyone feels the same way about the new transit hub because it was very costly. The transit hub costs about as much as the tallest building in the country... Just for a subway station! I can see how people would be angered at the cost but I believe the reason it is there seems to be what some critics are overlooking. I thought it was really cool how at exactly September 11 10:28 light will shine directly on the transit hub. I think it is a beautiful memorial to all the people that lost their lives on that tragic day.

  • carlosp-kut
    3/10/2016 - 12:15 p.m.

    I like the new hub!!! Especially for the fact that it was made in memory of the 9/11 attacks. I also liked the idea that the sun glowed in in the time when the second tower collapses, I think that it was at 10:28? or around that time.

  • ethang-1-bar
    3/10/2016 - 07:45 p.m.

    Everyone doesn't feel the same way about the transit hub because some people feel its very important to New York's spirit and identity as a great city.Other people think it's just a waste of money and labor for they already have enough train stations as it is in New York.I feel that this article is very important to show the many different perspectives from different people.

  • stellas-6-bar
    3/11/2016 - 04:01 p.m.

    Everyone doesn't feel the same way about the new transit hub because it is very expensive. The transit hub is as expensive as the biggest building in the United States. This article is interesting because the biggest building in the country must be expensive.

  • adriells-ver
    3/18/2016 - 09:18 a.m.

    This story right here talks about when they are going to open the bird in New York City it looks very nice and the color of it is white

  • sierrab-ste
    3/31/2016 - 01:19 p.m.

    It's definitely something different. I would be willing to go and check it out.

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