Anyone who has been to NYC knows that the difference a block makes is remarkable – to a neighborhood, to safety, to commerce.
That is an absolutely true statement. Walk a block and all of a sudden throngs of tourists just vanish. In another direction, a block can be the turn from upstanding sophistication to what looks like an industrial ghetto.
Besides, there are already all kinds of crazy institutions in the city to include a giant Scientology center half a block off Times Square. A friend of mine and I went there once so we could “see in the lions den” hoping to find a bunch of crazy kooks to make fun of.
What people should really be pissed off about is that Ground Zero is still a damn hole in the ground. NYC is capable of putting huge skyscrapers up from nothing to fully conducting business inside of 2-3 years … I watched it happen all over while I still worked there. If people wanted to “make a statement against extremism”, that statement should be in the form of Ground Zero’s replacement building as a defiance. A small religious center off to the side should amount to nothing beside it. But instead, nearly 10 years later there is still nothing so people have nothing to blame but themselves.
People who live in downtown NYC, time-honored home of successive ethnic minorities, are not like conservatives from the Bible Belt. They are comfortable with the melting pot, and would not be the least frightened by a Mosque, or think it inappropriate in the proposed neighborhood.
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