World Trade Center Transportation Hub Opens

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The $4 billion World Trade Center transportation hub, located in lower Manhattan, will provide service for 11 subways and PATH trains.

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
A sky view of the World Center transportation hub, located in lower Manhattan.
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The soaring, white transportation hub at the World Trade Center was designed to evoke a bird in flight. There is no ribbon cutting for this gargantuan transportation and 911 memorial, because the head of the bistate agency that controls the hub has blasted it as a "symbol of excess," with runaway costs approaching $4 billion.
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Brian Thompson
Adjacent skyscrapers can be seen through the bird's curved white ribs, which enclose a vaulted, cathedral-like space. Steve Plate, the chief of major capital projects for the Port Authority, called the hub "the eighth wonder of the world" and described how the building "is aligned precisely to allow the sun to come in exactly in that opening on Sept. 11 at 10:28, when the last tower fell, to capture that light and remember that moment."
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The station is replacing one that served PATH trains to and from New Jersey and that was destroyed along with the twin towers in 2001. Intended to serve partly as a monument to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, the hub was designed by Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava.
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
When Calatrava's design for the transportation hub was announced in 2004, it was budgeted at $2 billion, and then-New York Gov. George Pataki said it would be finished by 2009.
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AP
The Port Authority puts the current cost at $3.9 billion because of overruns and delays blamed on factors including the architect's exacting demands and the complexity of building the hub while the Sept. 11 museum and new office towers were also under construction.
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
In a marvel of engineering, the new complex was built around, beneath and above an existing, still-operating subway line. The No. 1 train now passes through the new hub on a 200-foot-long bridge that lacks any support columns. The decision to keep the subway line intact was partly responsible for the huge cost.
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AP
Though some parts of the hub are still under construction, PATH trains will ultimately be connected to 11 New York City subway lines, as well as ferries. Shops and restaurants scheduled to open this summer will give tourists and commuters a reason to linger.
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AP
The hub, which includes a commuter rail station, retail shops and connections to several subway lines, appears destined to take its place among the city's most talked-about landmarks.
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AP
"I think of the person who comes to New York commuting, lives in a very modest apartment somewhere in New Jersey, comes here and has to go to work maybe in a cellar and do a very simple work," said the architect Calatrava . "In this minute that I am here, I can at least enjoy a place in which somebody is saying, 'You are an important guy.'"
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
"It is a monument to life, it is a monument of faith in this city and a monument dedicated to the people," Calatrava said. The hub was designed to convey the feeling of a bird released into the air, with steel wings poised for takeoff."
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