17 April 2004. Photos by Cryptome, April 17, 2004.
The re-opened PATH station at WTC demonstrates again that the best architecture in NYC if not the globe is done by unknown engineers, the best working in or for public public agencies.
View of PATH "World Trade Center" station from the Millenium Hotel. The building under construction at right is Larry Silverstein's. Adjoining is Verizon's telephone hub building. At left if the American Express building in World Financial Center.
For free you can descend four stories to gaze at the WTC pitworkers lazily toiling among remnants of the towers, admire or be repulsed by the cosmetized slurry wall and see more interesting structures than has been promised by the highly publicized architects and Calatrava's bloated conceit. Why so much yearning to replace the world's best accidental architecture with the most over-wrought? (Calatrava like Nervi has done downhill after getting praised for designing "great architecture." Swiss bridge-designer Robert Maillart never suffered that loss of vision, blinded by acclaim.)
For $1.50 you can ride the PATH out of the station and see the pit up-close leaving Manhattan and returning after a short walk underground New Jersey for the inbound light rail. This is an architectural wonder not to be missed, and the panorama shows -- until hidden by masterpiece theater of vainglorious wrongheadedness -- what can be accomplished by accident and temporary design.
Too bad that this exemplary public architectue -- a mix of PA internal design, Parsons Brinckerhoff transportation designers, cobbled residue of WTC structures and new infill -- surrounded by giant evidence of the awesome attack (fast being rouged and blanketed with simulacral photos to divert the tourists expecting tv-generated WTC carnage) -- is not being hailed for its vivid portrayal of the rise and fall of skyscrapers and recovery of worm-view Manhattan. There is unlikely to be anything better to come of WTC than this archeology of public service debacle of the rise of the Twin Towers and the spectacle of their collapse.
Too bad the unvarnished pit cannot be fully experienced due to huge scrims installed at the edges of the station. Peek around the edges to see the violent shards of god's smite of human frailty.
Award a Pritzer prize to the PATH station in the pit if that manufactured celebrity of the over-publicized unimaginative would not destroy the unstaged experience.
A security guard warned, "stop taking pictures." We asked why, and he answered "because my boss told me, I don't know why." Pictures are encouraged of the sappy photo display of WTC rise and fall along the sidewalks of the site.
A protest by WTC victim families of the "9/11 cover-up" was underway at PATH station street level.