Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks destroyed the buildings above it, a New York subway station that carried passengers to the World Trade Center has re-opened. The long-awaited reopening of the station, now officially called the WTC Cortlandt station, is a milestone for the city’s infrastructure, but also speaks to the vast complexity of rebuilding a place like lower Manhattan.
The new WTC Cortlandt station on the 1 line is now open to the public. It’s fully accessible, has fewer columns for easier customer flow, and is also air-tempered to keep you cooler on hot days. pic.twitter.com/A5DaiBb06w
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) September 8, 2018
“Remember, there was a lot of construction,” says Joe Lhota, chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), speaking to the New York Times. “These entranceways would have been in the middle of construction sites where there were cranes and all of that. Safety is one of the most important things that we deal with every single day here.”
As the World Trade Center fell on 9/11, it partially collapsed onto the Cortlandt Street subway station below. While the World Trade Center site was been rebuilt in the years following, including the $4 billion Oculus structure that serves as a new transportation hub, progress on Cortlandt station has stalled.
There were a number of holds on the project, including a turf war between the area’s various transportation factions. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey handed over control of Cortlandt Station back to the MTA in 2015 after finishing rebuilding on other structures in the area.
Now, Cortlandt has finally gotten its moment in the sun. The station has been rebuilt at a cost of a little more $158 million and now includes modern necessities like wheelchair accessibility, using fewer columns than the previous station to help make navigating the system easier. Amenities like Help Point kiosks will also be on each platform.
While the station will not provide a full shopping experience like the Oculus, it will come with a few aesthetic pleasures of its own. Chief among these is an installation by the artist Ann Hamilton named “Chorus.” Built with Italian and American marble, it features text from the Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“My inspiration really was the site, and the history of the site, and wanting to make something that is beautiful,” Hamilton told reporters, referring to the fact that in addition to being a site of tragedy, the Cortlandt site is home to some of the earliest iterations of subways in New York. The original station opened more than 100 years on July 1, 1918.
“And it actually allows people perhaps to pause for a moment and really feel a connection to this language, which really, I think, holds some of our highest aspirations,” she said. “I think when we see things that are beautiful, maybe our hearts fall open a little bit, and we are a little more generous.”
Source: New York Times
Previously published by: Popular Mechanics USA