The Cube Is Ready for Its Close-Up (Almost)/Vesey St. Bridge Coming Down

By Sarah Smedley Daily Broadsheet

A rendering of the new Winter Garden entrance, "the Cube;" rendering courtesy of Brookfield

A rendering of the new Winter Garden entrance, “the Cube”. rendering courtesy of Brookfield

Don’t be fooled when you pass the sparkling new entrance to the Winter Garden facing West Street — it’s not open, yet. But it will be this month, according to Brookfield Office Properties management, which has spent the past several years managing reconstruction of the stunning new gateway to the Winter Garden and the Hudson River’s North Cove Marina. The marble staircase in the middle of the Winter Garden, although now shrouded in construction barricades, will remain in place.

“The Transit Pavilion,” as the entrance facing West Street is to be called, “will open this month, so all the finishing touches are currently in progress,” according to Patricia Bertuccio, manager of corporate communications for Brookfield Office Properties. Construction is on target to be complete before the end of October, she says.

When the Pavilion opens, pedestrians will be able to descend via escalator from the Winter Garden to a passage beneath West Street, the East-West Connector, that will initially offer access to the World Trade Center PATH Station and Greenwich Street. This access will eventually be extended eastward by several hundred yards to the World Trade Center Transit Hub and Fulton Center. Construction on this second phase is expected to be complete by early 2015.

The new pavilion echoes the work of the 1980’s team that built the World Financial Center. Architect Rafael Pelli, who designed the iconic glass cube that now fronts the West Street façade of the Brookfield Place complex, is the son of César Pelli, the original architect of the complex.

In a related development, the Vesey Street pedestrian bridge (which has offered a safe crossing over West Street since 2002) was permanently closed on Monday, in preparation for its removal. The work will be divided between the two agencies responsible for the span. Deconstruction began on the eastern side with removal of the steel framing, stairs, landings, elevator and escalator by the Port Authority. Once this first phase is completed, the New York State Department Of Transportation will commence deconstruction of the bridge’s central span and western approach.

While the first phase is underway, the Port Authority has provided Pedestrian Managers and Traffic Enforcement Agents to help assist with the crossing of West Street. The dismantling of the bridge precedes by a few weeks (but is timed to coincide with) the planned opening of the new East-West Connector.

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