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Critic Eviscerates $1.4B Fulton Center, Says It 'Comically Fails'

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Steve Cuozzo, New York Post critic and (sometimes) professional curmudgeon, really hates the new Fulton Center. Like really, really hates it. Four months after the center's opening, Cuozzo shares his thoughts on the complex, liberally quoting anyone who praised it, just so he can take them down. It's a fun read, criticizing everything from the size of the elevators to the $1.4 billion price tag, so let's get right to the best, most hilariously angry lines:

1) "The MTA's gold-plated Fulton Center comically fails at its core mission to 'untangle' the 'maze,' 'labyrinth' and 'catacombs' of four linked subway stations and nine lines."

2) "To The New York Times, the former 'spaghetti-bowl tangle of dark corridors' and 'baffling signage' has given way to a 'kind of Crystal Palace, crowned by a dome that funnels daylight two stories below ground.' Sorry: It's a puzzle palace, with more connection conundrums and bum-steer signage than before. Many train platforms remain dirty, dingy, affairs despite 'rehabilitation.'"

[Looking up at the oculus. Photo via the MTA's Flickr.]

3) "The 'oculus' [...] looms over an aluminum-skin, four-level rotunda with a zillion escalators and stairs leading everywhere but directly to your train."

4) "The zany ziggurat's weirdest feature is a bulky elevator shaft ringed by spiral stairs. They ascend to storefronts that retail lease-holder Westfield hopes to rent to casual eateries such as Shake Shack — although we'll see whether the narrow circular catwalk has room for the long lines seen outside other Shake Shacks."

5) "The MTA's Michael Horodniceanu says that in the old station, 'You never knew in which direction you were headed.' Well, you still won't. While the complex is full of minor artworks, colorful ad panels and zigzag lights, it lacks the one thing it needs: an easily located, printed map."

6) "The MTA claims, 'Transfers that were cumbersome and difficult to navigate between the numerous subway lines have been transformed into a brightly lit concourse with sweeping sightlines.' That's a lie. [...] Problem is, the main concourse is actually two different concourses, separated by the J/Z platforms. To get from the 4/5 to the 2/3 and vice-versa requires as much vertical schlepping as ever — up three staircases, down three more."

7) "Unless you use the elevators. But they're dealbreakers to the least claustrophobic."

8) "For sheer waste, nothing tops the severely sloped, 350-foot-long concourse beneath Dey Street linking the other lines to the Cortlandt Street R station for the first time. The walkway cost $200 million-plus — and it's usually deserted."

9) A planned extension of the walkway to the WTC might draw more people — if the MTA gets around to telling riders that the corridor exists: Right now, you won't see a sign for it until you're at its foot."

10) "The ugly truth is that the Fulton Center was never about unraveling a maze. It was about building a monument to politicians' and planners' egos, crowned by a useless glass dome."

For what it's worth, Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas completely agrees with the last point.
· Fulton St. folly: MTA wasted $1.4 billion [NYP]
· Link: Four months after Fulton's opening, The Post piles on [SAS]
· 'Magical' $1.4B Fulton Center Finally Opens After 12 Years [Curbed]
· All Fulton Center coverage [Curbed]

Fulton Center

Fulton Street and Broadway, New York, NY