World Trade Center transportation hub, dubbed Oculus, opens to public

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Lauren Glassberg reports from Lower Manhattan on the opening of the new World Trade Center transit hub.

The new World Trade Center transportation hub is officially open to the public, with New Yorkers and tourists alike getting their first look inside the so-called "Oculus."

One entrance to the station's cathedral-like pavilion opened to the public Thursday.

The station, which replaces one destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, was designed in 2004 by Santiago Calatrava and cost $3.9 billion. It was originally budgeted at $2 billion.

Ground wasn't broken on the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Shopping Center until 2010, and the construction took a decade.

Cost overruns have been blamed on the architect's demands and the logistical complexity of building it while the September 11 memorial and office towers were also under construction.

The hub will connect Port Authority Trans-Hudson trains to New Jersey with 11 New York City subway lines and ferry service.

People can enter through 4 World Trade or at Liberty Street, and a passage way leads to the Oculus. Or it can be accessed by those coming up from the PATH train. But there is still much that needs to open, including 75,000 square feet of food and retail, complete with an Apple Store, and additional ways in and out to accommodate all the anticipated foot traffic.

The hub is airy, white and peaceful with a skylight, and it is considered a way to honor those who died in the 9/11 attacks. The design has so far been met with mixed reviews.

Another entrance at Church Street that will provide a link to the subways is expected to open in two to three weeks, and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it will hold a ceremony this spring when all the entrances to the station are open.
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