Well the Oculus, sitting over NYC’s new transportation hub is now open and it is spectacularly beautiful. It is impossible not to thrill at the sight of those beautiful soaring panels on the outside and the huge expanse of the main hall.
Of course this building is meant to serve many purposes. It’s a transportation hub, that is it’s utilitarian purpose and it does that well. It is meant also be part memorial to the victims of 9/11 and it is does that well also.
It’s architect Santiago Calatrava has also said he was building it in the tradition of NYC’s other great transportation hub, Grand Central Terminal. Time will tell whether it settles in the hearts of New Yorkers in the way that endurng edifice has done because that kind of greatness happens over time
In the great 3rd video above there are interviews with the workers who built the Oculus and it is a stunning must watch. The pride they have in having worked on such an important building and having conquered so many logistical problems is wonderful. It gives us a direct glimpse of what we would hope has always been true of the work force who built all the grand NYC monuments, bridges and buildings. But sadly we know from the historical record many of those workers had to carry out their trades in appalling working conditions.
Currently there is a lot of huffing and puffing about how much it has cost $4b, but let’s be honest that is not going to be the basis on which it will eventually be judged. It will stand or fall on how well it works when it is fully functional, and how much New Yorkers come to love it, if they do not already do so.