The big news at the World Trade Center today is the opening of 3 World Trade Center, the tower located between the Oculus and 4 World Trade Center. I couldn’t go to the opening ceremony, which is fine, because some other media outlet will undoubtedly post a bunch of photos of the interior. In any event, the debut of 3WTC—while no doubt exciting for owner Silverstein Properties and the three tenants filling 38% of the building—pales in comparison to other developments at the complex, at least for the general public.
First, there’s a new plaza at the northeast corner of the site, between Church Street and the Vesey Street entrance down into the mall.
One of the many new murals is this sign, which should help all those tourists who can’t seem to find the World Trade Center even when they’re standing right in front of it.
You can now walk all the way on the west side of Church from Vesey to the Oculus. Previously, you had to go through the temporary building on Vesey or cross to the east side of Church.
The part of Greenwich Street that runs through the World Trade Center has been painted with traffic patterns—a first, I believe. I imagine it’s only for emergency and maintenance vehicles, but maybe, just maybe, the street will be opened to traffic. That would do a lot toward helping the “Greenwich South” area below the World Trade Center, which remains a royal pain to access.
Now, the bad news…. The passageway leading from W. Broadway/Greenwich to the 9/1 Memorial Plaza, which is always crowded and unpleasant, has entered an unfortunate phase: The asphalt is for vehicles only; commuters, tourists, and hyperlocal bloggers have to use a narrow raised sidewalk (at least there’s a ramp as well as stairs). If it’s going to be this way till the performing arts center is done, you’re going to want to avoid it for years. (On the other hand, they did make it prettier.)