Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Train Station Rises

I am head over heels in love .  The object of my affections?  The new WTC Transportation Hub at Ground Zero.   It's over budget and we are long past it's original opening date but everything we love has a flaw or two.  Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the station is meant to evoke a bird taking flight.  So far, it's been the object of much ridicule - mainly because of the $4 billion price tag which NY Magazine (A Glorious Boondoggle Will the New WTC Train Station Permanently Taint Santiago Calatrava's Career) reports is double the inflation-adjusted price of Grand Central.

At one time NYC had two great train stations but we demolished Penn Station in favor of the monstrosity that is Madison Square Garden.  Penn Station (!the BUSIEST transit hub in the United States!) these days is something to be endured - a way station to be transited as quickly as possible on the way to the grand vistas of NYC.  Someday, we may get a new annex to Penn Station as progress is made on turning the nearly empty James Farley Post Office into a skylit home for AMTRAK but that $1 billion project is moving at a snail's pace.

To my mind, we are on the cusp of having two great train stations again.  I'm looking forward to experiencing Calatrava's vision from the inside.  In the meantime,  From the Memorial, the new hub is a Phoenix rising out of the ashes of a horrible day.  Its a perfect juxtaposition of our collective memories and our hope for the future.

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