Perhaps it’s because the 9/11 attacks occurred so recently that I find the idea of a gift shop inside the recently opened 9/11 Museum to be tasteless and, as the New York Post says, “absurd.”
It may also be that the gift shop is located inside the museum itself that strikes the wrong chord. The Gettysburg National Cemetery has a gift shop located near the battlefield in the wonderful Gettysburg Heritage Center — a place to put on your bucket list if you’re a civil war or Americana buff at all. Similarly, the USS Arizona Memorial runs a bookstore/gift shop in another place dripping with history, the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.
These are appropriate places to place a commercial establishment — close to but not on hallowed ground. Not so the 9/11 Museum and some of the families of the lost are complaining.
The 9/11 museum’s cavernous boutique offers a vast array of souvenir goods. For example: FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts ($22) and caps ($19.95); earrings molded from leaves and blossoms of downtown trees ($20 to $68); cop and firefighter charms by Pandora and other jewelers ($65); “United We Stand” blankets.
There are bracelets, bowls, buttons, mugs, mousepads, magnets, key chains, flags, pins, stuffed animals, toy firetrucks, cellphone cases, tote bags, books and DVDs.
Even FDNY vests for dogs come in all sizes.
After paying $24 admission for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $15 for kids 7 to 17, visitors can shop till they drop.
“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” Diane Horning said.
She and husband Kurt never recovered the remains of their son Matthew, 26, a database administrator for Marsh & McLennan and aspiring guitarist.
About 8,000 unidentified body parts are now stored out of sight in a “remains repository” at the museum’s underground home.
“Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown. To sell baubles I find quite shocking and repugnant,” said Horning, who also objects to the museum cafe.
“I think it’s a money-making venture to support inflated salaries, and they’re willing to do it over my son’s dead body.
Among the museum shop’s specially designed items:
- A black and white “Darkness Hoodie” printed with an image of the Twin Towers. The pullover, like other “Darkness” items, bears the words “In Darkness We Shine Brightest.” Price: $39.
- Silk scarves printed with 1986 photos by Paula Barr, including a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. Another depicts “lunchtime on the WTC Plaza.” They go for $95 each.
And so on. Tourist gouging is a time honored tradition in these gift shops associated with historical places, so it’s hardly a surprise they want $95 bucks for a scarf. But Mrs. Horning has a point about “inflated salaries” as Breitbart reported in February:
Daniels’s salary was last reported to be $371,307. He received huge raises for three years running. As far back as 2009, there were no fewer than eleven staffers at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum who each made more than $170,000. Four had salaries higher than $320,000.
There has been controversy about the Museum since plans were unveiled 5 years ago. By most reports, much of the museum is a moving tribute to those who died. They played the political correctness game in downplaying the ideology of those who attacked us, but it is mentioned despite CAIR’s complaints.
A restaurant I can see — as long as they don’t serve “Twin Towers Burgers” or some other ridiculous dish. But a gift shop is a a reach and museum officials should consider moving it off the premises.