Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fulton Center, 1WTC, and a Malfunctioning Scaffold

This past week was a busy one in Lower Manhattan. Fulton Center finally opened after years of delays and cost overruns. Parts of the station have been open for some time now, but the central feature - the oculus that lets light stream down into the heart of the station - is now revealed, and the escalators and other areas are now open. Upper floors, however, are still off limits as they wont open until businesses move into retail spaces on those upper floors.

The Fulton Center (previously called the Fulton Street Transit Hub), was meant to untangle and better connect a number of subway lines that were built at different times by different competing subway companies at the beginning of the 20th century. Some were built at different depths, and some cross over other lines in a tangle that would make Escher blush.

The MTA did manage to improve the flow between some of the key lines, including the A/C and the 4/5, so that's a big improvement.

What was left on the table is that while the oculus is already an architectural darling, the MTA could have used the space above the station to sell air rights that could help defray the costs for the station or permit construction of other capital projects elsewhere.

What follows is a series of photos taken around Fulton Center:

Interior as seen from Broadway and Fulton escalator bank

Arches and architectural detail of the Corbin building access to Fulton Center

Looking up at the Oculus

Retail space along the street level of the Fulton Center

Looking up and through the Oculus

Information bank at Fulton Center
After viewing Fulton Center, I walked over to the WTC memorial to shoot some more photos, and a dramatic sky didn't hurt either:

1WTC shrouded in breaking clouds. Note that scaffold on the south side. I'll come back to that later.

Yellow roses adorn the names of those who served in the military and died on 9/11 as part of Veterans' Day remembrances.

Looking towards the 9/11 Museum, the WTC transit hub, and 3WTC. Note that the spikes are nearly completely installed.

Still my favorite view of the WTC - looking up the South side of 1WTC. Note the window washing scaffold high up in the center of the photo. This photo was taken 12:41PM. I didn't know it at the time, but within minutes, that scaffold would suffer a major malfunction requiring a high level FDNY emergency rescue operation more than 600 feet in the air.

Scaffolds on the NW corner of 1WTC.

Scaffolds and a hatch to allow a scaffold to deploy for the lower floors.

The damaged scaffold dangling at a sharp angle; this was taken at 1:25PM, about an hour before the rescue was completed.
 The two men aboard the scaffold were rescued unharmed, and within 48 hours the window that had to be broken out to carry out the rescue had been replaced. The investigation into why the scaffold failed is underway.

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