of Dust and Debris, a New Jewel Rises, Fulton Center, a Subway Complex,
Reopens in Lower Manhattan,
" NY Times, Vivian Yee
Image: "The platform level of the Fulton Center a day before the restored transportation hub
opens to the public.
Damon Winter/The New York Times"
glass-and-steel prism called Fulton Center
began life as a
public-transit labyrinth, a spaghetti-bowl tangle of dimly-lit
corridors, narrow switchbacks and baffling signage cobbled together out
of five subway stations built in the early 1900s.
century later, and more than a decade after
part of the Lower Manhattan
subway complex was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,
the nine subway lines that converge on Fulton Street and Broadway have
been knit together anew. New Yorkers, accustomed to thinking of transit
hubs like Penn Station and Times Square as places to suffer through,
will find on Monday morning a kind of Crystal Palace, crowned by a dome
that funnels daylight two stories below ground.
with ballooning budgets and repeated delays, Fulton Center was the kind
of megaproject designed to inspire hyperbole, and it did: “Forget the
Grand Central clock,” said Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president,
at Fulton Center’s opening on Sunday afternoon. “They’re going to come
and the other politicians and transit officials who spoke at the
opening reminded the crowd of the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when
dust and debris entombed the surrounding streets. As daylight streamed
through the oculus’s “Sky-Reflector Net,” the speakers all came to the
same point, most succinctly summarized by Senator Charles E. Schumer of
“This station,” he said, “is a metaphor for a revitalized downtown.”
Fulton Street, the scaffolding and cranes that chopped up lower
Manhattan have come down. The National September 11 Memorial Museum
opened in May. The skyscraper at 1 World Trade Center
welcomed its first tenants last week. Up to 300,000 passengers a day are expected to pass through Fulton Center.
like the others, Fulton Center was never intended simply to restore:
with retailers like Tom Ford claiming space in the World Trade Center
and a food court drawing buzz in nearby Brookfield Place, officials
envision the new building as downtown’s answer to Grand Central Terminal
classical guitarist serenaded the opening-event guests. Burberry ads
flashed across large screens....
Metropolitan Transit Authority’s architects and construction workers
had to resolve century-old rivalries among the nine subway lines around
Fulton Street, the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z and R. Their stations
originally belonged to three competing subway companies.
was a nightmare, and you never knew what direction you were headed,”
recalled Michael Horodniceanu, the transit authority’s president of
capital construction. Now, he said, “We expect it to become the new
paradigm for stations.”
builders smoothed out connections, diminishing the bobbing-and-weaving
that had made navigation at Fulton Center an ordeal. Now, among other
changes, the A and C lines run a few flights of stairs down from the 4
and the 5. Passengers can reach the 4 and 5 trains from any point along
the platform, rather than from the three doors they squeezed through
before. And the entire complex is accessible to the disabled.
threaded a 350-foot-long pedestrian passageway under Dey Street to link
Fulton Center with the R and, sometime next year, the World Trade
Center PATH train complex, designed as a companion hub. Once the World
Trade Center’s complex opens and the Cortlandt Street station is
rebuilt, passengers will also find the E and 1 lines through the
the end of the new passageway, they brought back something old: ceramic
tile art by Margie Hughto that was originally installed at the
Cortlandt Street R station in 1997.
They encircled the central hub with shops and kiosks.
door, they preserved and built a new foundation for the historic Corbin
Building, which will hold more than 36,000 square feet of office space.
scale of the project was such that the transit authority felt the need
to distribute a fact sheet.
There are, for instance, 1,950 fire alarms
in the building, which used 60,000 square feet of granite.
More than 50
screens carry maps and service updates, digital art and advertisements,
including one for a Burberry watch that displays the correct time when
it appears onscreen.
went unmentioned in the fact sheet were the major setbacks along the
way: cost overruns, delays and a corresponding downgrade in ambitions,
problems that have plagued other transit authority projects in recent
years. The dome was scaled back, a planned direct connection between the
R and the E lines scuttled. What was supposed to open in 2007 at a cost
of $750 million took seven more years and totaled $1.4 billion.
it was perhaps understandable that a handful of impatient passengers
tried to cut into the station on their way from the A train to the 4 on
Mr. Horodniceanu beamed. “Tell them to come back at 5 a.m.,” he called."