Diving for the Greek Cross takes place every year in January at Pier A of Battery Park, when a priest throws a golden cross into the frigid waters of the Hudson River and a group of brave young men dive in to retrieve it. Whoever retrieves the cross is believed to have good luck for the year and receives a special blessing at the church altar later. This ritual commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in Jordan River and is a long revered Greek tradition, known as Epiphany. It is celebrated in many places outside of Greece where there is a more or less established Greek community with a Greek Orthodox parish. The ceremony in New York City is perhaps among the most challenging, as the waters of Hudson River are simply icy in winter. This ritual has been held by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church since the day the church was established in 1916 in lower Manhattan. The Cross Diving takes place around January 7, which is the day of Greek Orthodox Christmas.
The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was originally located in Cedar Street near the World Trade Center and was completely destroyed during September 11 terrorist attack. Its temporary home is Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Brooklyn.