The National Herald Visits the World Trade Center and St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas National Shrine Church at the World Trade Center. Photo by Costas Bej

NEW YORK – The World Trade Center has now reached its final form and 90% has already been handed over to tourists and New Yorkers. The unique aspects of the site that keep alive the memory of September 11, 2001 include the historic St. Nicholas National Shrine Church, which has taken its final form, the National September 11 Museum and Memorial, the monuments that have been created at the foundations of Twin Towers, and the sculptures dedicated to the heroes and witnesses of that fateful day.

Every year, the journalistic staff of the National Herald performs its own pilgrimage.

This year was different from all the previous ones because it is the first time after 16 years without the construction noise and an overwhelming presence of the police and security forces.

It is the first time you feel that the World Trade Center belongs to you, to the New Yorkers and the tourists who flood Lower Manhattan.

PHOTO KOSTA BEJ

The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas is the only place of worship that was completely destroyed on September 11 and the last structure on the site to be built and has attracted the interest of the media and international agencies including the Associated Press.

St. Nicholas National Shrine Church is located within the one-acre Liberty Park. At the westernmost point of the park is the America’s Response Monument with the HorseSoldier Statue, dedicated to the heroes of the World Trade Center and the United States Special Forces.

Two weeks ago, The Sphere, a large metallic sculpture by German sculptor Fritz Koenig, which once stood in the middle of Austin J. Tobin Plaza, between the Twin Towers and was recovered from the rubble after the September 11 attacks was placed in the middle of Liberty Park. The 2001 damage to The Sphere is visible.

The Greek-owned restaurants in the area TNH visited on Thursday, September 7 were busy, but most of the owners were vacationing in the homeland.

The Sphere and the Freedom Tower. PHOTO KOSTA BEJ

Essex World Cafe at 112 Liberty Street is the closest restaurant to St. Nicholas, which had been hit by the terrorist attack. The owner, Yannis Kostallas, told reporters from the Reading Eagle about the importance of photographs from the World Trade Center in New York, and even talked about his relationship with firefighters and police officers who sacrificed their lives on duty.

This newspaper is headquartered in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania, and journalist Jim Lewis spoke with awe for the historic community of Saints Constantine and Helen, for former President Konstantinos Kraras and other Greek expatriates who celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Kostallas pointed out that “the World Trade Center, 16 years later, is unrecognizable.” “The 3rd and 4th skyscrapers have already been completed and most of them have already accepted the tenants, so you realize that now the World Trade Center has been handed over to the citizens,” he said.

Christos Tsatsaris, who along with John Boutsis owns the John Street Florist at 100 William Street in Lower Manhattan, said that on the busy day of September 11, 2001 he was on vacation in Greece.

His store was not damaged by the attack itself, but was affected by the fact that many of his clients – mostly large companies – were leaving Manhattan.

“Today, the situation in Lower Manhattan has changed, 50 hotels have been built and tourism is booming. This affects restaurants and other shops in the area including the Greek community,” Tsatsaris said.

PHOTO KOSTA BEJ
PHOTO KOSTA BEJ
PHOTO KOSTA BEJ

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