Over five months since it first opened to the public, the World Trade Center's $4 billion Oculus transit hub is about to realize its full potential as a sunlit shopping mall and advertising theater built with public money upon the site of a national tragedy. Filled with storefronts from brands like Apple, Forever 21, Aldo, Kate Spade, and Hugo Boss, the Oculus's Westfield World Trade Center mall opens for business at noon Tuesday with a full day of family activities, food samplings, and a music performance at 6 p.m.
Westfield plans to christen the world shopping trade center with a special flag commemoration ceremony, conducted in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "The World Trade Center is a symbol of hope, opportunity, progress, and perseverance,” company Chief Operating Officer William Hect said in a statement. "Westfield is profoundly proud to be a part of this project and to introduce new experiences and energy to Lower Manhattan."
But what, exactly, will these new experiences be? The Santiago Calatrava-designed Oculus isn't exactly new, and neither is the act of shopping. I guess what's new is that now you can enjoy both at once? The 600-foot long hallway adjoined to the Oculus, connecting the World Trade Center PATH station to Battery Park City, is not new either, but it now sports a 280-foot LED billboard which will offer "activations" from your old friends at Chase, Ford, and HP. Opposite the wall are soon-to-open outposts from Skechers, Pret A Manger, and Kingkow.
During a media preview Tuesday, many if not most of the retail store locations were still undergoing serious construction, and it seems that tomorrow's opening day will showcase the mall at half strength. Still, the festivity schedule is locked in and the musical stage is set. The performer for Tuesday evening is said to be a Grammy-winning artist. It's a safe bet the hacksaws and hammers will have to pause while he or she plays. At least those ad screens are set to silent.