by Jordan Carr
When it comes to the Cordoba House / Park 51 project, better known as GROUND ZERO TERROR MOSQUE, it really is not worth discussing with people down in Lower Manhattan. That is because they do not really want to talk about it.
Maybe it is a good idea to build an Evil Terrorist Mosque and Nailcare Salon right by the World Trade Center-not that it’s like, right there, but still. Whether you believe this community center (at Ground Zero. Where Americans were killed. By Muslims) is a slap in the face of the victims of 9/11 or that it is, in their words, “promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture,” fortunately most people agree there are no other opinions to be had on the topic. Evil terrorist Tower of Doom, or multicultural beacon of hope that will end prejudice forever as if this were Remember the Titans. These are literally the only thought choices.
Trying to see if there were any answers to my questions about this project, I went looking for some. Spoiler alert, I found none, which is to say that I did not find definitive proof that this whole thing was not a terrorist plot. What a scoop that would have been! What I did find was a strip club that is much closer to the World Trade Center site than the planned MUSLIM community center, and an Off Track Betting location where a man in a FDNY hat didn’t want to talk to me about the mosque. (Nobody there did. They are there to watch horses.)
I found a Christian Science Reading Room, and St. Peter’s Church, where the pastor told me he was for the project-although, just after he turned away, the receptionist put her hand to her chest and whispered, “I’m against it.”
I also found an Amish Market that suspiciously used all kinds of electronics.
At 45–47 Park Place, the future site of Park 51 (I guess named for the address somehow?) I found a wretch of a building that used to be a Burlington Coat Factory. The building is unassuming enough that I walked past it a few times before realizing that it was the site of the big evil thing, or even something anyone cared about.
There was literally nothing there.
I assumed that if people really thought there was something terrible moving into their neighborhood, somebody would be on alert or something.
There was just a hot afternoon and a glass door with a sticker that I’m told means something to the effect of “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet,” the common phrase. And inside were two security guys who also did not want to talk about it.