The World's Most Expensive Subway Station

World Trade Center Transportation Hub officially opened its doors to the PATH subway passengers on March 4, 2016. I was completely unaware ...

World Trade Center Transportation Hub officially opened its doors to the PATH subway passengers on March 4, 2016. I was completely unaware of this event, so when my subway train from Newark took me to World Trade Center station, I was amazed to see this engineering marvel both from inside and outside. 

PATH subway is the most convenient way to get to Manhattan, New York from New Jersey across the Hudson River. I try to use it every time I visit New York now. The reason being is that hotels in New Jersey tend to be much cheaper than the ones in Manhattan or Brooklyn, yet commute is fast and convenient thanks to the PATH subway. 
This transportation hub is not new. It has existed since 1909 when the first trains carried their passengers from New Jersey to Manhattan and back using the underwater tubes that lie at the bottom of the Hudson River. Hudson Terminal was the first transportation hub which was torn down in 1972 due to the World Trade Center construction and replaced with the PATH Station. PATH Station, in turn, was destroyed by the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The temporary PATH Station was in use from 2003 until the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in March 2016.
Santiago Calatrava, a famous Spanish architect, created the design for this new station. Many Canadians know him for his Atrium and Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place in Toronto and the Peace Bridge in Calgary. But his projects adorn many cityscapes across four different continents. 
Although the initial design has undergone some significant changes during the construction, I think Santiago Calatrava was still able to realize his vision and to create a structure that resembles a bird being released from a child's hand. 
Some of his ideas were scaled back due to safety reasons and to make sure that the structure can withstand some natural and man-made disasters. 
For instance, the number of 'ribs' doubled and the glass use was minimized. Also, the initial design included an opening and closing roof to regulate ventilation and light, however this was also rejected due to the budget constraints.
Speaking about the budget. World Trade Center Transportation Hub is by far the most expensive subway station in the world. 3.74 billion dollars - this is how much US taxpayers had to pay for its construction. While the price tag for these kind of projects is usually very high in North America, there have been some unnecessary and costly architectural decisions that could have been avoided such as custom-made steel from Italy that costed $474 million dollars or an interior without columns.
For a ridership of 46,000 per day, many agree that the construction cost is way too expensive. 
However I don't think I completely agree with it, as this station is not just a regular station, but a city's new landmark that can attract tourists on its own. It sits right in the heart of the World Trade Center, such a beautiful place with such a sad history. Millions of people from all over the world visit New York annually and almost everyone ends up here, in Lower Manhattan. 
I bet the majority of them would admire the Calatrava's child like I do. And since it's going to generate revenue for local businesses by attracting mass tourism, I guess it deserves to be a bit fancy and extraordinary.
But is it worth almost 4 billion dollars? I don't know. But I think that many tourists especially from countries far away could care less. Having said that, the cost is not unusual for New York where a single apartment was sold last year for 91.5 million dollars.
One World Trade Center and a few more towers currently under construction.
New York - you're beautiful!

My other posts about New York:

Summer Weekend in New York

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