Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Patron Saint of New York City

He was the patron saint of children, sailors, and merchants among other types of people. He was also made the patron Saint of New York City. Up until Sept. 11, 2001, one of the Greek Orthodox Churches named for him sat in the shadow of the World Trade Center, on Cedar Street.

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was built in 1922. Four stories tall, the 1,200 sq. ft. church was home to 70 parishioner families. Nine years later, the church has still not been rebuilt. Originally, the Port Authority agreed that it would be rebuilt. But delays and disagreements over its size and ownership of the land beneath it, where the Port Authority planned to build the vehicle entrance to the new World Trade Center’s underground garage have delayed the rebuilding.

When the church requested more space to build a bigger building (the entire parcel belongs to the church), with a large, traditional Greek Orthodox dome, the Port Authority refused, stating the dome couldn’t be higher than the World Trade Center Memorial. Even though Ground Zero is surrounded by soaring skyscrapers.

Since the Ground Zero mosque received the green light, the City and the Port Authority have been quick to rebound on Saint Nicholas Church, that they’ll be coming to an agreement very soon! Only St. Nicholas’ immediate proximity and the problems inherent with the ongoing construction (and the possibility that St. Nicholas might ask for more money, since its building was destroyed on Port Authority property, I guess…) have caused the delay.

Since the patron saint of the church was the patron saint of the city and merchants, it seems only fitting that Nicholas’ church should sit on the perimeter of the World Trade Center. What about all that land the former Deutsch Bank, in the processing of being demolished, is sitting on?

If the church’s owners can’t come up with the money, maybe the “good” Muslims building on the other side of the Ground Zero site, could match some of the contributions to replace the church the “bad” Muslims destroyed on Sept. 11th.

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