Baku, March 4, AZERTAC
The world's most expensive train station has opened in New York City, $2.7 billion ($US2 billion) over budget and years behind schedule, but the European architect who designed it has called it a gift of love to the city, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Built next to the site of the destroyed Twin Towers, The World Trade Centre Transportation Hub is expected to eventually serve more than 200,000 daily commuters.
Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish-Swiss architect who unveiled his ambitious design 12 years ago, removed a barrier at the entrance of the Oculus, a giant oval hall with walls of steel ribs and glass.
"This is a great moment. This is a gift for all New Yorkers," he told rail commuters at the opening.
"I hope the New Yorkers embrace it like we do and that they see the message of love to them," he added.
The project has become a major source of controversy — for its daring aesthetic, for spiralling drastically off budget and for running seven years behind schedule.
Initially budgeted at $2.7 billion, the building ended up costing $5.2 billion, according to a spokesperson in Mr Calatrava's office, making it the most expensive station in the world.
Mr Calatrava said he hoped America's financial and entertainment capital would enjoy a building that would become a "big civic monument like Grand Central" — one of New York City's most beloved landmarks.
The building was only partially opened — a giant shopping and restaurant plaza are scheduled to be up and running in August.
The centre connects the PATH commuter rail to New Jersey with New York subway lines and provides indoor pedestrian access to the Trade Centre towers.