“The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s architects and construction workers had to resolve century-old rivalries among the nine subway lines around Fulton Street, the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z and R. Their stations originally belonged to three competing subway companies.

The builders smoothed out connections, diminishing the bobbing-and-weaving that had made navigation at Fulton Center an ordeal.

They threaded a 350-foot-long pedestrian passageway under Dey Street to link Fulton Center with the R and, sometime next year, the World Trade Center PATH train complex, designed as a companion hub. Once the World Trade Center’s complex opens and the Cortlandt Street station is rebuilt, passengers will also find the E and 1 lines through the passageway.

At the end of the new passageway, they brought back something old: ceramic tile art by Margie Hughto that was originally installed at the Cortlandt Street R station in 1997.

They encircled the central hub with shops and kiosks.

Next door, they preserved and built a new foundation for the historic Corbin Building, which will hold more than 36,000 square feet of office space.

The scale of the project was such that the transit authority felt the need to distribute a fact sheet. There are, for instance, 1,950 fire alarms in the building, which used 60,000 square feet of granite. More than 50 screens carry maps and service updates, digital art and advertisements, including one for a Burberry watch that displays the correct time when it appears onscreen.

What went unmentioned in the fact sheet were the major setbacks along the way: cost overruns, delays and a corresponding downgrade in ambitions, problems that have plagued other transit authority projects in recent years. The dome was scaled back, a planned direct connection between the R and the E lines scuttled. What was supposed to open in 2007 at a cost of $750 million took seven more years and totaled $1.4 billion.”

–The New York Times