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World Trade Center transit hub opens to heavy criticism

By Shawn Price   |   Updated March 4, 2016 at 11:04 AM
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NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- The World Trade Center transit hub, named Oculus, opened Thursday, years behind schedule and billions over budget with critics declaring it looks like a stegosaurus.

The nearly $4 billion creation of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is said to be modeled after a dove being released from a child's hands. Regardless of people's views, it is an eye catcher.

"It's nothing like I've ever seen before," Tim Soha, 42, of Mahwah, N.J., who works nearby at the Bank of New York, said of the hub's distinctive, spiky silhouette. "If they were going for ground-breaking, they can certainly check that off the list."

The hub, which also serves as a symbol of rebirth on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, will still be the 18th busiest subway stop in the city for nearly twice the cost of the original estimate and seven years late. But the architect and others think it will grow on New Yorkers, much like the Empire State Building did.

Not everyone agrees.

Jesse Keenan, research director at Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate.

"It came out to be about the same cost as the Freedom Tower," said Jesse Keenan, research director at Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate. "That in itself is a pretty remarkable comparison," Keenan said. The skyscraper is the singular replacement for the fallen twin towers. "I do find that to be excessive."

Architecture critic Michael Kimmelman offered some praise for the hub -- also known as the Oculus, but said the overall lesson "is a disaster for architecture and for cities."

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