Mayor Bloomberg: Deal To Rebuild Greek Orthodox Church Near Ground Zero May Be Near


Celeste Katz

A caller to Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio appearance with WOR’s John Gambling posed a question NY-1 congressional hopeful George Demos has been pushing for weeks: “Good morning. I’d like to know why nothing has been done to rebuild St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church down at Ground Zero.”

Republican Demos is a former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney who hopes to take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.

He has set himself somewhat apart from the cacophony of objections to the proposed Park51 mosque and Islamic center by bringing up the issue of the church, which was crushed by the falling South Tower on Sept. 11.

Demos has blamed the Port Authority for the slow pace of the reconstruction.

Said Bloomberg in answer to this morning’s caller:

“It’s been a bone of contention [between] the church and the Port Authority. And I’ve gotten involved mainly because the archbishop lives directly across the street from me, and he comes out with his staff and we chit-chat. He doesn’t come over to borrow a cup of coffee, but that’s okay. And I think they’re very close [to] working with the Port Authority to find a location down there. There was one, I think the church wanted it, but it didn’t fit in with the Port Authority plans because it would have interfered with other things, but there will be a new church built down there. And Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority, I know is working with the Greek Orthodox Church to try to find some ways to get this done.”

Demos, who has largely been written about less than his GOP rivals, Chris Cox and Randy Altschuler, has gotten some media coverage out of the issue — although not all of it has been positive.