The Real Deal New York

Port Authority brass hold opening ceremony for Oculus

Officials originally planned not to celebrate long-delayed transport hub

May 27, 2016 09:45AM

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The World Trade Center Transportation Hub (inset: John Degnan)

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials brushed off widespread criticism of the $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub, finally throwing a party to celebrate its opening.

Officials held a ceremony Thursday afternoon to mark the completion of the long-delayed, comically over-budget public project. The party featured bagpipes, architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the hub, and speeches from top Port Authority brass, Politico reported.

“Expensive?” asked agency chairman John Degnan. “Yes. Controversial? Perhaps. But hasn’t that been true in the history of art always? I think so.”

The 365,000-square-foot white, metal, turkey skeleton-like structure was proposed back in 2004. It ultimately cost twice its original $2 billion budget. Pat Foye, a high ranking Port Authority official, previously called it “a symbol of excess.”

Nonetheless, RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler, also a Port Authority vice chairman, predicted an august legacy for the hub, comparing it to iconic public works from the city’s past.

“Coincidentally, this past week was the 133rd year anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said, according to Politico, “another controversial, expensive project that took 14 years to build and then became the economic engine of our region. And I would predict that this transportation hub will do the same for lower Manhattan.” [Politico]Ariel Stulberg

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