Love and the Oculus: A Perfect Match

By Joseph Iorio, Media Relations Staff


Bustling with pedestrians, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, better known as the Oculus, welcomes millions of tourists and daily commuters each year.

In 2016, when the Oculus fully opened to the public, its architect, Santiago Calatrava, envisioned it as a piazza for Lower Manhattan, similar to the large and unrestricted gathering places seen throughout Europe. Today, visitors pass through the white, marble-laid network of underground passageways to shop, dine, meet friends or just marvel at an architectural masterpiece.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Portfolio today focuses on a different trend at the Oculus: wedding pictures.

Over the past year, an increasing number of couples have selected the Oculus as the memorable centerpiece and backdrop for their wedding photos. It may seem unusual, and such events are still rare, but the “simplicity, modernity and neutral colors of the design make for the perfect setting,” says Nora Bourabah, an aspiring architect and bride-to-be who’s scheduled to have her pictures taken in the Oculus this May.


It’s a classic New York love story: Nora from Brooklyn, her fiancé Chris from Queens, meeting in Manhattan (the couple now lives in Astoria). They chose the Oculus because of its aesthetic appeal, but also because they met nearby at a place Nora worked as a waitress — though, as an architectural consultant, the building’s design has much more personal and expressive meaning to Nora.

“The Oculus expresses unity and hope. Everything about the Oculus is about bringing people together,” she said. “To us, it’s about growth and change and a testament to the spectacular, awe-inspiring things we are capable of,” she said. The couple’s actual marriage is scheduled for the View of the World Terrace Club near the WTC, the place where they met nearly seven years ago.

0022As planning is key to any aspect of the marriage ceremony, one last bit of pre-wedding Oculus photo advice for the betrothed: You need a permit from World Trade Center operations, which is lovingly offered through the Port Authority’s website (

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