Lonely Planet Writer

Manhattan debuts enormous retail space in New York's Financial District

It’s been 15 years since 9/11, and the transformation of lower Manhattan shows no signs of stopping – in fact, the area has tripled in population since before 2001. Those that work in the neighbourhood now find it a viable place to play as well, with amenities such as Brookfield Place, a multi-use space with an awe-inspiring food court, and the new Fulton Street subway station.  

The Oculus, a soaring white modern glass and steel structure that is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, stands across from the National September 11 Memorial (foreground).
The Oculus, a soaring white modern glass and steel structure that is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, stands across from the National September 11 Memorial (foreground). Image by Dennis K. Johnson/Getty.

Now, there are even more reasons to visit downtown, thanks to a few recent developments: Right beside the 9/11 Memorial is the new-this-year Oculus, a sculptural tribute to peace (it’s meant to resemble a child’s hands releasing a dove); it’s also the landmark for a massive underground transportation hub leading to 13 subways and ferries, and an entrance to One World Trade Center.

Underneath the recognisable, artistic behemoth lies Westfield World Trade Center, which opened earlier this week to much fanfare, including a performance by John Legend. Stores ranging from H&M and Aesop to Smythson of Bond Street and John Varvatos are filling the light and bright space, with 100 shops expected to be open by the end of the year.

Westfield World Trade Center on August 16, 2016 in New York City.
Westfield World Trade Center on August 16, 2016 in New York City. Image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

This will also be a place where brands can experiment with technology and reach consumers who are open to it; Ford will even have an innovation showroom called FordHub located there. The atrium will also be dotted with digital billboards, and Apple has opened a large store, complete with a space for workshops and gatherings.  

Mario Batali’s popular Italian marketplace Eataly will open its second city outpost here, and other NYC favourites such as Shake Shack are also slated to open.

Over 300,000 people will be coming and going through the space daily, which stretches for four blocks underground, and city officials hope that it will bring as many people down to the Financial District as go to Penn Station and Grand Central Station.