|The Oculus. Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintano|
The tragic and horrifying day of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten by anyone old enough to form memories on that day, and especially for New Yorkers and anyone who happened to have been in New York on that fateful, terrible day.
Over 16 years have passed, and unbelievably, there is already a new generation arising that was not born when 9-11 occurred. But there are plenty of ways New York and its inhabitants are commemorating the earth-shattering event, and many of them involve beauty, innovation, and a certain amount of wonder.
If you haven’t seen “The Oculus” it's time to go and be transported, literally and figuratively. Transported literally since The Oculus is the centerpiece of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub. This site brings together the PATH train from New Jersey with 11 MTA subway lines.
Figuratively because The Oculus looks and feels like a modern-day cathedral, begging visitors to look up and imagine a better world. There are no columns to block the view, which is an enormous expanse reaching two stories below ground. Daylight enters the space unimpeded, and a skylight is opened on certain sunny days throughout the year, including the annual commemoration of September 11.
The Oculus was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is meant to resemble, from the outside, a dove in flight. Over 12 years in the making, the transit hub opened on May 4, 2016 at a cost of almost $4 billion in public money.
Despite the controversy over some aspects of the aesthetic appeal of The Oculus, it is still worth a visit. There is also ample shopping at the hub: over 100 stores in 365,000-square-feet. Whereas the previous shopping center that occupied the area before September 11, 2001 was primarily for daytime shoppers, the new mall has a busy nightlife as well.