Biggest NYC subway hub opens |

Biggest NYC subway hub opens

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — “We did it!”

The words of the lead engineer on the new Fulton Center punctuated more than a decade of work Sunday to establish the primary transit link between the rebuilt World Trade Center and the rest of the city.

Nine subway lines converge in the $1.4 billion, 180,000-square-foot complex that will serve up to 300,000 riders a day and that includes retail and office space.

“Welcome to the station of the 21st century,” said engineer Michael Horodniceanu, who led the project as president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Construction.

He spoke to top transit and political officials at the opening of the city’s biggest subway hub that merges century-old stations with the latest digital technology and design.

The facility was scheduled to open to the public at 5 a.m. Monday.

Hundreds of thousands will enter what officials called Lower Manhattan’s “next great public space.” Its soaring street-level atrium is encased in a glass-and-steel shell, with luminous interior panels leading to a skylight designers call the “oculus” — Latin for eye.

Livening up the climate-controlled, energy-saving spaces are various avant-garde artworks.

Construction of this vital subway hub was fraught with challenges. The five underground subway stations partly damaged on Sept. 11, 2001, were closed for months. Then, in 2012, flood waters roared into the tunnels, crippling service.

Now, just feet from the revitalized trade center, the complex is part of a “new hot area,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“It shows you how New York City can always reinvent itself and get better,” said Schumer, remembering the gloomy maze of the old Fulton stop where “you would have to rush through those narrow corridors weaving through passengers; everyone is going in every direction, where you could knock someone over or they’d knock you over.”

The federal government funded 90 percent of the $1.4 billion for the Fulton Center and the state the rest — about $850 million from a special congressional appropriation after 9/11.

The old stations that were refurbished and linked serve the 2, 3, 4, 5 subway lines, plus the A, C, J, Z and R — used by more than 80 percent of workers commuting to Lower Manhattan.

The 27 entrances to the facility are all handicap-accessible.

A 350-foot tunnel links the Fulton Center to the World Trade Center’s Santiago Calatrava-designed transit facility under construction and the PATH commuter train to New Jersey. That tunnel will open sometime next year.

The Fulton project includes the restoration of an early high-rise — the 125-year-old Corbin Building with a sumptuous, nine-story tower. Its original stone foundation is exposed over a set of Fulton escalators.

The historic building in the new setting brings the neighborhood full circle, to the 19th century “when this was the center of New York City,” Horodniceanu said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.