Marbled Concourse and Gleaming Glass Pavillion Open to 'Wows!'

Some of the first visitors to the new concourse connecting the PATH station to Brookfield Place were office workers, many of whom had themselves photographed in the marbled space. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Oct. 24, 2013

A 600-foot-long, white marble passageway that runs beneath West Street, linking the World Trade Center PATH station with Brookfield Place, opened to the public Thursday afternoon. The World Trade Center West Concourse is the first completed section of a transportation hub that in 2015 will connect 13 of the city’s subway lines and house some 350,000 square feet of stores and eateries. 

The pristine white walkway, 44 feet below street level, is lined with arches and columns and connects to six escalators leading to the new Brookfield Place pavilion, which also opened today and allows pedestrians to enter the office complex from West Street.

No sooner had the corridor opened in the early afternoon than workers from the Brookfield Place office towers walked down to the glass-enclosed, $50 million pavillion and, for the first time, took the long escalator ride to concourse level.

“Wow” was a frequently heard refrain as they strolled along the marble passageway, many of them stopping to snap pictures. 

Two of them, Ann Lord and Haydee Santiago who work in the complex, met for the first time there as they took photos and admired their new underground route to and from the PATH. They seemed to bond over their thrill of the space and soon were photographing each other in it.

“It’s beautiful. It’s amazing,” said Santiago, who works at Bank of America and has been commuting to there from New Jersey for 20 years. “You don’t have to go outside.” The walkway, she added, allows people to avoid crossing busy West Street.

"I think it's awesome,” added Lord. “I've been waiting for this for quite some time.”

“It's been a miserable 12 years,” said Yao Chen, as he stood admiring the pavilion. “So I'm happy to see this. For me, the biggest benefit is the fact that you don't have to deal with the weather."

"I was hoping they would know what kind of shops will be here,” said Juliet Teller, who was walking along the corridor, past what one day will be storefronts. “I just want to know where we can shop."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversaw the construction of the 40,000-square-foot concourse, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the passageway’s opening Thursday morning. Port Authority executive director Pat Foye told the large gathering of officials and reporters that transit access in the World Trade Center area, when completed, will be far better than before the destruction of Sept. 11, 2001.

“For most people, the norm was to travel into the area on one form of transit, trudge up long staircases to get to street level, walk a few blocks and then head back below ground to access another form of transit to get to work or another destination—a daily chore most commuters certainly didn’t cherish,” Foye said.

With broom and dust pan in hand, Tommy Diaz was already sweeping the corridor's marble floors—though it was hard to detect so much as a speck of dirt that had yet settled on the surface.

"I'm in heaven," Diaz said.

What makes this heaven? he was asked.

"The color. The marbleness,” Diaz replied. “Everywhere, I'm surrounded."