Exploring Fulton Center via Open House New York

When a girl gets married, she’s supposed to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue for luck.  Have you ever wondered where that comes from?  According to wedding planning site the knot, it originates from an old English rhyme.  Something old is meant to represent continuity, while something new offers optimism for the future.  Our Open House New York weekend experience captured those sentiments perfectly.  We were able to glimpse back into the past with our visit to a church constructed in 1875, and look to the future with our tour of a fairly new transit hub on which eleven subway lines and 300,000 passengers converge daily.  I’m speaking, of course, of Fulton Center.

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since our Instagram feeds first blew up with pictures of Fulton Center.  And when you’re standing in the atrium of the transit hub, it’s easy to see why the images were so prolific.  The Sky Reflector-Net and the louvered glass oculus creates an effect that is mesmerizing.  It manages to conjure the one word no one associates with mass transit: light.  This, of course, is no accident.  It’s just one of the many carefully considered design elements.

Fulton Center was one of the “Open Dialogue” sites, which offered on-site talks and tours led by architects and designers.  Ours was led by Christian Hoenigschmid-Grossich, an associate at Grimshaw Architects.  He moved to New York City in 2003 specifically to work on the Fulton Center project.  (Yes, you read correctly: it took 11 years to complete.)  When Grimshaw bid on — and won — the project, the mandate was simple: ease passenger flow.  And that was no easy feat.

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC
The perforated ceiling panels diffuse noise and the circular vents bring in fresh air
Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC
The original tile faces the platform, while the new light blue tile faces the atrium

Grimshaw wanted the new Fulton Center structure to pay homage to its surroundings, blend in seamlessly with its neighboring structures, and still feel contemporary.  And having toured the facilities, we think they succeeded on all fronts.  The futuristic design sometimes made you feel like you were on the Death Star and an army of Stormtroopers was going to march by at any moment.  And yet, you might turn a corner and find you’ve transitioned into a 100-year-old building.  There are perforated ceiling panels designed to diffuse noise, which can be individually lowered for access.  The doors between the subway platform and the atrium serve the dual purpose of limiting sound as well as controlling temperature.  Each detail, from the flooring materials to the color of the tile, was meticulously considered to prolong its lifespan and ease maintenance.  Form and function marry beautifully here.

If you’re dashing through the station at rush hour, it might be difficult to take a moment to savor the details.  So I’ll leave you with this impressive time-lapse video of the installation of the Sky Reflector-Net, the sculpture that has come to define Fulton Center:

200 Broadway

Pair it with:

A meal at Nish Nush

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC

Fulton Center Open House New York - Mad Hatters NYC

We haven’t been shy about our love for hummus and falafel.  So whenever we find ourselves in Lower Manhattan, we take the opportunity to pop into one of our favorite places to indulge: Nish Nush.  Nish Nush makes its hummus and falafel fresh daily, and the falafel is gluten-free.  We find the roasted red pepper falafel a little on the spicy side for our tastes, but we could eat copious amounts of the classic green falafel or the spinach and mushroom falafel anytime.  The falafel platter is our go-to, which comes with hummus, a selection of salads and pita bread.  And I’m not embarrassed to admit that there’s not a lick left when we’re done.

41 John St

Mon – Fri 11am – 9pm
Sat – Sun 11am – 8pm

– L.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Fulton Center via Open House New York”

  1. I don’t know which I want more, to see the new station or to have that meal! I watched the prep for this for years – what a transformation. I’ll be sure to get down there next time in the city. I love the idea of bringing light in – (and thank god they kept some of the old tile). Great post!

    1. It was certainly interesting to hear about the many considerations as they built it! And yes, we were happy to hear that they considered blending the old with new. A visit to this station and the new World Trade Center Oculus is a must, we’re confident you’ll be able to capture some stunning images!

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