Sisterhood Blog

The Strip Clubs Near the 'Hallowed Ground' That Is Ground Zero

By Sarah Seltzer

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In the midst of the never-ending storm about the Park51 — the Islamic cultural center formerly known as Cordoba House — in Lower Manhattan, which is causing more than a little controversy due to its proximity to Ground Zero, The Daily News ran a funny piece about other interesting “cultural centers” that lie a mere stone’s throw from the former WTC site.

While the piece devolved into reiterating the same arguments about the mosque we’re hearing everywhere else, reporter Erin Einhorn started the story brilliantly by zeroing in on two such businesses.

..the Pussycat Lounge, a strip club where a photo of a nearly naked woman marks its location just two blocks from where the World Trade Center stood. Or the Thunder Lingerie and peep show next door, where the marquee sports an American flag above a window display of sex toys and something called a ‘power pump.

Talking Points Memo takes note of) another such establishment in the area: The New York Dolls gentleman’s club. In a post-Giuliani Manhattan, where these kinds of entertainment venues are increasingly rare in high-trafficked areas, it’s remarkable the way they’ve proliferated and remained strong in a small radius that opponents of the new Islamic center are dubbing “hallowed ground.”

While strip joints like these objectify and demean women and certainly belie any so-called sanctity in the vicinity, opponents of the “mosque” are up in arms about Park51’s Daisy Khan, a Muslim feminist whom I interviewed a few years ago for a women’s leadership dinner, and whose goal includes empowering Muslim women to integrate their religious and secular identities in a way that’s explicitly modeled after Jewish and Christian women in America.


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