King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may purchase the closed-down St. Vincent Medical Center and would consider housing the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” at the West Village location, according to an exclusive report in the New York Post. The King would also reopen some of the medical units at St. Vincent’s, which shuttered due to bankruptcy in the spring. Soon after, and then unrelated, national outrage erupted over the placement of the mosque, though no one — especially opportunistic Republican politicians from the Midwest — really knew what they were talking about. Actually, the original proposed location isn’t really that close to the World Trade Center! St. Vincent’s, though, is even further.
Rumors of the King’s plan come from a Manhattan attorney, Dudley Gaffin, who would bid for the medical center as a “PR move,” according to sources that have “heard Gaffin’s pitch.”
“He wants to show that Muslims can do good works,” explained another source. City government, though, is mum on the plan:
Gaffin said the mosque and cultural center would likely be built in a space now occupied by a shuttered nursing facility on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue.
Sources said Gaffin claimed to have broached the topic with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but reps for both denied it.
“No one here has heard of this,” said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.
Don’t hold your breath, but if anyone could get this done, it’s probably the King with over $20 billion to his name.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 19, 2010