‘Ground Zero’ mosque: Developer rethinks unpopular plan

This modern interior vision of Park51 may never be realized: Developer Sharif El-Gamal said he is starting from scratch on building the controversial mosque and community center.

No longer 15 stories. A new name. Severed ties with its original founder.

The controversial project known as the “Ground Zero mosque” is a far cry from its original vision.
“Everything was backward,” lead developer Sharif El-Gamal, 37, told The New York Times. “We’re going back to basics.”

El-Gamal is prepared to scrap the proposed 15-story structural redesign of the Burlington Coat Factory building, depending on the community’s input.

“If the community only wants four or five floors, it’s going to be four or five floors,” El-Gamal said.
He’s even recruited the aunt of a 9/11 victim to his advisory board.

But Barry Zelman, who lost his brother Kenneth in the attacks, said he will not support a mosque so close to Ground Zero, whether it’s four stories or fifteen.

“I believe they have the right to practice their religion,” said Zelman, 56, of Roxbury, N.J. “I still think it’s in bad taste. I still question the location.”

The mosque portion of the building has been rebranded “PrayerSpace.” But it may be five years before the property undergoes any changes, as El-Gamal still needs to raise up to $10 million. He has even severed ties with the project’s original imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. El-Gamal said the two had personality and philosophical clashes.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.