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10 Photos: Inside NYC’s $4 Billion Shopping/Transit Center

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The main hall of Lower Manhattan’s massive transportation hub is finally open to the public. Over the weekend, TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig dropped by to check out the city’s $4 billion investment.

Last week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that the main hall of the city’s new transit hub, called the “Oculus,” was finally open to the public. The second level and all of the retail spaces remain closed, unfortunately, but if you want to head into the main hall to grab a selfie or two (like the dozens of other people I saw over the weekend), you’re more than welcome to do so.

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You’ll enter the Oculus pathway at 4 World Trade Center, just across the street from the WTC Memorial’s south reflecting pool.

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The Oculus’ exterior is certainly a unique figure in the Financial District’s skyline — I’ve heard many people refer to it as “the stegosaurus,” but it looks even less friendly than an armored dinosaur. You’ll get one of the best views of the building from the 3rd floor restaurant at the Hilton Hotel across the street.

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The Oculus may be partially open to the public, but the escalator leading down to it is closed for repair (already!) and much of the hall is still under construction.

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The hall is the creation of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and was designed to let a lot of natural light into the station.

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The Oculus certainly accomplishes that — there’s plenty of natural light in there, even on the cloudy day I visited.

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As you can see in the map above, the Oculus is located in the middle of the WTC complex — if you’re stopping by to visit the museum, Memorial or the World Trade Center observatory, it’s worth a visit.

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The Oculus will soon house a handful of retail stores as part of the 100-store Westfield World Trade Center mall, including an Apple Store located in the main hall.

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Construction on the Oculus began in the summer of 2012, and it’s still ongoing today. It’s expected to be completed later this year.

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The Oculus’ sister structure, the Fulton Center transit hub, is open to the public as well and is located at the corner of Broadway and Fulton. If you’re taking the 4 or 5 train to or from Fulton Street, it’s hard to miss.

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The Fulton Center will house a handful of the Westfield mall’s stores — most of the retail spaces are still covered up, but a candy store and a coffee shop are open now. There’s also free Wi-Fi and building-wide advertising that rivals that of the Barclay Center sport complex just a few stops away.

What do you think of NYC’s $4 billion transit hub?

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