It was a subdued debut for the long-delayed "Oculus" at the Port Authority's multibillion-dollar World Trade Center train station, which finally opened on Thursday, though not quite fully. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
No more outside looking in on the World Trade Center Transportation hub.
On Thursday, the doors to the nearly $4 billion PATH station finally swung open to its sprawling steel centerpiece that opened years later than expected, and with a bloated price tag.
"I would have been happy with a miner's tunnel," said one commuter. "I just wanted to get to work. I don't need the whole hoopla."
The Port Authority passed on holding a ceremonial "grand opening," though its star architect, Santiago Calatrava, did make an appearance.
"I hope that New Yorkers embrace it and they see the message of love to them and the people of New Jersey, the message of love we have delivered here," Calatrava said.
The station was billed as "Instagram-ready" in the New York Times, and indeed, many visitors were quick to whip out their cameras on the hub's opening day as they admired the views.
"I think it's spectacular," said one commuter. "They've done a great job. It's amazing. Fits New York City. It's awesome."
"My first impression was, wow. It's beautiful," said another.
But it's far from complete. Not one store is open yet in the more-than-200,000-square-foot mall.
In addition to the not-yet-completed retail space, also missing on opening day were links to the 11 nearby subway lines, including a passageway to the MTA's nearby Fulton Center.
The Port Authority says it's not sure yet when it will be able to connect to the subway system, though PATH trains serving close to 50,000 riders daily resumed running in and out of the World Trade Center two years after the original transit hub was destroyed in the September 11th attacks.
In spite of all the criticism, agency officials say they're proud of the almost-but-not-quite-final product.
"At the end of the day, great projects will be judged not by me or not by you, but by history," said Steven Plate, chief of major capital projects for the Port Authority.