How did that plane landing gear wind up there?

I love a good mystery, though I usually stick to old Nero Wolfe novels. Erika wrote about this story last night, but I didn’t get to pay much attention to it until this morning. The object in question turned up in a tiny, 18 inch gap between two buildings in New York City at 51 Park place. (If that address sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the long debated site of a proposed Islamic community center / mosque.) In the midst of a pile of rubble, it’s kind of amazing that anyone made the connection that this could be part of a plane.


In fact, the first person to report the discovery while surveying the location seems to just have described it as, “an unidentified mechanical part.” Honestly, I have to wonder why a surveyor would even bother calling the police over this. If they didn’t know intuitively that it was part of a plane (they say they did not) then it pretty much looks like some metallic junk which could have been ditched in the crawl space by somebody who didn’t want to bother getting it taken to a junk yard. Why call the cops over that?

Then there’s the rope wrapped around it. The interviews with officials releasing the news to the press noted that the large chunk of metal barely fit into the crack between the buildings. Yes, it’s absolutely possible that in the crashing mayhem of the explosions with all that debris flying around, it could have just randomly become entangled with a piece of rope. But if this actually is part of one of the planes from 9-11, (that hasn’t been verified yet, and won’t until they trace the serial number on it) what sounds more likely? Is it that this huge chunk of metal falling out of the sky at terminal velocity and a rather sharp angle just happened to land exactly right to fall down in that 18 inch gap? Or that somebody lowered it down there and lost control of the rope?

I’d really love to come up with some sort of grand conspiracy theory here to pass the time on a Saturday, but the problem I keep running into is… why? What would be the point of somebody “planting” this relic in a pile of rubble and then calling attention to it? I’ve got nothing. There are only two possibilities I keep coming back to. The first is that it did, against all probability, land exactly right after the crash and fall there. The second, and more likely in my opinion, is that a worker was up on the roof in the days and weeks after the attack, found the burdensome hunk of metal on top of one of the buildings and decided to ditch it into the gap rather than having to haul it down to the street and dispose of it.

But I’d still like to see somebody interview the surveyors and ask them precisely what it was that prompted them to call the police. It’s darn peculiar, and I’ll admit I’m curious.

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