The museum at Ground Zero tells the dark story of the 9/11 terror attacks with spectacular artifacts and exhibits. It pays heart-wrenching tribute to the innocents and heroes killed that day.
It also has a gift shop.
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.
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.
- “Survivor Tree” earrings, named after a pear tree that stood in the World Trade Center plaza and survived 9/11. Made of bronze and freshwater pearls, a pair costs $64. A leaf ornament molded from the swamp white oaks at the memorial is said to change from amber to dark brown “and sometimes pink around the time of the 9/11 anniversary.”
- Heart-shaped rocks inscribed with slogans such as “United in Hope” and “Honor.” One rock bears a quote by Virgil that is emblazoned on a massive blue-tiled wall in the museum: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” It costs $39.
John Feal, a Ground Zero demolition supervisor who runs the FealGood Foundation for ailing 9/11 responders, said he understands the need to raise money for costs, including six-figure salaries for execs like CEO Joe Daniels, who takes in $378,000.
But Feal blasted the store’s opening Thursday, when only 9/11 relatives, rescuers and recovery workers were invited to visit. Those free visits will continue through Tuesday. The museum opens to the public Wednesday.
“These people are suffering, and they don’t need to be reaching into their pockets,” Feal said. “The museum could have gone six days without asking for money.”
The museum plans to fund its $63 million operating budget with admission fees and donations.
“All net proceeds from our sales are dedicated to developing and sustaining” the museum, reads a notice at the store and online, where items are also sold. “Thank you for helping to build a lasting place for remembrance, reflection, and learning for years to come.”
In a twist, a plaque says the store was “made possible through the generosity of Paul Napoli and Marc Bern,” partners in a law firm that reaped $200 million in taxpayer-funded fees and expenses after suing the city for nearly 10,000 Ground Zero workers.
The museum Web site lists the firm as having donated $5 million.
“They could have given that $5 million to the sick and suffering — their former clients,” Feal said.
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