Changing course, Port Authority promises springtime Oculus ceremony
After the Port Authority’s outgoing executive director called the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center PATH Hub “a symbol of excess,” and a Port spokesman said next week’s opening would happen without a ceremony, Port Authority officials have changed their mind. Sort of.
On Thursday afternoon, the Port Authority issued a press release saying that while there would still be no ceremony for the 3 pm, March 3 opening, it is planning to hold a ceremony as the Oculus becomes “fully operational,” at some point “this spring.”
A spokesman for the Port would not comment on why the Port had been considering a March 3 ceremony, then nixed the idea, and is now planning a ceremony for later in the year after all.
Someone familiar with the course of events said the new ceremony was scheduled following complaints from some World Trade Center staff.
Last week, Pat Foye, the Port's executive director, told POLITICO New York that he wouldn't attend a ceremony for the hub, even if there was one, because the vastly over-budget and behind-schedule project is a "symbol of excess."
Then Ron Marsico, a Port spokesman, said no ceremony would attend the facility's opening.
On Thursday, Port chairman John Degnan argued, in a statement, that while the hub was a "challenging" project, "the men and women of the Port Authority and the contractors who worked on this nationally important infrastructure project should be rightly proud of their efforts."
“The board of commissioners salutes those whose years of toil finally brought this project to fruition,” said Port vice-chairman Scott Rechler.
According to the press release, "Details on the spring ceremony will be provided in the coming weeks as progress continues toward completion of the Oculus and its full complement of access points.”
The event will presumably happen after Foye departs. He is leaving the authority at the end of March.