Downtown Digest

Park51 leaders are threatened and slandered

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, have received death threats in the past couple of weeks for their association with Park51.

“Threats were received that are being investigated by the N.Y.P.D.,” according to Detective Cheryl Crispin of the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information.

“For the record, my life is under threat,” Khan recently said during a debate on A.B.C.’s “This Week” news program.

Hisham Elzanaty, the principal investor of Park51, has also been receiving hate mail, according to one of his attorneys. “People are saying he is a supporter of Hamas,” the attorney said, adding that Elzanaty, his client, was “upset” to be associated with a terrorist group.

“It impacts his kids, how his wife and children will be treated in the [Roslyn Heights] community, and how his children would be treated by other children in the school,” the lawyer said.

Embassy Suites lays off employees

On January 5 of next year, the Embassy Suites Battery Park Hotel will be closing for renovations. The refurbishments will be made as the hotel transitions into the Conrad, which will open at the end of 2011 as the first of its kind in New York City.

Embassy Suites will be laying off 250 of its employees as a result of the transition.

“We understand that these renovation efforts do displace employees at a sensitive time in the economy, and we are working in every way possible to ensure our staff is provided with quality severance and benefits packages,” said Mark Ricci, director of corporate communications at Hilton Worldwide, owner of Conrad and Embassy Suites.

The hotel will be accepting guest reservations up until January 3, 2011. Ricci added there will be no internal disruptions to guests prior to the close of the property.

P.S. 276 Hosts Ribbon-Cutting

Students at P.S. 276 now have their very own school building, and they celebrated this morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 55 Battery Place. New York State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, school administrators and parents were there to celebrate.

The students were incubated last year at the Tweed Courthouse, which is currently the temporary home to Spruce Street (P.S. 397) students. They’ll be moving into their permanent home, Beekman Tower — at 8 Spruce Street — in Fall 2011.