A Real Crass Act?

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 22, 2010
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The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened this week to outrage among some victims' families over a gift shop at the site and a black-tie reception held close to the remains of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

And more controversy has erupted with news that a restaurant is opening soon inside the museum offering “an array of local, seasonal fare in a relaxing and comfortable environment,” according to the museum guide.

“It’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” Diane Horning told the New York Post. She and husband Kurt never recovered the remains of their son Matthew, 26, a database administrator at the Twin Towers.

The gift shop is selling fire and police T-shirts and caps, earrings molded from trees that survived the destruction, “United We Stand” blankets and even FDNY vests for dogs.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/9-11-museum-opens-outrage-over-gift-shop-cocktail-reception-n111886
I'm not sure what some people are thinking.

Did they really not expect a museum and tourist attraction to not have a gift shop?
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 22, 2010
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Restaurant is a little odd, but a gift shop is totally par for the course.

Hell, the Holocaust Museum in DC has a gift shop.
But why would even a restaurant be odd?

As pointed out in the article, this was a very expensive facility to build and maintain, and finding ways to generate revenue will be imperative in ensuring it's sustainability.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
As a New Yorker and one who lost several friends on 9/11, it's time for the families to move on. So tired of hearing about sacred ground and all the rest of the nonsense.
 

lannister80

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2009
476
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Chicagoland
But why would even a restaurant be odd?

As pointed out in the article, this was a very expensive facility to build and maintain, and finding ways to generate revenue will be imperative in ensuring it's sustainability.
Not crass, just...odd. I can't think of any "memorial" places that have a restaurant. And large museums typically just have a McDonald's or cafeteria or something in them.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
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Midlife, Midwest
People just like being outraged.

Outrage is in fact our default emotional response to pretty much anything we're not sure we like - but that we don't have to pay to fix.
 

Aspasia

macrumors 65816
I believe the objections are based on the fact that remains are buried in the basement of the building.

The families of those murdered that day whose bodies were never found have requested the remains be removed to a separate location at the site, marked by an eternal flame.

I empathize with such a request.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 22, 2010
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I believe the objections are based on the fact that remains are buried in the basement of the building.
Didn't they excavate those buildings?

I'm surprised to hear that a basement still even exists and that there are bodies in it.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
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America's Third World
Didn't they excavate those buildings?

I'm surprised to hear that a basement still even exists and that there are bodies in it.
According to this Time report from May 10, 2014:

Unidentified remains of those killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City were returned to the World Trade Center Saturday morning. The remains will be stored in an underground repository in the same building as the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,434
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The outage should be towards how simplistic the new WTC building looks. Doesn't impress at all.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
Too lazy to look up others but the USS Arizona memorial has a gift shop.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,747
4,885
I understand the reaction. 9/11 certainly changed my life, and no matter what is built there, it will always be a house of horrors in my mind.

But not everyone has the same experience. For most it will be a just a museum, memorial, tourist attraction and nothing more.

I doubt any holocaust survivors are looking to get a big mac at Treblinka.

When something touches you that personally, and horribly, it's hard to see the festiveness of eating and knick knacks.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
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Shady Dale, Georgia
I think the biggest difference is how recent this event is. There are still many people who were there and it is fresh in their minds. Another decade or two and people won't be so emotional about it. Friends of mine are going to New York in a couple weeks, I asked them if they are going to the museum and they are not. Reason? They want to enjoy their vacation not have a reminder of death and tragedy. Truthfully, I feel the same way.

Charging $25 a head to visit is pretty crass in my opinion. There really should be no charge, no gift shop and no restaurant. Just a very somber place to remember.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
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Charging $25 a head to visit is pretty crass in my opinion. There really should be no charge, no gift shop and no restaurant. Just a very somber place to remember.
And paid for by whom, exactly?

The Federal Government, and by definition your and my taxes, expected to pick up the ~ $60 million or so annually it costs to run a large museum in New York?

That doesn't meet my definition of small-Government Conservatism. (The Federal Govt. already spends many millions maintaining Natl. Monuments, as well as the beautiful Military Cemeteries in Arlington, at Omaha Beach in Normandy, and Gettysburg.)

If someone goes to New York and makes a psychological pilgrimage to the site, they can pay up the $25 entrance fee. Just like they pay to get into MoMa and Rockefeller Center.
 

samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
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And paid for by whom, exactly?

The Federal Government, and by definition your and my taxes, expected to pick up the ~ $60 million or so annually it costs to run a large museum in New York?
$60 million to run a 10,000 square foot museum? Damn. They'll never make that up even through $25 tickets, which I also think is a bit high. Even if they were open 365 days a year from 8am-10pm, they'd have to push through nearly 470 people an hour (to pay it only through ticket sales). Therein lies the reason for a gift shop and restaurants.

Gift shops tend to make far and away more than ticket sales, at least in terms of profit.
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,666
1,279
Everyone's reaction to this is going to be different. The closer you are to the situation the less inclined you are going to like it. Think about it...if your family member died and was buried there you probably wouldn't be too jazzed about someone selling trinkets and cheeseburgers on top of their grave.

Personally I think the families have a point. Putting the gift shop and restaurant across the street would have made more sense to me.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
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Shady Dale, Georgia
And paid for by whom, exactly?

The Federal Government, and by definition your and my taxes, expected to pick up the ~ $60 million or so annually it costs to run a large museum in New York?
We manage to keep the Smithsonian Museums open without charging a fee... The Lincoln Memorial, the Viet Nam Wall, the Washington Monument, national parks, the White House... Well, until Obama closed it.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
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We manage to keep the Smithsonian Museums ...
This is a judgement call. But the Smithsonian is a museum complex that celebrates almost the entirety of life on earth - and beyond. A National Treasure, one that enriches the lives of millions of people, both visitors to these shores and millions more of our own citizens.

9/11 - while a tragedy, was a one day event that killed a few thousand people.

We've paid the 9/11 families billions of dollars in compensation. (I'm not totally sure of the rationale, but OK..) We've memorialized the names of the victims on permanent memorials.

Are the people of the United States expected - from now till the end of time - to keep on behaving as if 9/11 was the worst tragedy, the greatest crime, and the most horrific disaster that has ever transpired in all of human existence?

Because it wasn't. Sorry, but not even close.

And I strongly suspect, a hundred or so years from now, that we will be viewed by our descendants as weak and sorry people, emotionally blackmailed into committing great crimes in reaction to a terrorist event that, while tragic and shocking, was - in big scheme of things - not that big of a deal.
 

Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,105
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A 9/11 museum would surely not be complete without a copy of the USA PATRIOT Act, an animatronic Giuliani repeating "9/11" over and over again and some detailed info on the Truther noise. It was not just a little thing that happened to a bunch of people, its far-reaching effects are still being felt, and we need to address that fact.
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
2,436
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OBJECTIVE reality
I understand the reaction. 9/11 certainly changed my life, and no matter what is built there, it will always be a house of horrors in my mind.

But not everyone has the same experience. For most it will be a just a museum, memorial, tourist attraction and nothing more.

I doubt any holocaust survivors are looking to get a big mac at Treblinka.

When something touches you that personally, and horribly, it's hard to see the festiveness of eating and knick knacks.
I agree. This is tacky.

"Welcome to the place where 3,000+ innocent people died a horrible death in fire, jumping to their deaths, or being crushed as the building collapsed in a terrorist attack.

Would you like me to gift-wrap your souvenir Twin Towers magnetic dashboard statuette for you?"
 

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
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Atlanta, USA
Perhaps it would have been better to have a simpler, low-cost memorial? Just a park, perhaps? A quiet green space where relatives could visit and contemplate. Over decades, as wounds heal, it would gradually blend into the cityscape and become a pleasant place for anyone and everyone to use.

I just feel the in-your-face design of these memorials is inappropriate. I visited the Oklahoma City memorial a few years back and couldn't see the point in it being so elaborate and dominating the downtown area. It seemed to be preventing wounds from healing. The locals we spoke to were oddly proud of it - which I couldn't fathom. So many innocent people died here and this overbearing memorial had perversely turned the area into a tourist attraction. I, personally, felt uneasy being there. Like I was intruding on the personal grief of others. I hadn't lost anyone.

And you can't escape the fact that it inadvertently memorializes the killer. I know that's not the goal of these monuments - but McVeigh was mentioned (albeit derogatorily) as we toured the memorial. With all the news exposure he got at the time (and since) it was impossible not to.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 22, 2010
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Perhaps it would have been better to have a simpler, low-cost memorial? Just a park, perhaps? A quiet green space where relatives could visit and contemplate.
That would have been a far better plan in my book as well.

But we'll have to put this in the Too Late Now file.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,300
10,387
UK
I agree. This is tacky.

"Welcome to the place where 3,000+ innocent people died a horrible death in fire, jumping to their deaths, or being crushed as the building collapsed in a terrorist attack.

Would you like me to gift-wrap your souvenir Twin Towers magnetic dashboard statuette for you?"
Is it tacky that there's a gift shop at the museums explaining the Holocaust which was a much bigger deal than 9/11.