In the hustle and bustle of the holidays in New York City this week, a travertine-paved passageway quietly opened within the last vestige of the original World Trade Center destroyed in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The newly constructed shortcut to commuter trains has been referred to by the New York Times as an "astonishing time capsule" that is "the last extant remnant of the original World Trade Center, a portion of the concourse that looks just as it did in the 1970's." Subway riders can't help but notice one door, preserved under glass, that had been marked with orange spray paint by rescue crews on 9/11. "MATF 1" and "913" was written on the door to signify that the Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team had searched the area on September 13 after the attack. (Photos: Pablo Enriquez, NYT)
Steven Plate, chief of major capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says, "Our theme is respecting and remembering the past, and including it in a sophisticated way." The Port Authority restored the passageway under a $4 billion project to build a transportation hub and shopping mall. Federal funding was secured for the hub under the National Historic Preservation Act to salvage, preserve and document artifacts found in the rubble of the trade center. Through that idea of preservation, original travertine flooring, steps, ramps, handrails and overhead signs were reinstalled in the new project. The white-winged World Trade Center Transportation Hub, named "Oculus" was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava to evoke a bird taking flight out of a child's hand.