St. Nicholas' dome is silhouetted against the World Trade Center towers before the attack. Founded in 1916 by Greek immigrants who purchased a building originally constructed in 1832, the tiny church (capacity of about 50 worshippers) received a gift of icons from the last Emperor of Russia at its consecration. The parents of actor Telly Savalas were among the original members. Until 1993 it was one of two canonical Greek Orthodox parishes that retained the Old Calendar.
One parishoner, engaged in maintenance chores, was in the church on the morning of September 11th. He escaped unharmed, but the collapse of the towers buried the edifice beneath a mountain of steel girders and concrete.