Diane Siskin: Soaring Sights

Friday, September 9, 2016 - by Diane Siskin
The Oculus, located between Church and Greenwich Streets, is next to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The Oculus, located between Church and Greenwich Streets, is next to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
- photo by Diane Siskin

This Sunday, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the new Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall will be the site of a solemn ceremony


At Ground Zero in New York City on sacred land there is now a mixed use facility which has been dubbed “The Consumer Cathedral.”

It has been labeled this because the Westfield World Trade Center’s interior design resembles a soaring cathedral with wide open space surrounded on its circumference with shops.

Under the beautiful marble floors a subway will soon run again.

This building was built as a transportation hub for the city’s subway system. But one level up in the Oculus there is a grand shopping mall with two Apple stores and high-end designer shops and restaurants.

Outdoors and above ground this new development appears as two large white wings which were created with steel-and-glass shells. It is this exterior design which appears as a soaring bird.

Designed by world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava, this “otherworldly” facility is actually grounded and revolves around the large open interior which makes the shopping mall an Oculus.

In architecture, such an area design is left open to the elements. Here skylights can be open to permit sunlight and even “raindrops and snowflakes.”

When we visited last week on Labor Day, the Oculus was filled with visitors. Besides tourists, many New Yorkers had chosen that day to take their families to see the space and just view the shops. Young children ran through the vast expanse. Riding the escalators between levels also seemed to provide great entertainment.

The Oculus was built by the New York Port Authority and it is said to have cost more than $480 million. The budget for the entire transportation hub was $4 billion. The shopping mall opened in August with 60 shops, with more to come. But the PATH subway stations, which will be located at ends of the hall still haven’t opened. The interior of the Oculus resembles a giant train station.

The entire site is a sight to behold. 

The Oculus with its vast white marble floor is enticing to mall walking.
The Oculus with its vast white marble floor is enticing to mall walking.
- Photo2 by Diane Siskin

Baseball Legend Cal Ripken, Jr., Music, Larger-Than-Life-Sized Balloons Highlight Pigeon Forge’s New Music In The Mountains Spring Parade On May 4

With Cal Ripken, Jr. leading the way, Pigeon Forge’s (Tennessee) new Music in the Mountains spring parade is set for May 4 at 6 p.m. (Eastern) on the city’s Parkway with entries from Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia plus several new elements to extend the celebration into the weekend.   Mr. Ripken, a member of the National Baseball Hall ... (click for more)

This Week’s Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Spend a date night around the campfire, experience a 3D Rolling Stones’ concert, find out the latest runway fashions, interact with dinosaurs, savor barbecue or a slawburger and take a Tennessee Whiskey adventure. Here’s what’s going on across Tennessee this week. For a complete list of events, visit tnvacation.com/calendar. Ongoing  Nashville – Fifty photos in ... (click for more)

TBI Puts Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House On Its "10 Most Wanted" List

A man who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning is still on the loose and has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. He was identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., was arrested last year when he was in a restricted area at the White House in Washington, D.C. Reinking ... (click for more)

Dayton Teen Arrested After Running From Deputies On Highway 60; Passenger Caught With Drugs

Hamilton County Sheriff deputies caught up with a Dayton teen who drove off at a high rate of speed on Highway 60 on Sunday afternoon. A passenger in the vehicle was caught with drugs. At approximately  5 p.m. , deputies observed a white Chrysler 200 traveling south in the 7800 block of Highway 60 at a high rate of speed. The driver was improperly passing other vehicles ... (click for more)

Teachers Have Good Compensation Compared To Other Taxpayers - And Response

Hamilton County experienced a property tax increase of about 10.7 percent in 2017. By law the reappraisal of property shall not increase tax revenue. So after the reappraisal the state certified millage rate for Hamilton County was 2.4976 per hundred dollars assessed value. The county commission voted to raise the millage rate to 2.7652 per hundred. That's about a 10.7 percent increase ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)