New Jersey commuters on Thursday will get to grace the newest PATH platform to open in the World Trade Center transportation hub designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
On Wednesday, crews were still adding coats of white paint and Windexing glass to get the platform ready for 50,000 daily riders.
At the center is the Oculus, which from the outside looks like the spine peeled out of a fish. Below, with half of the glass installed, light shines through its ribs, the longest one reaching 202 feet in the sky.
“It’s awesome and I mean that in the actual sense of the word ‘awesome.’ It induces awe,” said Jessica Lappin, director of the Downtown Alliance.
PATH riders can get a view of the Oculus in the coming weeks when the temporary PATH station that went up after the 9/11 attacks gets dismantled.
The platform is the third part of the Port Authority’s WTC hub that sprawls beneath the 16-acre site where the Twin Towers once stood.
It has earned the reputation of the world’s most expensive train station, over budget at $3.9 billion.
For that price tag, transit riders and visitors get a facility decked out in white marble that is spacious, without any corners — all cured and sleek. It is well lit and bright, in stark contrast to the city subway system’s dank stations nearby.
The Oculus alone contains 12,500 tons of steel.
The opening marks the second of four permanent PATH platforms slated for the transportation hub.
At Platform A for the Hoboken PATH, which has been open for over a year, Sidney Lester, an attorney from New Milford, New Jersey, said he was a fan of the white marble station.
“The ingress and egress has been horrible,” he said. “I’m glad to see what’s happening.” "As far as the design, I think it’s beautiful,” he added.
Commuter Alex Wulwick Wulwick of River Edge, panned the design.
“It’s not my style of architecture. It’s stark and soulless. I wouldn’t have chosen the white marble,” he said, pointing out that it is constantly swept.
Still, he said it’s better than the temporary station he had used.
“It’s clearly an improvement only because it’s clean and bright.”
Veronica Vanterpool, director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said the WTC hub has gotten bad publicity for being $2 billion over budget and overdue. “It’s just an unfortunate example of the growing cost and delays associated with some of the big mega projects in our region,” she said. “That has saddled this new gleaming transit infrastructure project we’re going to be enjoying relatively soon.”