After E and C train straphangers pass through the turnstiles of the World Trade Center subway stop — before they enter into the modern arches of the Oculus — they first walk through the last remains of the original World Trade Center subway concourse and past a door tagged by 9/11 first responders, probably without even noticing.
Heading through the metallic doors into the entranceway of the station, commuters walk over the same travertine floors, under the same signs, and up the same ramp as commuters who entered the WTC complex before the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Though it may not seem obvious upon arrival, when looking back at the subway station from the top of the white marble steps of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and up at the vintage subway signage, the contrast becomes more clear. This entranceway is comprised of the last surviving pieces of the original 1970s WTC subway concourse.
The most poignant reminder of the former Trade Center and the tragic events of 9/11 is a door that stands out from the rest due to its bright orange, graffiti-like markings. A sign on the door’s encasement decodes the marks, which were made by search and rescue teams in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. On the door, first responders used spray paint to indicate the date the area was searched (9/13/01), the condition of the area (X, meaning dangerous), and which agency performed the evaluation, in this case, the Massachusetts Task Force 1 of FEMA (MATF 1).
Steven Plate, the chief of major capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the organization responsible for restoring the transportation hub, told the New York Times, “Our theme is respecting and remembering the past, and including it in a sophisticated way.” The restored 1970s subway entrance and marked doorway offer a unique way to incorporate the memory of 9/11 victims and heroes into the future of the World Trade Center.