This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to deny protected status to the 152-year-old building at 45-51 Park Place that would be demolished to make way for a 500-seat performing arts center & lecture hall, culinary school, exhibition space, swimming pool, fitness gym, basketball court, restaurant, library, art studios and childcare. Oh, and also a "prayer space," commonly referred to as the Ground Zero mosque by critics who don't know how to read a map. Once the Commission lifts the project's last remaining hurdle, most of its opponents are expected to calmly accept the decision and move on with their lives.

Well, maybe just one more protest for old time's sake. There's a big one planned for September 11th, when demonstrators will gather outside the site of the proposed mosque, which is now officially called Park51. Opponents say the Islamic center is too close for comfort to the World Trade Center site, and they also speculate that the project's donors have Al Qaeda ties. Pamela Geller's blog, a sort of central node for the Islamophobic right, claims that one major supporter of the project is the Saudi-based conglomerate Xenel Industries, which is supposedly connected to the still-prominent bin Laden family.

But of course the Landmarks Commission is not tasked with evaluating what may or may not replace the building at 45-51 Park Place, and their votes are based on whether the "historic" designation is deserved. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who supports the Islamic center, tells the Daily News, "Their job is to take a narrow look at the architectural design and whether it has real landmark value and not to get concerned about any brouhaha."

That doesn't appease Sally Regenhard, an activist for 9/11 victims' families, who says, "The fix is in. It's not in vogue for people to step out and say something against this mosque." And former CIA operative Gary Berntsen, a Republican hoping to unseat Sen. Chuck Schumer, told Capitol Confidential earlier this month, "Militants are using these mosques. They are using front organizations against us. They are using the west’s respect and tolerance for all religions against us... We would not have allowed a Shinto shrine to be placed at the front gate of Pearl Harbor."