Home PANYNJ Cuozzo: PATH Hub an ’embarrassing…hideous waste’ of money

Cuozzo: PATH Hub an ’embarrassing…hideous waste’ of money

by Benjamin Kabak

A grand transit hub or a grand waste of money? (Photo via @WTCProgress)

My thoughts on the Santiago Calatrava-designed PATH World Trade Center Transportation Hub are no secret. It’s a multi-billion-dollar monument to the Spanish architect’s ego that does very little to enhance transit capacity or the aesthetics of the World Trade Center area. As the structure has arisen, it’s lack of visual appeal has become more obvious, and although its completion is a fait accompli, it’s still worth dwelling on the process. In fact, I’ve asked Port Authority, through a FOI request, for information regarding fees paid to Calatrava and his firm.

Meanwhile, in The Post on Sunday, Steve Cuozzo absolutely eviscerated the transportation hub. He doesn’t chart new ground, but his takedown is, to borrow an overused phrase, epic. He writes:

With each passing week, the embarrassing ugliness of this $4 billion boondoggle designed by Santiago Calatrava — a hideous waste of public money — grows plain for all to see. Not everyday-ugly, like a tacky brown tie or dress, but LOL-ugly. What are those spiky “ribs” and “wings” doing next door to 3 World Trade Center and the memorial pools? What happened to the “bird in flight” we were promised?

The elephantine excess won’t be fully realized until the scheduled opening at the end of 2015. But as the dragon slumbers to its feet, enough of it’s reared its head to give a sense of what the finished fiasco will look like: a self-indulgent monstrosity wildly out of proportion to everything around it, and 100% aloof from the World Trade Center’s commercial and commemorative purposes.

Hey, what’s wrong with a train station? Nothing — but today’s 40,000 daily PATH riders make do very well with the current temporary station. And the Hub’s vaunted subway line connections could have been more efficiently achieved with a simple passageway than an “Oculus” longer and taller than Grand Central Terminal’s main hall.

Having seen the parts of the Hub that are already open to the public, I’ve witnessed first-hand what Cuozzo terms “sterile and intimidating.” The floors are solid, slippery marble, and the dominant color is white — not what you’d choose for a New York City subway station bound to attract dirt, debris and all manner of grim from the surrounding environment. It’s a museum to an architect in which practicality was an afterthought if it was even a thought at all.

Cuozzo questions the architectural support for the structure and ponders who will shop in the underground mall. The latter point is less of a concern because New Yorkers and tourists tend to gravitate toward these kinds of shopping centers if the mix of retail is right, but the fact that not one but two under-built transit hubs with high-end retail are opening a block apart from each other at a time when the city desperately needs more space for housing makes me question the spending priorities and long-term planning for the city’s transit agencies.

Ultimately, it’s too late to stop the transit hub, and it will be with us for decades. But it’s a reminder of excess and poor planning. Will we learn anything from this mistake or just be doomed to repeat it, billion-dollar overrun after billion-dollar overrun, while transit capacity concerns go ignored yet again?

You may also like


Chris August 4, 2014 - 1:43 am

Sadly, we have politicians who want to memorialize themselves by approving these boondoggle buildings.

For me, I’d have been happy if the WTC “temporary” station was made permanent, and Fulton street was left unchanged, save a connection to the PATH tubes. I’d have taken the savings from the PA, and dug another tunnel – and connected the PATH tubes through it to GCT. (That’d be a sink hold for many billions of dollars, but produce something of value.) On the MTA’s side, I’d have taken the billions they pissed away at Fulton street, and reactivated the LIRR Ozone Park/Rockaway branch, connecting it to both the A trains and to the E/F on the North end…. We need more cross-queens connections. (Of course, I’d piss off the PA, by providing bus service to JFK from Howard Beach, (or another close by station) to tell the PA to go F itself for the high price for an airport connection to nowhere….

Chet August 4, 2014 - 7:21 am

Have to disagree with the idea of leaving Fulton Street the way it was. It was dark, dirty, a maze, and just incredibly difficult to get around. Something needed to be done there. Most of the money was spent on untwisting the underground mess, not on the building above.

Nathanael August 4, 2014 - 11:00 pm

Fulton Street improvements were well worth it. The entire complex is becoming wheelchair accessible, the overcrowding on the 4/5 platforms is being fixed, the extra entrances are helpful, etc. Rehabbing the Corbin Building was also a really nice piece of work.

The building above — well, eh, probably would have been better to have a big over-build tower, but frankly, it’s nice enough.

The PATH complex, by contrast, fails to be nice. I suppose they can replace that slippery marble with a non-slip surface, but geez, what a waste. And it looks like the stegosaurus is gonna be *ugly*.

The difference? They didn’t hire a “starchitect” for Fulton, they hired a plain old architect.

AG August 5, 2014 - 9:00 am

Yeah – Fulton definitely needed to be re-done and streamlined.

Bolwerk August 5, 2014 - 1:30 pm

I think it also might be required by the ADA, so it hard to be done by law. Still, really hard to justify at this price, though I guess the feds at least paid for it. (Did they cover the overruns?)

AG August 5, 2014 - 2:09 pm

not sure how much – but dollar for dollar it’s the better project in my book…

Berk32 August 4, 2014 - 8:35 am

Fulton needed the full gut rehab underground – but the actual building they built probably could have been utilized better for future income. (and restoring that building on the corner of Broadway and John seems like a giant waste)

g August 4, 2014 - 11:11 am

While it was expensive I can’t fault the MTA for the restoration of the Corbin building. The work was beautifully done and the building looks stunning. Preserving the city’s architectural heritage is a worthy goal worth some amount of additional expense.

Chuck G. August 4, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Wasn’t the MTA’s original plan to tear it down before the preservationalists stepped in? Credit where credit is due.

g August 4, 2014 - 8:37 pm

The MTA wouldn’t have been bound to do anything however yes the preservationists should get some credit for talking them into it. My overall point was that this was not wasted money.

lawhawk August 6, 2014 - 9:10 am

And in the early stages of preparations for doing Fulton Center, they were actually looking to tear down 195 Broadway (across the street from where Fulton was actually built). That would have been criminal given the historical nature of 195 and the architectural significance.

The problems with both Fulton and WTC are well documented. Over budget, late completion dates that continue to get stretched out. Vanity projects.

The Fulton project is much more utilitarian. It fixes many of the issues with the subway connections along Fulton Street and Broadway. It links the subways in ways never before envisioned and it expands ADA access.

The problem with Fulton (and compounded with WTC) is that the MTA is ignoring the air rights that could have been sold to pay for the transit project. Instead, you’ve got a structure that is nice for what it is, but fails in the larger mission of making sure the MTA can continue to build capital projects we need.

The WTC hub is a cavalcade of Calatrava crazy.

The PANY has repeatedly claimed that they’ve done cost containment on the project, but I don’t see what they’ve done to actually make that happen. I guess the early plan to allow the oculus to open and close as weather permits was scratched. That’s about it. Never mind the choice of materials doesn’t work well with bad weather or that wear and tear has already turned some of the white marble to a hazy and grimy brownish grey.

This is the aesthetic that they wanted for the mall that will open surrounding the transit hub, and that’s what they’re getting.

Costs be damned. Riders be damned. The transit we need? Screw that.

And one thing I’ve seen next to no reporting on is whether the PANY has gone ahead and done the Sandy fortification on the WTC hub yet – to protect the tunnels in case another flooding situation hits.

Douglas John Bowen August 4, 2014 - 3:33 pm

The Corbin building save? A waste? Maybe if one’s on Broadway — but not if one values architectural aesthetics along John Street.

Andres August 4, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Yes, but that would have opened the possibility of a view-blocking high-rise on the east side of Broadway, directly across from 195 Broadway and the MIllenium Hotel, which were owned by the then MTA Chair.

John-2 August 4, 2014 - 3:45 pm

The MTA was limited on the use of the funds to the Lower Manhattan area. If we weren’t just on Phase I of the SAS and were already well past Phase II and into Phase III, the money could have been used to fund Phase IV of the line. But since politicians hate spending money on infrastructure underground as opposed to massive above ground terminals and hubs — because nobody sees most of the work downtown — even if the opportunity was there, odds are the pols still would have rather have spent the $$$ on a visible monument to themselves than 1 1/2 miles of downtown tunnel from Houston Street to Hanover Square.

Chris C August 4, 2014 - 5:32 am

Ben I know you don’t like the Calatrava design but please remember that it was the PA that decided to double the number of the spines making it more bulky and looking more like a dinosaur than the bird Calatrava intended.

Ultimately it is the PA that should take responsibility for the station – not just the cost but also the design as they had final approval.

Benjamin Kabak August 4, 2014 - 10:22 am

It’s my understanding that the PA doubled the number of spines only because not doing so would have presented structural integrity problems and been even more expensive than the project already is. Whose fault is that exactly?

SEAN August 4, 2014 - 10:49 am

The PA since they insisted on such a drastic design change.

Chris C August 4, 2014 - 11:43 am

Well according to this


“In the name of security, Santiago Calatrava’s bird has grown a beak. Its ribs have doubled in number and its wings have lost their interstices of glass”

The rest of the article mentions security several times but not structural integrity issues.

And whatever the cause it is still the fault of the PA because they have ultimate control of the project – whether or not they exercised that control is a different issue but it is still their responsibility

Chet August 4, 2014 - 7:19 am

I would hold on any criticisms of its final appearance until it is done, but criticisms of the costs are more than warranted.

Even if a new PATH station was to cost a billion dollars, what could the other $3.5 billion have paid for? Both the new Goethals Bridge and Bayonne Bridge reconstruct? Another phase of the Second Avenue Subway? (Yes, I know this is PA, and the SAS is MTA.) How about extending the PATH train to Staten Island? That probably would still have left a considerable sum of money over.

Calatrava’s works are known for three things- striking designs, incredible cost overruns, and problems (like leaks) later one.

Nathanael August 4, 2014 - 11:04 pm

Hell, just within the Port Authority’s remit, some projects which could have used the money:

– full wheelchair access for the New Jersey PATH stations
– HBLR across the Goethals (bistate and PA controls the bridge)
– freight rail tunnel from NJ to Long Island (about 100 years overdue)
– subway to La Guardia (remember LGA is Port Authority)
– PATH to Newark Airport
– rebuilding PABT

Ellen August 4, 2014 - 7:22 am

Does anyone know if the 1 at Cortland will be reopened at the same time this mess is finished?

JeffG August 4, 2014 - 7:51 am

The cost to rebuild the 1 structure is part of the WTC Hub contract – however, the source of funding of the fit-out of that station, last I heard, is still being debated between the PA and MTA.

Epson45 August 4, 2014 - 12:19 pm

MTA is paying the construction now.

Larry Greenfield August 4, 2014 - 7:23 am

This debacle makes obvious the need for the PA and MTA capital plans and funding to be integrated in some fashion and to be made transparent too. How many commuters even know about the plans and funding sources? What input do commuters have in the processes at either agency? Where are the governors and other politicians in any of this?

Larry Littlefield August 4, 2014 - 8:20 am

While I agree the excess spending on the station is a horror, one needs to separate the station hall itself from all the other necessary investments included in the $4 billion. Including the pedestrian tunnels under West Street, among other things.

The Port Authority could clear this up. I suspect it has not done so because the actual cost of the station is still too high, and people would start including various other costs in the total subsidy for the office space — already a political loser.

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 9:21 am

How much is that “necessary” though? Probably well under a billion. The temporary station already worked perfectly well.

Larry Littlefield August 4, 2014 - 10:51 am

I’m not sure its fair to ask people to walk through leaking sheds and under scaffolding eventually. But yes, the old, original Hudson Terminal tracks seem to have been adequate to the task.

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 11:10 am

Are PATH riders better than BMT el riders or something? Actually, it seems less leaky than most NYCTA stations. I doubt fixing leaks is a 10-figure job.

SEAN August 4, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Well if there are any future leaks, all you need is industrial strength cauking. I’m sure the PA could call the nearest Home Depot & get some.

Michael K August 4, 2014 - 8:56 am

Ironically, the biggest issue with the temporary PATH station, the lack of staircases to enter/exit the platforms, was not fixed in the permanent station design.

Even on the newly opened Hoboken platform, there are tremendous backups and barely any room for two way traffic.

For such a heavily used terminal station, one would think it would have a platform along the lines of the 42nd Street 8th Ave Line….

But no.

Chuck G. August 4, 2014 - 12:30 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with this, and it’s where Cuozzo is wrong by saying that “today’s 40,000 daily PATH riders make do very well with the current temporary station.”

Egress at peak hours from the current PATH platforms is an absolute mess, and if a mere fraction of the money spent on this glorified headhouse could be put towards fixing this, it absolutely should. Sadly, as Michael K points out, this is not being resolved with the platform overhaul.

Maybe they’re saving the money as a nest egg for when Calatrava’s behemoth starts to leak and someone breaks their neck on the wet marble.

Douglas John Bowen August 4, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Michael K is certainly on the mark when it comes to Platform A and Track 1; two-way pedestrian flow is, to be polite, very problematic. But I’m not sure that will hold for the other tracks/platforms at the station site.

lawhawk August 6, 2014 - 9:18 am

The platforms are configured to funnel traffic to and from the center access (and PATH hill to the street at Church, not Vesey). Currently, all the traffic flows to and from Vesey – pushing all people to one end of the platforms.

That’s still the situation with the new platform, but the situation is even worse because they’ve built two escalators that aren’t particularly wide and further limit counter-commuters to get down to the platforms.

At least the temporary platforms had staircases that allowed all to be used for counter-commutes. This is one instance where less would have been so much better. Escalators don’t speed up the numbers of people getting to-from the platform.

Maybe this will be better once the Church street entrance is reestablished, but I’m not so optimistic. They could have gotten more staircases to the platform level, but I’m assuming that would have added cost and/or marred Calatrava’s vision, even though mine is getting snow-blindness from all the white-on-white.

anon_coward August 4, 2014 - 9:18 am

it’s not just ugly, it’s modern art ugly

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 9:26 am

I’m kind of amazed that architecture is still always being tugged between two extremes: the “boxy” modernism devoid of ornamentation that has been in vogue since World War II and the “organic” postmodernist reaction to it.

Traditional urban architectural forms and patterns like the Village or Williamsburg are still seen as bad, even after just about every urban revival in the country has taken root in such places.

Low Headways August 4, 2014 - 11:48 am

I’ve wondered about this myself lately. Found an article that hints at our problems with architecture: “What the Frick urgently needs is a third way, somewhere between slavish reproduction and slavish opposition. There should be a modern equivalent for the craftsmanship, detail, and luxury materials of a century ago. The problem is, there isn’t.”

This all begs the question, of course: if pre-war, Beaux-Arts and ornamented design all command the premium they do (and boy, what a premium), why on earth isn’t anyone building more of them?

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 12:42 pm

Yeah, well, it wouldn’t even take much. Beaux-Arts is supposed to be awe-inspiring. Even simpler traditional American styles like Federal or Dutch Revival can be very elegant. For something more “organic,” I believe Queen Ann style is also common around New York City, but perhaps I am identifying it wrong.

Much architecture just seems hostile to elegance.

Nathanael August 4, 2014 - 11:13 pm


Honestly, I like 90% of architectural styles, even though they vary wildly.

Can we please revive some of them — honestly, any of them, from Mayan Revival to City Beautiful — and get away from the essentially Brutalist concrete-and-glass stuff?

Even Googie would be a nice change.

I even like many of the 20th century styles: Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Futurism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Ponce Creole.

It’s only the post-WWII styles which are routinely terrible, and even there there are some good styles (Googie, arguably even Metabolism). But those aren’t the ones which get built. We get this boxy, concrete-and-glass stuff over and over again.

Bolwerk August 5, 2014 - 11:10 am

Some of this is a planning problem. Urban space is planned to use the ugliest styles and planners want them to propagate. City Beautiful probably gave them the idea.

More diversity would help in general, I think. Something ugly in a forest of different styles is less destructive than the large-scale building of big, ugly complexes. But the styles that need to break the city to be realized are probably the ones to avoid.

Jim D. August 4, 2014 - 9:21 am

The ‘dinosaur’ will have its critics and its supporters – just like the Twin Towers did. I’m old enough to remember how many people hated them in their first decade or so – the popular derisve comment being that they were ‘the boxes that the Empire State Building came in’.

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 9:28 am

I always found them quite ugly. Their only real beauty was when they were lit up at night.

Chet August 4, 2014 - 2:17 pm

I’m reminded of what a high school teacher of mine said about them back in the late 1970s- He was an architect and taught architectural design. He said they looked like two giant d**ks standing in lower Manhattan. He hated them. Can’t imagine what he would think of the Gerhkin tower in London..lol.

AG August 5, 2014 - 8:56 am

Jim D. – in all honesty – the twin towers were never “loved” until 9/11. Prior to that no one would dare put them in the same breadth as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Even as an office complex – there were many important businesses there – but no one “loved” working their like Rockefeller Center per se. It’s sad it took a tragedy – but at least now they are adding more “street life” by bringing back the grid.

Avi August 4, 2014 - 9:24 am

I’ve always looked at those two projects and wondered what $5.4 billion could have done for new tunnels. Instead of ARC or Gateway, imagine 2 tunnels connecting NJT and Amtrak from Hoboken/Jersey City to Lower Manhattan and then continuing on to Atlantic Ave. Bringing riders right to Lower Manhattan would have done a lot more to improve the neighborhood than two malls disguised as transit stations. And if Lower Manhattan became the stop for Amtrak HSR it could have shifted business from midtown back downtown for years to come.

Michael K August 4, 2014 - 1:21 pm

This is still needed, to use our two most priceless underutilized transportation assets – the tracks to Hoboken and the tracks to Atlantic Avenue.

Bens August 4, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Downtown being the main stop for Amtrak HSR is a pipe dream, but connecting NJT and the LIRR in lower Manhattan isn’t, or shouldn’t be. They should definitely be connected at a station between Fulton St and the WTC. They wouldn’t even need any additional surface construction at this point.

SEAN August 4, 2014 - 3:42 pm

Wasn’t sending trains to lower Manhattan part of the redevelopment plan after 9/11? Or was it only the JFK AirTrain. I do recall George Pataki giving speaches on this topic.

Chuck G. August 4, 2014 - 5:21 pm

$250 million of the original $6 Billion downtown rebuild was to be used for a “LIRR at Fulton Street Transit Center study for LIRR service to lower Manhattan and possible future connections (e.g., AirTrain to JFK) at transit center.”

I’m not sure if the study ever got done, but the federal rebuilding funds weren’t going to pay for all of it.

Eric August 6, 2014 - 6:54 am

$250 million for a STUDY? For a team of office workers to type documents for two years? That’s as bad a ripoff as the stegosaurus.

Alon Levy August 6, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Why do you hate America? Great nations require great (or at least greatly-paid) consultants.

sonicboy678 August 6, 2014 - 4:13 pm

Because others are able to get the same problems taken care of more efficiently and with less money?

AG August 5, 2014 - 8:49 am

It was both JFK Airtrain and LIRR – using the same tunnel. Money was allocated to start it – but other infrastructure projects took precedence. If they even cut off $1billion from this they could have had the momentum to get that done. That would have been “monumental” instead of some architects ego project.

Bolwerk August 5, 2014 - 1:57 pm

I think they proposed a number of alternatives, and that was one of them. Probably the best one that was proposed. Another had AirTrain in the Cranberry Street Tunnel.

A much more sensible one, IMHO, probably would have been just a direct connection to the airport by expanding the last remnant of the Fulton Street el (terminating at Ozone Park) to some airport terminal. Really doesn’t matter which one or how, as long as it’s about as direct as possible. The Ozone-bound A and an extended C alike could utilize it. El hateStreet blockage could be minimized by running separate viaducts along parallel blocks (sub-optimal, but would do the trick as far as a highway such as the Belt). It even has potential to serve transit-starved neighborhoods.

AG August 5, 2014 - 2:11 pm

true – but I think it was best to go all the way and have a “Downtown Access” for LIRR as well. It would have been most expensive – but still a good use of money (well barring the inevitable cost overruns that turned East Side Access into a bad joke).

Bolwerk August 5, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Even better: NJT to Jamaica by way of downtown, just a subway-like stop, and the Atlantic Ave. line.

AG August 5, 2014 - 5:04 pm

alas – none of it materialized because a celebrity architect was more important to the powers that be

Michael K August 6, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Never say never…it may still happen soon.

Bolwerk August 6, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Not while Gov. Cuomochristie is in power.

AG August 6, 2014 - 5:31 pm

well I sure hope so… but I’m unfortunately not optimistic. Hopefully we will see it.

AG August 5, 2014 - 8:52 am

Downtown doesn’t have any trouble with attracting business (in fact companies with more workers in Brooklyn and Jersey prefer it) – it’s become a lower cost alternative to midtown. Much of the financial industry is in midtown because the buildings are more new and all the commuter rail can funnel in their workers. Many of the industries – like publishing and such is moving downtown to escape the price pressure (financial firms pay more rent).

Jerrold August 4, 2014 - 9:56 am

Ben, how right you are! And how right Cuozzo is!

normative August 4, 2014 - 10:20 am

I admit that I only read the excerpt that you posted of Cuozzo’s commentary, but his criticism of the architecture is very poor. I know this is the NY post, and thus a tabloid and not journalism, but he just yelled at it. You could describe with examples and evidence why something is a “a self-indulgent monstrosity.”

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 10:39 am

Cuomo thinks being in public without an automobile wrapped around you is damn dirty communism.

Bolwerk August 4, 2014 - 12:03 pm

Excuse me, wrong right-wing nut.


AG August 5, 2014 - 8:43 am

most of the average citizens (and tourists) on the street – who are not architecture critics – think it looks stupid. Only people who study art are into this garbage.

SEAN August 4, 2014 - 10:45 am

A little perspective.

This project along with the “Fredom” tower was a reactionary move after 9/11 & nothing more. The temperary PATH station could have been built & the rest of the acreage left fallow, but the backlash both social & political by such a move would have been untenable.

Everyone needs to remember two things – 1. the damaged american psychy at that time & 2. the fact we had an administration that was so eager to take revenge regardless of the political consequenses. It was a calculated risk that has backfired on so many levels & still even now there are ramafications effecting this administration & it will impact all administrations going foward.

Back on topic –

I don’t think the PATH hub is that bad,but I cant argue the finantials except for the fact that The Westfield Group contributed almost $700 Million for the retail space & not the PA in this instance. I don’t know if readers here were aware, but the new retail mall is about half the size of the original in square footage.

Nathanael August 4, 2014 - 11:17 pm

To be clear about the history, the Bush administration was eager to attack *Iraq*.

As for the actual 9/11 attackers, most of them were Saudi Arabian and they were backed by Afghanistan; the Bush administration treated Saudi Arabia with kid gloves and had to be pressured into doing anything at all about Afghanistan. What’s been leaked from the internal meetings is damning.

Nyland8 August 5, 2014 - 1:36 am

If only it were damning. Instead there seem to be an army of revisionistas desperate to wash the catastrophes of that administration away. And the same neo-con-men who were wrong about EVERYTHING since 1998, are still the go-to guys among the talking head shows on the networks. By the time they’re done, the entire Iraq war, occupation and nation building on a credit card will have become Obama’s fault.

But while it’s fun imagining the many better projects that might have been funded with the money for the stegosaurus, I think it pays to remember that this showcase was directly related to the twin towers being demolished. That’s why it’s there. I don’t think notions of access to LaGuardia, Staten Island, Long Island, GCT, etc would have garnered the federal money after the events of 9/11.

Bolwerk August 5, 2014 - 11:29 am

1998? Try 1970s. That’s when the neo-con movement’s thorax first publicly emerged from its authoritarian socialist chrysalis.

Their obsessive anti-communism back in the 1980s is what initially financed the kinds of groups that became al-Qaeda. Islamicists may hate women, destroy other cultures, and be totally intolerant of…well, just about everything. But at least they aren’t godless communists! (Seriously, they thought/think that. After 9/11, you even had some of them gloating about how it was totally worth it.)

Eric August 6, 2014 - 7:09 am

Neocons gloating over 9/11? If anything, it was much of the left wing that said the 9/11 attacks were deserved or “understandable” due to our Middle East policy, while the neocons rejected any such rationalization.

Nyland8 August 6, 2014 - 8:12 am

I guess you’re not familiar with the Wolfowitz doctrine, the PNAC cabal, and how the events of 911 were presaged by ” … absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event … like a new Pearl Harbor”.

9/11 was fulfillment beyond their wildest dreams – just as I suspect the stegosaurus is, but in an entirely different way.

Bolwerk August 6, 2014 - 8:57 am

They weren’t gloating over 9/11. They were gloating over how their 1980s arm-anyone-who-isn’t-red policies were still worth it even in light of 9/11.

SEAN August 6, 2014 - 3:45 pm

They were gloating over how their 1980s arm-anyone-who-isn’t-red policies were still worth it even in light of 9/11.

And I think they are digging there heels in even further despite overwelming evidence to the contrary. And if anyones questions such a line of thinking is branded as “hating america.” Bush Jr. told us in a 2003 adress all we needed to know – “you are with us or against us.”

Jim August 4, 2014 - 11:22 am

Who said make no small plans? I agree that the cost overrun on the PATH station makes the LIRR East Side Access project seem thrifty. However, I strongly disagree with the criticism of Calatrava’s design on the bases of aesthetics. While not exactly my cup of tea, at least it tries to create something novel, especially compared to the mundane, ho-hum, glass/steel towers that surround it. Like the Guggenheim Museum, it cries out for a more spacious location (FLW hoped to place his on a knoll in Central Park), but if you want to talk about ugly — you need only to look at One WTC. Come on, let’s be fair. And what celebrity architect do you know who doesn’t have an insatiable ego?

Peter August 4, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Cuozzo is a crank who also loves to write columns about how much he hates bike paths. People can disagree about the aesthetics of the station — I personally it’s breathtaking and the most interesting architectural feature of the WTC site.

Was it worth $4 billion? Absolutely not. And if it’s plagued by the sort of defects that have typified other Calatrava projects, it’s going to be a continuing money pit for the PA.

However I absolutely think this station has the potential to become an icon on par with Grand Central, in terms of being a grand public space. The sad part is that it seems to be a striking space first and foremost, and only secondarily an efficient transit hub. Unlike Grand Central, which is both beautiful to look at and brilliantly engineered as a mover of people and trains, it seems the PATH hub will be a beautiful public space atop a very ho-hum train station.

SEAN August 4, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Nicely put.

AG August 5, 2014 - 8:45 am

ummmm – I dunno know about comparing it to GC as a public space. I had some family visiting from California just the other day. the loved Grand Central – but scrinched their noses at this “thing”. They actually used the PATH station there – but were more interested in Brookfield Place.

Douglas John Bowen August 4, 2014 - 3:32 pm

“[T]oday’s 40,000 daily PATH riders make do very well with the current temporary station.” Well, yes, we make do. “Very well” is a matter of opinion.

Identified shortcomings aside, here’s one daily PATH rider who truly hopes the final end product will be a bit better than the present “temporary” reality.

sonicboy678 August 4, 2014 - 6:57 pm

I don’t expect it to be more practical anytime soon.

Frank August 4, 2014 - 8:09 pm

It’s a NY Post article. A newspaper I don’t take seriously because of the c*ap that makes up its content. This arguing over the WTC Hub is not getting us anywhere. Its far too late to stop it. Its here to stay whether we like it or not.

My 2 cents.

sonicboy678 August 5, 2014 - 1:04 am

No one said anything about stopping the project, just that much of the funds used for it are being squandered on nonsense.

Bolwerk August 6, 2014 - 9:06 am

Unlike ESA, stopping it might actually be an unambiguous win. The porcupine doesn’t bring any new track capacity and is taking a big shit on the skyline.

At least ESA is bringing some new service/capacity to the LIRR.

sonicboy678 August 6, 2014 - 4:20 pm

Maybe if the staircases were strategically placed and of decent width, this wouldn’t be as much of a waste.

At least, that’s what I gather.

BoerumHillScott August 5, 2014 - 8:23 am

Saying the PA should have stopped at the temporary station and not spent any money on the Transit Hub is the same as saying that the PA should have left the WTC a hole in the ground with a half-assed station, leaky at the bottom.

Every thing built on the site, including the memorial, relies in one way or another on construction paid for out of the Transit Hub bucket.

This project is about much more than the Path Station. It is about how people move into, around, and through the WTC site, as well as providing a foundation for part of the site.

There is a ton of waste and poor design and execution decisions, but I don’t think any more than the rest of the WTC site.

AG August 5, 2014 - 8:40 am

People will work in the buildings… The “mall” pays huge rents and produces sales taxes. The memorial is a good place of reflection. A hub is useful in connecting to the west side and to the Fulton Street station… This design is just over-wrought and a waste of money.

Michael August 6, 2014 - 8:37 pm

I agree with your posting. In addition there was an extensive public process for the entire site well before construction or funding, concerning issues such as what should or should not be built, what should be built where, etc. all with great amounts of community input.

It is like all folks want to talk about is an “ugly dinosaur thingy” that is not even complete, as well as the same with many of the features and buildings on the site, and their interconnections both on the ground and under the ground.

Sometimes through destruction comes the opportunity to do something different, however this time Mrs O’Leary’s cow was not responsible for burning down the town!

I’m pretty sure if the Internet existed then, there’d be plenty of folks who would say that the cow was an activist involved in a corporate plot to redefine the urban landscape against small family farms! Sometimes you just can not win!


AG August 5, 2014 - 8:38 am

I walked past it yesterday. I really looked at it to take it in. Point blank – the thing looks foolish. There was no need to spend money on this. They could have saved money and put some of it toward other transit projects.

John D August 5, 2014 - 2:41 pm

best word for the whole situation:


LLQBTT August 6, 2014 - 1:59 pm

This is what happens when an emotional purchase is made rather than on an objective set of criteria.

Nathanael August 8, 2014 - 3:48 am

Not all emotional reactions are bad; some should be listened to (like “boy, Brutalist architecture is ugly”).

Decisions made in the heat of grief and anger, however, are usually really stupid.

Bolwerk August 8, 2014 - 5:05 pm

DC’s Metro is brutalism. It’s not ugly.

A book came about about some lively design in Germany. The kind that did not come with a magnitude increase on the price tag.

TomS August 8, 2014 - 5:58 pm

It seems people still don’t understand that the $4 billion wasn’t for just the headhouse that some vocal critics don’t like. It paid for underground infrastructure of the entire site. Pedestrian access, the mall, vehicular security/access/storage. Arguments are weakened when they’re based on ignorance.

Benjamin Kabak August 8, 2014 - 6:09 pm

But good luck getting the Port Authority to break down those costs. I’ve now submitted 2 FOI requests without a clear answer. So you can claim “ignorance,” but until we understand how much the headhouse cost vs. how much everything else cost, the project simply gets lumped under one big multi-billion-dollar umbrella.


Leave a Comment