How did we miss this in our Morning Read?
Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama have had their say. So have Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, everyone running for town council from here to Tacoma, construction workers nearby, 9/11 first responders, 9/11 families, your roommate. But what exactly do the strippers of Lower Manhattan think of the Ground Zero Mosque project?
The Wall Street Journal sent reporter Andrew Grossman to go on a fact-finding mission to the strip clubs surrounding Ground Zero to get their views.
As supporters held signs extolling religious freedom at the site of the proposed Islamic center Wednesday, a stripper who gave her name as Cassandra was working the afternoon shift at New York Dolls on Murray Street – just around the corner. She worried that calls to prayer from the mosque at Park51 might wake up neighbors. But when she was told that the organizers aren’t planning loudspeakers, she said she didn’t have a problem with the project.
“I don’t know what the big deal is,” Cassandra said. “It’s freedom of religion, you know?”
But if Ground Zero has been made sacred by tragedy, it’s hard to say the same for the Pussycat Lounge one block south of the site. The front entrance of the strip club and bar, which has been there for more than four decades, offers a clear view of the ongoing construction at the World Trade Center site. There weren’t many customers on Wednesday afternoon, when a television reporter stood in the middle of the street filming a report on the Park51 controversy.
Inside, a bartender who said her name was Dasha offered brief remarks against the proposed Islamic center. She said she’s uneasy about organized religion in general.
But Chris, the stripper who volunteered in the Ground Zero recovery, sat on a barstool in a tiny, shiny red dress and defended Park51. “They’re not building a mosque in the World Trade Center,” she pointed out. “It’s all good. You have your synagogues and your churches. And you have a mosque.”