Church, Rising at Trade Center Site, Will Glow Where Darkness Fell

The New York Times

By David W. Dunlap

What is most amazing about the World Trade Center, 14 years after the terrorist attack, is that it is steadily growing less amazing.

With the removal last year of fences around the National September 11 Memorial, the opening this summer of Greenwich Street to foot traffic and the arrival of office tenants at Tower 1 and Tower 4, the site feels as if it is being knitted back into the fabric of Lower Manhattan. To mix metaphors, it is coursing again with lifeblood. A landscape that could scarcely have been imagined a decade ago is now a day-to-day reality for thousands of workers who pour into the site each morning.

For those who know the trade center’s history, however, there is something amazing to report: Construction has begun in earnest on the St. Nicholas National Shrine, a Greek Orthodox church and nondenominational bereavement center, designed by Santiago Calatrava, which will overlook the memorial.

The $35 million domed structure to the south of the memorial will glow at night through a veneer of white Pentelic marble, from the same vein in Greece that was quarried to construct the Parthenon.

What seemed like a simple idea in 2001 — to replace the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that stood at 155 Cedar Street until it was crushed by the collapse of 2 World Trade Center — became one of the most complex projects in the redevelopment.

Then again, St. Nicholas has a mission different from any other building on the site.

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