By Chris Francescani
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the commercial airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, has been discovered, wedged between two lower Manhattan buildings, police said on Friday.
The piece of landing gear found in a narrow alleyway behind 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street in Manhattan's financial district includes a "clearly visible" Boeing identification number, New York City Police spokesman Paul Browne said.
Browne said the discovery was made on Wednesday by a construction crew inspecting the rear of the Park Place building. The location is the site of an Islamic prayer space and community center that opened amid controversy in the fall of 2011, two blocks from Ground Zero.
The piece of landing gear, wedged one story above ground, is about 5 feet high and 3 feet wide (0.9 meter).
Police have secured the area between the buildings and are treating it as a potential crime scene, said Browne.
Nearly 12 years after two commercial airliners smashed into the two Manhattan skyscrapers, destroying them and killing nearly 3,000 people, city officials continue to turn up debris from the attack and identify human remains.
It will be up to the New York City medical examiner's office to determine whether to sift the soil around the site where the landing gear was found for more evidence.
This month the medical examiner's office said 39 possible human remains were discovered in 9/11 debris hauled years ago to the New York City borough of Staten Island, according to CBS News.
Since 2006, the painstaking work has led to 34 new positive identifications of victims.
(Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Paul Thomasch, James Dalgleish and Kenneth Barry)