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Oculus: Spaniard Inspiration (VALE!) brings $4 Billion Dollar Hub to WTC!

How do you accidentally run into what will eventually be one of the most unique structures in history?

By being an explorer in your own city and simply wandering.

I am talking about Oculus at the World Trade Center. It’s the new state of the art transportation hub that when completed, will serve 250,000 daily commuters and millions of annual visitors from around the world.

When I say accidentally, I mean it: After a very filling brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda (a MUST if you’re in the West Village and hungry for healthy, yet delicious eats), I decided I a long walk was in order, to help walk off those calories from brunch. It was a little chilly on this first day of Spring, so I set out to find a place I could get some steps in, while still staying warm. I have yet to fully explore Brookfield Place, so I began my trek downtown.

I recently got a new toy: A Canon Rebel camera, so I put it to use for the first time. I wandered through Tribeca discovering new parks and finding new places to run once the weather warms up, (Hudson River Park is so damn beautiful). And took some random pictures along the way.

Brookfield Place is a great. It’s got outdoor dining, a skating rink, beautiful views along the water and some pretty insane shopping. From Gucci, to Ferragamo, the place has it all. The food court is pretty impressive too. Sprinkles Cupcakes, Num Pang Sandwich Shop (the best pork cheek sandwich ever) & even a Blue Ribbon sushi, among many more.

After sometime checking out the mall, it was time to head home. As you exit Brookfield Place, to make your way to the train, I came across Oculus.

The beautiful Italian marble concourse leads PATH riders to the underground entrance to One World Trade Center. It also crosses underneath West Street, ending at Brookfield Place.

Intricate, massive & carefully designed don’t even come close to describing this hub!

At approximately 800,000 square feet, it will be the third largest transportation center in New York City, rivaling Grand Central Station in size.

While the design of Oculus is pretty unique (there is not ONE single pole holding it up)- it did look strangely familiar to me.

Then I realized it was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed Cuidad de las Artes y de las Ciencias, in Valencia, Spain, where I spent an entre summer studying abroad.

I actually have a picture standing in front of this place! But have NO idea where it is. 2004 was the very beginning of digital cameras and I can't find my online Valencia gallery. But, I was there- and it was beautiful!

The Science Museum (pictured above and below to the right) is a spatial tour de force, 104-meter wide and 241-meter long. Calatrava designed its is a longitudinal building, created from the modular development of transverse sections that repeat along the length of the site.

You can see here the similarities in the work:

Calatrava is a Spanish neofuturistic architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter. He started his career building bridges and railway stations, with designs that elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. He is responsible for popular works around the world such as Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona, Spain, the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto, Canada and then brought his talents to the US for the first time when he built the Milwaukee Art Museum.

He must be doing something right, but not everyone’s happy about it. In fact, rumor has it that his over the top demands are being blamed for escalated costs in building the hub. It was seven years behind schedule and ended up costing $4 billion, twice the original budget.

Um, talk about going “over budget”- well, the structure is truly reflective of the costs and maybe the delays. Looks like it was worth the wait, because it’s presence at such a monumental location, makes it known, this landmark represents so much of what was lost, yet overcome after 9/11.

And let’s talk about being connected! The WTC Transportation Hub's concourse will connect visitors to 11 different subway lines, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system, Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, the World Trade Center Memorial Site, WTC Towers 1, 2, 3, and 4, the World Financial Center and the Winter Garden. It will essentially be the most cohesive network of underground pedestrian connections in all of New York City.

If you look closely, once inside, and you are looking up, you can actually see One World Trade through the cielings.

This makes it a MUST SEE the next time you visit New York City.