The Port Authority appears to have simply started building on the property of the little Greek Orthodox Church destroyed on 9-11 without bothering with those little annoying details, like ASKING FIRST.
NEW YORK — Towers are rising again at the site of the World Trade Center, a place of devastation turned into a construction hub. But the cross-topped belfry of St. Nicholas Church isn't among them.Read the rest here.
Nine years after it was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the little Greek Orthodox church that stood across the street from the twin towers is farther away than ever from being rebuilt.
Slow progress toward a new home halted last year when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the Ground Zero site, broke off discussions with the church over where and how a new church would be built.
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On Sunday, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, 70 families of the congregation gathered near the site to light candles and pray for a way to rebuild their spiritual home amid the office towers and memorial plaza taking shape. "It's not a political statement. This is our place, and we belong there," says Mark Arey, a priest and director of interfaith relations for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Before the Port Authority pulled the plug in March 2009, the agency and the church had spent several years working on a plan for the church to be rebuilt a block from its original location. Each side says the other refused to come to terms. The Port Authority says the church wanted too much say in the design of a vehicle screening center underneath the new building. The church says the agency wouldn't finalize the swap of its original property for the new site.
"After nine months of negotiations in which the demands of the Orthodox Church continued to increase over and above what we originally agreed to, we had to make a practical decision," says John Kelly, a Port Authority spokesman.
To work on the vehicle screening center, the Port Authority has begun ripping up the 1,200-square-foot plot where the old church stood, though the agency has not bought the rights from the church to do so.