The Oculus, NYC’s 3rd Largest Transportation Hub

The Oculus, the gleaming white World Trade Center Transportation Hub that is the centerpiece of the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, is striking for its futuristic design as well the contrast it draws to the structures that surround it. Designed by the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, at a cost of $4 million, the Oculus is approximately 800,000 square feet. From the outside, it resembles a bird with giant, outspread wings, ready to take off. The inside, looks to me, like the deck of an enormous space ship.

The Oculus, a bird

The Oculus
A bird?

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s website, when it opens fully later this year, 250,000 commuters will pass through its concourses connecting daily to 11 subway lines, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system, the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, the World Trade Center Memorial, Towers 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the World Trade Center, the World Financial Center and the Winter Garden. 

While we were there on Saturday, we saw just a fraction of that number. As they walked through, many turned and snapped photos of the cavernous white space.

The Oculus, interior

Some lay on their backs on the marble floor to photograph the ‘eye’ and the slice of the World Trade Center building that peeks through. 

The Oculus, leaves

As the light started to change, I tried to imagine how the interior looks when the sun rises and sets daily. 

The Oculus, shaft of gold

The Oculus has such a light appearance that standing beneath the 155-foot high ‘eye,’ I felt as if we could start moving – we didn’t.

The Oculus is not only a transportation hub. About 78,000 square feet of its space will be dedicated to stores and restaurants. Most of the spaces were covered with hoardings from retailers such as H&M, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, etc.

The Oculus, reflecting in the North Pool
The Oculus, reflected in the North Pool of the World Trade Center

The Oculus (eyelike opening or design) never fails to catch the eye. My only issue is that the Port Authority should have set aside more space to give it room to ‘breathe.’ With a building within a few feet of its left ‘wing,’ it feels hemmed in.

Linking this week with Travel Photo Thursday which Nancie of Budget Travelers Sandbox, and co-hosts, Ruth at Tanama Tales, Jan at Budget Travel Talk, and Rachel at Rachel’s Ruminations organize. Be sure to head over to see more travel photos from around the world!

Budget Travelers Sandbox


Also linking this week with The Weekly Postcard….

A Hole In My Shoe
and the Weekly Travel Inspiration that is organized by Corinne and Jim of Reflections Enroute, Margherita and Nick of TheCrowdedPlanet, Paula and Gordy of ContentedTraveller, Rhonda Albom of AlbomAdventures, Eileen from FamiliesGo and Michele of MalysianMeanders

10 comments on “The Oculus, NYC’s 3rd Largest Transportation Hub

  1. Modern architecture is mind blowing and this one is no less! Hats off to those architects and designers who create such wonders. Terrific captures.
    Happy #TPT!

  2. I like Calatrava’s design, so, this is a place I would like to see. Hope part of the magic is not lost when hundreds of people start to use the terminal. You are right about the space where they accommodated the structure. It looks like they crammed it too much.

  3. The first thing I thought was “It looks hemmed in!”. But isn’t the inside utterly amazing. It looks like it opens up bigger like Dr. Who’s Tardis. I can imagine it humming like Central Station.

  4. We visited here last summer as part of a 9/11 tour and it was not open as a transportation hub at the time I don’t think but stores had opened. I was not drawn to it as it is so modern but it is definitely interesting! ~ Jessica

  5. I haven’t been in Manhattan for over 10 years now and I didn’t visit the Oculus. I have to say it looks quite grandiose and it has a very futuristic design. Very beautiful shots!

  6. Of course there is no way you can build something like this in NYC without everyone in the city having an opinion. The most common complaint is that the white wings are ridiculous because they will be soot covered and grey far too quickly. I think if you want to photograph it I think a weekend morning is a must because the financial district is pretty quiet. During the week it’s a busy busy place.

  7. I thought it was deserted by aliens out there. Modern architecture is really amazing. Who knows some days later, they can bring the ships on land.

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