The Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Center opened a few weeks ago. The Oculus is a massive, white ribcage structure that is the main hall of the transit hub with connections to PATH trains. Amy Plitt summarizes reviews from architectural critics and the views are mixed. Julie V. Lovine of The Wall Street Journal is not fond of it and Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times is particularly scathing. On the other hand, Paul Goldberger of Vanity Fair likes it as does ballet blogger Haglund. There is disagreement over the architectural merits of the hub, but it is a great improvement over the depressing basement known as Penn Station.
The hub reminds me of a massive white cathedral with beautiful symmetry. I’ve photographed about 50 churches in New York, Paris, and London and love the symmetry and nuances that each offers (the only difference is that in the transportation hub, I don’t have to take off my Yankees hat). Nice, but is it really worth $4.4 billion?
I took a number of photos at the hub over the weekend (click a photo to go to my photography website notmydayjobphotography.com). As one security guard pointed out, tripods are not allowed, so all of my photos are hand-held with a Canon 10-22 mm lens at 10 mm (16 mm with 1.6X crop factor of my Canon 7d m2). I shot at f8 to maximize sharpness and used 800 ISO to capture shutter speeds of at least 1/125. The top photo is a panorama consisting of five photos stitched together in Photoshop, with minor adjustments in Lightroom.
Below is a YouTube video featuring NYCB dancers Adrian Danchig-Waring, Megan Fairchild, Craig Hall, Sara Mearns, Gretchen Smith exploring the new space with dance movements.