The Web site, History Eraser, is being passed around today, purporting to show that the “sacred ground” around the World Trade Center where a mosque/community center is planned is already littered with the likes of chain stores and strip joints. Of course, it is New York.
It’s a compelling series of images. It’s also a little misleading.
Many of the photographs don’t appear to be in the immediate neighborhood where the mosque/community center is planned.
Let’s use the incredible power of Google. Here’s Park Place, ground zero for the controversy. 51 Park Place is down near the closed Burlington Coat Factory.
If we were to walk a street over to the next block, there are some closed stores an an OTB (off-track betting) parlor.
But turning right onto Church Street instead, we head toward the World Trade Center.
Church Street is so named, apparently, because of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. This is the intersection of Church and Barclay.
You may remember the significance of the church on 9/11 when firefighters carried the body of a firefighter-chaplain to its altar. A landing gear from one of the jets ended up on its roof.
The building on the right is a federal building.
Continue walking down Church Street to the corner of Vesey Street. There are a few typical New York shops and the Stage Door Deli, across from St. Paul’s Chapel.
But turn around and there it is, or — sadly — isn’t.
We’ve walked two blocks. Now let’s cross the street and walk up Vesey. This street parallels Park Place, where the mosque/community center is planned. We can’t, of course, because it’s closed. But if we could, we’d walk a block, turn right on W. Broadway, and glance back over our shoulder.
And again as we reach the intersection of W. Broadway and Barclay.
A look to our right as we cross Barclay (the road that runs parallel between the mosque’s street and the WTC) shows nothing that screams irreverent.
And we continue walking up W. Broadway.
And here we are back at the Amish Market at the corner of W. Broadway and Park Place. Take a right to get back to the mosque/community center site.
Where’s the strip joint? It’s a block over, away from the World Trade Center site. To be clear, many of the photos on the History Eraser site are within a few blocks of the WTC site.
Opponents of the mosque claim it doesn’t belong on ‘sacred ground.’ History Eraser attempts to rebut the argument by showing that it’s not.