NEW YORK -- A piece of a landing gear believed to be from one of the commercial jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center towers during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has been discovered wedged behind a building that became the site of a controversial Muslim center in Lower Manhattan.
The bizarre discovery was announced Friday by police, who said the gear part was between the rear of a building on Park Place and the building behind it, on Murray Street. According to the statement from police spokesman Paul Browne, the gear was found during an inspection of the rear of 51 Park Place, and includes a clearly visible Boeing identification number.
The site is about 2 1/2 blocks from the former World Trade Center towers, which were destroyed when hijackers slammed two jets into them. At that time, the building at 51 Park housed a clothing store, which was damaged in the 2001 attacks and subsequently closed.
The next owner's plan to use the building for an Islamic center, including a prayer space, divided politicians and relatives of Sept. 11 victims, with some saying the project was an insult because it was so close to the World Trade Center site. Supporters of the project, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said opening an Islamic center at the site was an ideal way to improve ties among New York's diverse groups.