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Nikola Tesla Bust-Orthodox Serbian Church of St Sava-Fire-Manhattan-NYC-2Photo via NY Daily News

Yesterday, FDNY officials announced that some of the several hundred Easter candles may have caused the massive fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava (formerly Trinity Chapel) on 25th Street in Manhattan. On our end, we have been digging into the fate of a Nikola Tesla statue that sits in front of the church – prompted by a question from Untapped Cities reader Steven Romalewski, director of CUNY’s Mapping Service.

With help from Simeon Bankoff of the Historic Districts Council, we can confirm that the bust did survive the fire, as you can see from these post-fire photos, and it was there at least as of Tuesday night when a reader checked. Below is a photograph taken yesterday morning for us:

Nikola Tesla Bust-Orthodox Serbian Church of St Sava-Fire-Manhattan-NYC-34Photo via by Marissa Marivelli for HDC_NYC & Untapped Cities

Zoomed in shot:

Nikola Tesla Bust-Orthodox Serbian Church of St Sava-Fire-Manhattan-NYC-5Photo via by Marissa Marivelli for HDC_NYC &Untapped Cities

The Nikola Tesla statue was dedicated on January 28th, 2007 by Tesla enthusiasts with links to Serbia, where Tesla was from. Serbian artist Marina Zivic sculpted the statue and had it cast in Belgrade, the capital of the country. It sits atop a 5 foot marble pedestal. As the Tesla Memorial Society writes, “The bust represents the first image of Tesla in Manhattan that can be viewed from a place accessible to the general public.”

Nikola Tesla Bust-Orthodox Serbian Church of St Sava-Fire-Manhattan-NYC-3Tesla statue on left, photo via Daily Mail

The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was also where the 50th anniversary of Tesla’s death was commemorated in 1993. Tesla’s funeral took place in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Atop an identical marble pedestal on the side of the cathedral is the bust of scientist Michael Pupin (for which Pupin Hall at Columbia University is named after and where research for the atomic bomb took place). We’re looking into whether this one survived.

Next, see what the inside of the Cathedral of St. Sava used to look like and  step inside the Nikola Tesla hotel room at the The New Yorker where he lived and died. 

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