Commuters Are Mesmerized by Fulton Center, Lower Manhattan’s ‘Futuristic’ New Transit Hub


New Yorkers are people who rarely stand still, especially on their commute.

But this morning, the Voice counted about 50 people taking photos, staring at the ceiling, wandering leisurely, and talking with friends — in the subway, of all places.

Fulton Center, the much-hyped and long-awaited redesigned subway station serving the financial district, was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday. The station’s centerpiece is its 53-foot-diameter glass oculus over the main atrium. Within the glass cone sits the “sky reflector-net,” an art piece made of “112 tensioned cables, 224 high-strength rods and nearly 10,000 stainless steel components,” according to an MTA press release.

“I’m really impressed,” says Nicolas Ryan, who says he spent two and a half years with Grimshaw Architects as a project manager turning the center from an idea into a reality. “This was a really challenging integration.”

Nine different subway lines had to be integrated “in a much better flow of transfers,” says Ryan. “And at the same time we wanted to bring much more natural light deep underground.”

Judging by the number of locals taking stock of the change, it looks like the efforts paid off.

“This is the new train station,” said John LaBombard, 39, to his son as they rode the escalator. “They built it for us.”

Five-and-a-half-year-old Nelson LaBombard appreciates the station’s 16 new On the Go kiosks. “I like the subway maps,” he says. The interactive trip-planning screens were introduced to the MTA earlier this year.

“We live near here and we’ve been waiting patiently…but this is beyond,” says John. “I feel like we’re in the future.”

Stanley Laurent, a personal trainer from Canarsie, was likewise wowed by the futuristic design. “I’m not down here very often,” he says. “It’s nice.”

Today, business was normal at the station, except for the starry-eyed city-dwellers and at least eight police officers milling around the space.

“This is [in] our precinct,” says Officer Hanlon, of Transit District 2. “So we have to get accustomed to it.”

Want to see just how much this city loves its oculus?

Check out the photos on the next page.