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Who 'owns' Ground Zero?

New Yorkers say national debate over a mosque being built by Ground Zero bears little resemblance to the reality on the ground in NYC. So, the question is, who knows what's best for New York? Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  August 20, 2010; 7:47 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The property owners on 9-11-01, unless sold since then. Private property should remain private unless sold legally. The Pentagon is still US property. The land where the one plane crashed in Pa., is it still not owned by the then legal owner? Why should ground zero be any different? If we Americans want to own it, then we need to buy it from the legal owners.

Posted by: bigedpape | August 20, 2010 2:15 PM

Larry Silverstein owns "ground zero". A property that he bought for hundreds of millions, and thanks to the attack on 9/11 being ruled as two events, made Mr. Silverstein billions of dollars in insurance claims.

Posted by: ripper368 | August 20, 2010 3:26 PM

I believe Port Authority of New York is the owner of record. They're involved somehow. Is there a point to this question?

I infer that some argue "We all own it" and so some sort of popular vote should control who builds at it or near it, but that would be socialism, would it not?

Posted by: summicron1 | August 20, 2010 6:54 PM

I agree with bigedpape. The area is a mixture of private and public (including the Port Authority) and should be under their. Are those "conservatives" who want to take over that control are just "closet socialists"?

Posted by: pjohn2 | August 21, 2010 7:57 AM

Thanks, pjohn2. That's a good question about the "conservatives" trying to control private land. The property where the proposed community center/mosque would be built is privately owned, not public land, not owned by the Port Authority, and not owned by the City or State of New York.

Posted by: vklip | August 21, 2010 8:04 AM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the actual "Ground Zero", that is, the site of the World Trade Center, bounded Vesey, Church, Liberty and West Streets. The Burlington Coat Factory, site of the proposed Cordoba House, is of course private property that is a quarter-mile away from the site of the destroyed towers.

Posted by: FrankIBC | August 21, 2010 8:45 AM

Never forget — conservative demagogues own it.

Posted by: bdunn1 | August 21, 2010 8:51 AM

Can we get off the "ground zero" stuff? This isn't 1947, the cold war is long since in the rear-view mirror, and a nuclear bomb wasn't set off on this site. The site is a real estate location in lower Manhattan upon which an enormous tragedy was perpetrated. Insistence on denominating this site in this way does nothing but make for incinerating rhetoric, and obstructs and obscures moderation and tolerance. Something really bad happened there, but it's still privately-owned real estate.

Posted by: sailmaker1943 | August 21, 2010 9:34 AM

There are two opposing forces, one is against and the other for the construction of the mosque. The winner will be those that can wield the most power. Since the Mosque is in Democratic voting Manhattan which supported Obama in the presidential election, it will be built. Even the mayor of NYC realized this when he approved its construction. Those against it are mostly outsiders that have no influence in NYC politics.

Posted by: morristhewise | August 21, 2010 10:01 AM

I read today that the developer of the Cordoba Mosque have no intention of changing the location despite the protest from the families of 911 and overwhelming outrage across the nation.The so called "modern" Muslims don't care at all about this nation or what we feel. Modern or not Muslims have been attacking this country for 20 years. Their insensitive, arrogant and aggressive stance now on this particular site in the shadow of the graveyard of 911 is one more attack on the US. The Muslim religion is the most intolerant in the world. How dare they preach to us? They are causing huge problems in England and France now with demands for Sharia law which is incompatible with anything in this country.

Posted by: katie6 | August 21, 2010 10:11 AM

"FRANKIBC wrote: The Burlington Coat Factory, site of the proposed Cordoba House, is of course private property that is a quarter-mile away from the site of the destroyed towers."

My understanding is that the Burlington Coat Factory site is around 400 feet not 1320 feet(1/4 mile) from ground Zero.

So my question is how will it be built and by whom? I don't believe there is a construction worker in the US that would work there. I also believe that the contractor, when it's name is revealed, will carry this effort as a stigma for as long as they exist.

This is a blatant effort by a cult religion established by a 7th century society whose average intelligence was that of a three year old to remind the American people of their vulnerability.

A cult that is based on the sayings of one individual claiming an event that only he was a witness and part of. Oh yes a 7th century Jim Jones. The muslim following is true mass hysteria.

Posted by: captain3292 | August 21, 2010 11:25 AM

It's not a mosque and it's not at ground zero, so who cares who owns it. Again the mostly joo owned media trying and succeedintg in whipping up anti muslim sentiment and stoking the flames of religious bigotry. It's time we wised up and started questioning the messenger.

Posted by: TRACIETHEDOLPHIN | August 21, 2010 11:54 AM

This article repeats two confusions. One is that the mosque is at ground zero. The other is the question of ownership. The site of the intended mosque is owned by the people who intend to build the mosque. That land is not at ground zero or even visible from ground zero. The people who own the land have the right to build whatever they want on it as long as they conform the zoning regulations in that area. Other buildings in the area are a variety of retail, two Christian Churches, and a massive 15 story Post Office.
People from wherever can express their opinion about what they think should be done with the ground zero site. But the reality is that the decision has been made to rebuild on the site and even use the site itself for commercial purposes. The site is surrounded by the mixture of large buildings that is characteristic of one of the centers of our largest city. One more building two blocks away and out of sight it not going to make any real difference to anyone. In any case, the people who are the legal owners of that site are the only ones who have any real decision making power over what gets built there.

Posted by: dnjake | August 21, 2010 12:12 PM

Captain3292 - the northern boundary of the World Trade Center site is Vesey Street, which is two blocks from the Burlington Coat Factory building. The sites of the towers are several hundred feet south of Vesey Street.

"a cult religion established by a 7th century society whose average intelligence was that of a three year old to remind the American people of their vulnerability.

A cult that is based on the sayings of one individual claiming an event that only he was a witness and part of. Oh yes a 7th century Jim Jones. The muslim following is true mass hysteria."

Thanks again for reminding us why we have the First Amendment, to protect us from religious bigots like you.

traciethedolphin -

Sorry, but you fall into that category, too. The folks stirring up this non-issue are Christian fundamentalists.

Posted by: FrankIBC | August 21, 2010 12:14 PM

The point of the question is to silence those against building the mosque near GZ by implying that they have no saying in the ultimate decision.

The question wants to demarcate the boundaries to which your opinion should influence the decision. Because GZ is in NYC and many New Yorkers are for the mosque, the question wants imply that your opinion shouldn't be used to make a determination on the issue. Only new yorkers should decide, that's the option according to this article.

The interesting thing is that, even if GZ is in NYC, the ultimate decision will not have our desires into account. GZ is in the hands of a real estate mogul and the city/state. As you know, the people are irrelevant when those two elements are tied together.

Posted by: coqui44 | August 21, 2010 12:15 PM

the New York Times NAILS IT:

WASHINGTON — Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.
................

Today's conservatives: making America less safe and getting our citizens killed since 2001!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | August 21, 2010 12:20 PM

Re: bigedpape; The land where the one plane crashed in Pa., is it still not owned by the then legal owner?"
------------------------------------

Actually the PA land was Taken by eminant domain or threat theirof. Not very American..

Posted by: comradcitizen | August 21, 2010 12:23 PM

Another silly, contemplative, suggestive question. The person or group that holds the deed to the property own it.

It is contemplative on purpose. If the media can sell the idea that it is the property of some ethereal identity or moral value like sensitivity then the media will end up deciding how and for what purpose the property is used.

It seems as though honoring feelings and emotion of a small and select group of people trump the RIGHTS and feelings of others and the protection of Constitutional principles.

Posted by: dikaslogos | August 21, 2010 1:18 PM

@Captain3292: What about that necrophiliac delusional Jesus who preached to the white trash of Roman society? Those with an education were smart enough to know he was nuts.

And what about the Bronze Age superstitions of a bunch of illiterate whose god commands genocide?

This opposition is blatant effort by the same liars, cheats, and frauds who lied and deceived us into invading Iraq. Who were perfectly content to let Osama bin Forgotten get a free pass so they could play General. Who have the blood of our troops on their hands.

They are scum.

Posted by: Garak | August 21, 2010 1:20 PM

Bad poll answers.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the land. Larry Silverstein won a bid of several billion dollars just months before 9/11 to LEASE several buildings:
One, Two, Four and Five.

The controversy over the Cultural Center is truly disturbing. The hate and fear mongering is undermining the very thing these opponents invoke over and over in their opposition to everything - the Constitution. Their excuse for being against this Cultural Center is sensitivity to the families. But what explains what is happening across the country?

The terrorists don't have to do anything but sit back and watch us destroy ourselves.

Posted by: FauxReal | August 21, 2010 1:35 PM

Whomever is responsible for giving this issue "legs" have accomplished their goal.

The motivation and intent is obviously to divide, polarize and incite hostility among our people.

We do not deserve the societal damage this ridiculous, nonsensical debate the media has formulate and fomented for far to long.

Posted by: dikaslogos | August 21, 2010 1:41 PM

The Port Authority owns the land underneath Ground Zero. The property owners own the Burlington Coat Factory. The ability of the Islamophobic right wing to conflate these two properties in the minds of most Americans has been a masterstroke of propaganda, not to mention their ability to confuse the proposed Cordoba Building Cultural Center with some sort of a secret terrorist hideout. You have to give these folks credit: They know what they want; they know how to get it; and they'll never let any inconvenient facts get in their way.

Posted by: andym108 | August 21, 2010 2:47 PM

FRANKIBC- If you check, you'll find that the majority of the media, not just in America, but around the world is owned and/or controlled by jews. This news paper is no exception. They are the ones that control what gets printed, regardless of who says it. They just print what the fundamentalists say because it serves their purposes.

Posted by: TRACIETHEDOLPHIN | August 21, 2010 3:17 PM

FRANKIBC- If you check, you'll find that the majority of the media, not just in America, but around the world is owned and/or controlled by jews. This news paper is no exception. They are the ones that control what gets printed, regardless of who says it. They just print what the fundamentalists say because it serves their purposes.
*******************************************heHey! See that flying pig?

Posted by: st50taw | August 21, 2010 3:47 PM

Known GOP offender Ed Rollins, was on "Face The Nation" Sunday, claiming exactly how the "9/11 families" are opposed to the mosque. As in, monolithically.

Attn: Ed - Simple 1st Amendment freedom, which you can learn up on by Googling. It's not hard, and it's not changing.

Your ignorance is astounding, and you insult the intelligence of the 9/11 families by implying that they aren't able to understand the Amendment either...

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | August 21, 2010 4:38 PM

"A cult that is based on the sayings of one individual"
Sounds like Christianity to me.
Whoever holds the deed owns the land.

Posted by: alterego3 | August 21, 2010 4:48 PM

Whoever owns the deed owns the land. The dispute over whether to build the mosque is not about the Twin Towers site. It is about a different site, owned by private owners or the mosque. The "mosque" is actually an activity center which will include a mosque and it will be about a block closer that an existing mosque so objectives claim it is about the height. I don't see. A Christian right extremist, Timothy McVeigh and killed hundreds of people we care about. A Christian church sits next to the site and noone objected. We know the difference between the crazies who claim to be Christians and many of us know the difference between the crazies who claim to be Muslims and pervert the religion and the millions and millions of Muslims who did not support those beliefs. It is troubling when people don't.

Posted by: withersb | August 21, 2010 6:31 PM

Rove, Gringrinch, Soap Opera Sarah, the desperate Huckabees and their inbred teabagger cousins of Fred Phelps own it now as a another of their hateful and divisive Atwater wedge issues.

Let's hope the 75% of Americans who don't sit and drool over Elder Beck and RepuBLicans smears can see through this as nothing more.

Posted by: areyousaying | August 21, 2010 6:40 PM

IMHO, the land on which the Twin Towers stood was and remains private property.

Symbolically, Ground Zero belongs to all Americans who support the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

Most assuredly, the site does not belong to terrorists or hate mongers, WHETHER FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC.

Posted by: bloommarko4 | August 21, 2010 6:54 PM

My question is this , are there any moslems working at at ground zero now in rebuilding WTC, and will moslems be allowed to work in the WTC when it is completed. The arguments I'm hearing against the building of the center is that all moslems were responsible for the horrible act of Sepember 11th. So it follows that no moslem should be allowed anywhere near that sight. Some people are even suggesting no more mosques should be built in the US. Today it's the moslems tomorrow it might be me, or it might be you. We have reached a state of total disconnect in this country.

Posted by: clarendon67 | August 21, 2010 7:03 PM

My question is this , are there any moslems working at at ground zero now in rebuilding WTC, and will moslems be allowed to work in the WTC when it is completed. The arguments I'm hearing against the building of the center is that all moslems were responsible for the horrible act of Sepember 11th. So it follows that no moslem should be allowed anywhere near that sight. Some people are even suggesting no more mosques should be built in the US. Today it's the moslems tomorrow it might be me, or it might be you. We have reached a state of total disconnect in this country.

Posted by: clarendon67 | August 21, 2010 7:04 PM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the World Trade Center site. Larry Silverstein is the lease holder for the property. The properties surrounding the site are private property owned by individuals. The owners of those properties have the right to develop them as they see fit. We are still a country of laws.

Posted by: codexjust1 | August 21, 2010 7:05 PM

If you have the deed, you own it. End of story...

Posted by: jpenergy | August 21, 2010 7:21 PM

I agree with CODEXJUST1. His answer is patently correct and the only true answer.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | August 21, 2010 8:37 PM

Folks, it's not a mosque and it's not at "ground zero".

No one has a right to fulminate about this in ignorance of the facts.

Posted by: HydeParker | August 21, 2010 9:13 PM

This, too, shall pass.

There have been countless massacres, betrayals, ambushes, and horrific deeds done in human history.

No one owns any part of this world for very long.

All atrocities fade, with the passage of time.

Does anyone recall that Mitradates killed thousands of Romans on the same day, circa 84 BC, for example?

How about when Genghis Khan killed the entire populations of large cities?

We are only here for a brief time.

Posted by: samsara15 | August 21, 2010 9:28 PM

Folks, it's not a mosque and it's not at "ground zero".
No one has a right to fulminate about this in ignorance of the facts.
Posted by: HydeParker
-------------------------------------
If it is not a mosque then it is not protected by the first amendment, is it?

You cannot say both that it is only a community center and that the first amendment applies.

These two claims are inconsistent with each other.

Posted by: rohit57 | August 21, 2010 9:43 PM

Ground Zero is more than a piece of real estate. For supporters of the blight of humanity that executed the attacks, Ground Zero is a symbol of martyrdom and vindication of their efforts.

For the rest of us Ground Zero represents tragic loss of life, loss of trust in a certain type of people, increased security, increased costs and most of all a heightened sense of vulnerability.

If the brethren of the perpetrators want to establish an Islamic whatever the collective outpouring of anguish must not be ignored. They do so at risk of deeper schisms and creating more problems than can be solved with the establishment of of their religious centre.

Back off guys and let the victims grieve.


Posted by: MG-NewZealand | August 21, 2010 10:48 PM

Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm wind of change in the Community organizers ( not of the Obama ilk) , who apparently intend to sue the entire US Muslim community in civil class action lawsuits for harboring the fliers and honor killers in their midst, and hence contributing to the destruction and losses.

It appears that all of their Mosque propertys in the USA, is the award the class action lawsuits will be seeking as compensation bankrupting the plans of Islam here.

This developing case apparently has teeth since several mosques in the USA have already been proven by the DOJ and Feds to have been involved in money for terrorism, aiding and abetting etc.

The new Supreme Court ruling meriting that support of terrorist is illegal, is apparently why it has begun to form up.

The entire USA citizenry might just sign up as victims in such a lawsuit, and definitely all friends and families who suffered through the deaths not only that day , but those of the soldiers dispatched afterwards.


Nothing in the USA should suprise anyone.

It looks like Americans will use the civil action to Nationalize and stop the spread of the old ottoman empire, doesn't it?

This Mission Statement is apparently not an inane folly :

Liberty Central is activating informed American patriots who are seeking knowledge of the core founding principles and passionate about preserving freedom and liberty. By providing tailored information, encouraging civil discourse, and inspiring activism, Liberty Central brings people together to protect the core founding principles. In as little as 3-5 minutes a day, everyday citizens can connect through LibertyCentral.org to meet like-minded others, get their voices heard and direct America’s future course.


Maybe Muslims shouldn't have spouted off so much to Americans about American law and rights.
It looks to be worse than the Catholic Church's arrogance towards it's rape victims....and look where that got them in the USA.
As I recll it was an Arizona Democrat named Rick Romely that first prosecuted a Catholic dignitary, so expect no show of Partisan help for the Muslims.

Posted by: dottydo | August 22, 2010 3:07 PM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns ground zero.


So therefore, the People of New York own half a share, and the People of New Jersey own half a share.

Posted by: SummerDreams | August 22, 2010 6:19 PM

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