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An ‘astonishing time capsule’ reopens at the World Trade Center

The travertine-paved passageway is the last vestige of the original WTC

The travertine-paved passageway that connects the Chambers Street subway station to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub quietly reopened today—though its significance could go missed by many who were unfamiliar with the area before September 11.

The newly re-opened passageway is an “astonishing time capsule” that is “the last extant remnant of the original World Trade Center, a portion of the concourse that looks just as it did in the 1970s,” notes the New York Times.

There is, however, one important difference to the corridor: one door with haunting orange markings reading “MATF 1” and “9 13”— graffiti, the Times explains, left after the terrorist attacks to let rescue and recovery workers know that the area had been searched on September 13th by the Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team, then working for FEMA. The door has been encased with protective glass, and is one of the major artifacts that helped the transportation hub secure federal funding.

In order to receive said financing, the Port Authority was required to “salvage, preserve, or document remnant and artifacts of the trade center” as specified in the National Historic Preservation Act, the Times reports.

As a result, the authority agreed to incorporate pieces of the original into the new hub: the travertine flooring, handrails, steps, ramp, doors, and overhead signs in the Chambers Street corridor are all remnants of the original World Trade Center. For commuters and visitors who don’t immediately recognize the significance of those elements, there are signs on the passageway’s walls and the MATF 1 door to explain.

“Our theme is respecting and remembering the past, and including it in a sophisticated way,” said Steven Plate, the chief of major capital projects at the Port Authority, told the Times.

As of yet, the passageway is not accessible for all riders—it currently leads to a flight of 26 marble stairs that are not ADA compliant—but the authority said it plans install an elevator next year.

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