Get ready, Manhattan shoppers and downtown commuters. After years of planning and work, your newest destination is open for business.
More than 100 retail stores, ranging from the Apple Store to Banana Republic and from Eataly to Fossil, will officially begin welcoming customers at the 350,000 square-foot World Trade Center shopping mall at the Oculus on Tuesday.
Residents and visitors alike are ready for the latest big addition to a flourishing downtown commercial scene.
“Anything that keeps improving the incorporation of the World Trade Center site into the community is welcomed,” said Catherine McVay-Hughes, former chair Manhattan Community Board 1 and longtime Downtown Manhattan resident.
The mall, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, is designed for maximum ease of use for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who pass through the transit hub every day.
The area’s population has doubled since 2001, with nearly 60,000 residents, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York. There are 300,000 employees who work in the area daily and 17 million visitors annually.
That increase has spurred a commercial rebirth, from new mom-and-pops to big box stores like the Bed Bath & Beyond on Greenwich Street, and the upscale Brookfield Place shopping center.
Alliance president Jessica Lappin called the Westfield Corp.-operated mall, officially the Westfield World Trade Center, the pinnacle of the process and expects it to be a major attraction.
“It both complements and enhances what’s here, and we hope that it helps increase business traffic for everyone,” she said in a statement.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation agreed that the mall’s opening represents a landmark moment for the neighborhood.
“The grand opening of the Oculus retail mall is an important step forward as the City continues to build toward a 24/7 neighborhood in which New Yorkers can live, work and play,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Báez.
Of course, there are lots of shopping destinations across the city. They don’t have the benefit of the controversial $4 billion Oculus itself, though, with the distinct rib-like design by architect Santiago Calatrava.
“You can’t ignore that thing. It grabs your attention real easily,” said Luis Perdomo, 18, of the Lower East Side. “It’s good for business.”
With all of the extra attractions (including live performances like a secret concert on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the mall), however, some expressed worries about the addition of even more foot traffic on the overloaded downtown streets.
“The point is to draw people in, but with that comes congestion,” said Scott Miller, 27, of Westbury, who works in the area.
The Port Authority will mitigate that traffic when it opens the Oculus’s street level entrances at Greenwich and Church streets for the first time, allowing commuters to have more access to the 11 subway lines and PATH trains at the Fulton Center and World Trade Center hubs.
“Residents can have a seamless transition now,” McVay-Hughes said.
Here are some of the stores at the Oculus mall:
Apple Store: Main Level
Eataly: Level 3
Freedom Wine Cellar: Street Level
Lacoste: Main Level
M.A.C. Cosmetics: Main Level
Pandora: Main Level
Pulia: Balcony Level
Samsonite: Main Level
Shake Shack: Level 2
Victoria’s Secret: Main Level