Plans to build a mosque near the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan have stirred outrage far and wide, but for many who work in the neighborhood, it's live and let live. "I don’t know what the big deal is," a stripper from the nearby New York Dolls club told the Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog. "It’s freedom of religion, you know?" Adds another, who lost eight friends on 9/11, "They’re not building a mosque in the World Trade Center. The people who did it are not going to the mosque."
A patron at a betting parlor on Church Street, a block from the proposed Park51 Islamic center site, agreed that it's a sensitive issue but scoffed at the idea that the area is "hallowed ground," as Sarah Palin and others have suggested. "The bums used to sit right in front of it," he said of the former Burlington Coat Factory store that would house the mosque.