Holy Ground Zero, the Greek Church Is a Thing to Behold

greek wtc 01 Holy Ground Zero, the Greek Church Is a Thing to Behold

Praise be to ground zero. (ArchPaper)

It was only a year ago that the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church beside the World Trade Center looked doomed, at least to a side street if not all together. But Andrew Cuomo, in one of his first direct acts at the Port Authority, brokered a deal to put the church back in its pride-of-place spot across from the 9/11 Memorial, as George Pataki promised a decade ago.

The Architect’s Newspaper looks into the new arrangement and turns up some new details about the plans for the church, as well as some new renderings that make a compelling case for the church.

Throughout the planning and the lawsuit Koutsomitis said his architecture office acted as a clearinghouse for all aspects of the negotiations. “It’s very rare, but it’s a special relationship with the client group,” explained Koutsomitis of the combination design, legal, and financial team.

04 1f028 realty1 c 300x300 Holy Ground Zero, the Greek Church Is a Thing to Behold

Blessing? More like a curse. (NY Post)

Currently there is no final design, the architect said, but it will be clearly identified as an Eastern Orthodox church. While the old St. Nicholas contrasted with Yamasaki’s twin towers, the new church will play off the new buildings, the architect said, describing the new structure as a transparent “cube that’s floating on air.” If the current schedule holds, the church could open its doors by 2014.

O.K., so, even if that is not what the project is going to look like, compare that rendering to the earlier one, and then try and tell us that doesn’t make a considerable difference. Just ask Daniel Libeskind—soaring words and pretty pictures make all the difference in the world.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC


  1. Evan C. Lambrou says:

    Matt Chaban has done a fairly good job covering
    the St. Nicholas Church issue overall, but his latest story on the subject contains
    two extremely offensive elements which make the Observer look like a paper
    published by bigots.


    The headline is completely asinine. The church
    is not a “thing.” It is a spiritual sanctuary deserving of respect.
    And the caption underneath the second photo, “Blessing? More like a
    curse,” simply smacks of intolerance. Projecting such insensitivity doesn’t
    speak well of your publication, at all.


    This is 21st Century America. We live in an age
    and society of tolerance. Your newspaper should reflect certain standards of
    decency, and thereby help the public achieve the proper mindset. Sadly, the
    headline and caption in Mr. Chaban’s story accomplish the reverse.


    Just to be clear, Governor Cuomo’s recent
    intervention helped the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese prevail over an obstinate
    Port Authority concerning Greek Orthodox constitutional rights to rebuild a
    house of worship in its historic setting. By successfully mediating
    between the two parties, the Governor delivered a Christian minority from the
    callousness of a hard-hearted public agency, and upheld the U.S. Constitution
    in one poetic stroke of justice.


    It is therefore
    beneath both the Observer and its writers to express anything that even
    remotely suggests they are against rebuilding this innocent church on Ground
    Zero, where it belongs. Through no fault of its own, the church was obliterated
    on 9/11. It was part-and-parcel of what was destroyed. It should be
    part-and-parcel of what gets rebuilt.