The New York Police Department set up one of the more eerie crime scenes at that most horrific of American crime scenes on Friday afternoon: They were clearing off an area of Lower Manhattan to inspect a piece of debris that might belong to one of the two Boeing jets flow in to the World Trade Center eleven and a half years ago.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner positively ID'd the chunk as from an airplane: "The aircraft part will not be removed until the process is completed, at which point it will secured by the NYPD Property Clerk," he said in a statement, adding that the area may also contain human remains but that surveyors of the scene had contacted authorities when they spotted what may be part of the landing gear a "clearly visible Boeing identification number" in the debris. That debris was found between two buildings: 50 Murray Street and 51 Park Place — the latter of which you may remember as the potential site of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."
Citing two law enforcement sources, NBC New York first reported the news, describing the plane debris:
A 5-foot piece of debris found near the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan is being examined as a possible fragment of a plane that hit one of the towers more than 11 years ago, NBC 4 New York has learned. Two law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York on Friday that the part was found wedged between two buildings in a very narrow alley. It bears a "Boeing" stamp, followed by a series of numbers.
CNBC's Ryan Ruggiero later published photos of the object, via the NYPD press office, and said it appeared to belong to a plane's landing mechanism. You can see how tight the fit is, which is no surprise given the density of buildings and irregular street and alley patterns in Lower Manhattan.
The discovery comes less than a month after New York City's Medical Examiner began sifting through debris collected at Ground Zero since late 2010, during the construction of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which occupies the World Trade Center's former footprint. (By April 3 the Medical Examiner's office had already found two possible human remains.)