Should the 9/11 Museum Have a Gift Shop?

Friday, May 23, 2014

With the 9/11 museum opening this week, we ask New Yorkers to call in about whether they plan to visit, what they make of the controversy over the site's gift shop, and anything else related to the memorial and museum site.

Comments [48]

Sharlene from Rhode Island

Only if it sells memorandum items.

May. 25 2014 06:31 AM

I'm amazed and appalled this question even needs to be asked. NO! Have we have no decency?

May. 24 2014 10:54 PM
Karen Littwin from NJ

I dunno' ~
What kind of souvenirs do they sell at Auschwitz?

May. 24 2014 05:31 AM
Vic from .

You know, I hear at the 9/11 Memorial Gift Shop you can buy one of these shake'm'up globe toys with a mini model of Ground Zero & the surrounding buildings, & water front inside. When you shake the globe, you don't have a lot snow flakes flying around as in a winter scene. What it is (or what it's supposed to be) is a surging mass of fine white dust & debris coming from the fallen Towers, & settling down into a pyroclastic flow between the buildings, & out over the water. I hear there's even a larger, limited edition glass globe which contains actual flakes of nano-thermite, & aluminium-oxide. These special globes, however, were only offered to a select group of big investors, & have already been claimed.
As for the 9/11 memorial exhibits, I hear there's a video viewing room dedicated to showing the documentary, "9/11 MYSTERIES: Demolitions"
WHO wants US never to forget.


& This is all just another case of Insult To Injury!.

May. 24 2014 03:03 AM
William from Manhattan

For once, I agree with john from office, and I have nothing to add.

May. 23 2014 08:17 PM
Charles from Downtown

Did anyone complain when Mayor Giuliani build a viewing platform for tourists to view the burning wreckage and smoldering bodies or complain about his rallying cry "Go shopping"?

May. 23 2014 07:21 PM
Jason from Manhattan

There is a welcome center at the Arlington National Cemetery that includes a 'bookstore' -

This weekend - Memorial Day weekend - there is a concert on the grounds of the Green-Wood Cemetery

There is a gift shop at the African Burial Ground site where 15,000 were buried in unmarked graves...

So what's the big deal? Quite honestly, I feel like the families of the survivors have been nothing but sensationalists. We all have empathy for their loss and our tragedy, but man do the milk it...

May. 23 2014 03:53 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

The one thing I can say about this is, "Don't look at me, I wanted the Twin Towers rebuilt." When there were was a chance to speak up against this years ago, most of you chose to stay silent, where those such as myself stood up to the fight. Rather than making the place feel like a tourist trap, we could have back what was taken from us that day, which was the Twin Towers. Having a gift shop along with remains of the dead pretty much gives Al Qaeda the last laugh here as they already destroyed a worldwide symbol, and we're letting them get away with it. Rebuilding them would have cost far less than what is being done now, and can even be finished sooner, plus there wouldn't have been a need to have the PANYNJ raise their tolls and fares just to cover. BTW, they can be built where the other two buildings are still in limbo rather than just leaving them as stumps to come, and keep in mind that the LMDC still does keep having them back as an active option if one bothers to read Section 23.4 under Article 23 titled the Restoration Alternative in their very own GEIS where it even says that they don't even have to be placed exactly they originally stood. For more on the real story, I suggest either reading, Sixteen Acres: Outrageous Struggle for Ground Zero, by Phillip Nobel or even, Debacle: Failing to Rebuild the Twin Towers, by Joe Wright.

May. 23 2014 02:59 PM

A gift shop is distasteful.... as is this whole tourist trap museum notion. a national monument, yes, with a setting to reflect on the lives innocently lost and the gravity of large scale violence. Anything else, reasons behind, motivations for ... do we really know or understand why this occurred? it's been politically manipulated in so many ways. To codify it and place "artifacts" in a museum ... what is to be gained by that? Continuing the cycle of fear and blame?

May. 23 2014 01:41 PM

hilts, I appreciate your concern, but you really should do some research on the original twin towers and all of their issues back in the 1970s.

May. 23 2014 11:36 AM

Another thing visitors to the 9/11 Museum can look forward to:

bad cellphone etiquette

One woman berates another woman for talking on her cellphone in the museum

May. 23 2014 11:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

I don't know - do you want a gift shop at the cemetery where you're Mother, Father, Brother, Sister is buried? You tell me.

May. 23 2014 11:21 AM


I may be in a tiny minority, but I never considered the Twin Towers ugly. I just wish that there had been a decision to rebuild them with better materials and better safeguards against future terror threats.

May. 23 2014 11:17 AM
Hannah Seeger from Manhattan

In the eyes of many in the world "The Great Satan" has no reverence for anything but money. They see us as obsessed with materialism. (We must buy souvenirs at burial grounds) and a spiritual threat. This is why the terrorists attacked us on 9/11

This museum, its gift shop and the fact that people can party there, supports their perspective.

Score another point for Team bin Laden

May. 23 2014 11:07 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC


You wrote:

"For what it's worth, here are the gift shops at the Pearl Harbor, Holocaust, Hiroshima, and Gettysburg museums."

True enough but what's the more important implication? The criminal acts of 19 (15 SAUDI) hijackers merits a museum as part of the history of the "War on Terror" the same way those other museums are part of a larger historical narratives of WW2 and the Civil War respectively? But don't Japanese and Confederate forces have their own "war" memorials? Who were our enemies in the War on Terror? Civilians mostly.... where is their memorial? Screw this propaganda museum and everyone associated with it.

May. 23 2014 11:06 AM
Hannah Seeger from Manhattan

In the eyes of many in the world "The Great Satan" has no reverence for anything but money. They see us as obsessed with materialism. (We must buy souvenirs at burial grounds) and a spiritual threat, which is WHY the terrorists attacked us on 9/11

This museum, its gift shop and the fact that people can party there, supports this perspective.

Score another point for Team bin Laden

May. 23 2014 10:56 AM
Bob from Huntington

Yes, Josie from Brooklyn, we do need a national slavery museum on the mall in Washington--especially given the fact that slaves had a significant role in building the nation's capital. And it should include as reminder of our country's history of extreme racism a permanent and very visible exhibit devoted to the lynchings of African Americans that continued well into the 20th century.

May. 23 2014 10:54 AM

hilts, you might have had a point were the twin towers not soooo ugly. They were poorly designed and poorly executed. For decades after they were built even those who built them had regret. Architecturially speaking, the terrorists did us a favor. but other than that, you've got the right idea.

May. 23 2014 10:52 AM
in disbelief from manhattan

I was in disbelief at hearing the plan to have a gift shop at the memorial. It seems to me, as Sue said on the radio more eloquently, they we are playing into the stereotype of the Great Satan in having to build a marketing a consumer element into even a tragedy that caused us to go to war.
Also, receptions at the site? With beverages? Seems like dancing on the graves. Have a reception uptown somewhere to thank the big donors.
Finally, I like the ideas of two of the callers to lower the hefty entrance price: do it like the Met; and instead of gift shop, have the candle at exiting, for a suggested donation, as at the Holocaust Museum in Paris. I think most traditions consider candles in one way or another to be s sacred ritual. Very very good idea.

May. 23 2014 10:49 AM
Trish from Manhattan

I think the bigger issue here is how the rest of the country views New York. Just as with Hurricane Sandy relief from Congress, we New Yorkers pay and pay our Federal taxes and donate to help other parts of the country with disaster relief. When it comes to the rest of the country helping us out with providing funds for a 9-11 memorial or Sandy relief, all of the sudden the congress cries poor and has to reevaluate whether they should even fund them. Sad. The site should be a National memorial and it should be free to get in. Oh, and of course there should be a gift shop.

May. 23 2014 10:49 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ suzinne from Bronx

You've hit the nail on the head, turning 9/11 into a tourist attraction is symbolic of our moral bankruptcy and the final nail in the coffin of the old NYC. A tasteful, artistic monument at Ground Zero would have been ideal. It's especially disturbing because it seems designed to overshadow and justify the enormity of the "War on Terror" which followed... 1/2 million dead Iraqis, Abu Ghraib, rendition, torture, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, the "shadow government" and its unaccountable, unreported budget, etc.


May. 23 2014 10:48 AM


The 9/11 Museum should not have a gift shop.

However, I think there are 2 far more important questions than the one that you pose for this segment which deserve some time for discussion.

1. Should there even be a 9/11 museum?

2. Should the Twin Towers have been rebuilt?

The existence of a gift shop for me is a minor outrage.

The sickening and unforgivable outrage is that New Yorkers did not demand the rebuilding of the Twin Towers. The terrorists won on 9/11 not only because they succeeded in committing mass murder but also because they forever altered the NY skyline.

How come so many New Yorkers never questioned the decision not to rebuild the Twin Towers?

At the risk of offending listeners, the 9/11 memorial is far too big to begin with for my taste. To me, a more fitting memorial for the victims would have been rebuilding the Twin Towers.

I am disgusted by the excess of the 9/11 memorial and the cowardice of our politicians who decided not to build new Twin Towers but chose instead that nauseating, hideous Freedom Tower.

Brian, did you ever even devote a segment of your show to whether or not the Twin Towers should have been rebuilt?

May. 23 2014 10:47 AM
Charles from Downtown

Are people spending more time complaining about the gift shop than they did questioning the faulty FDNY/NYPD radio repeater system?

May. 23 2014 10:47 AM
steve from Manhattan

I remember right after 9-11, there were intense complaints about those street peddlers who were selling souvenirs (American flags, etc.) around the clean-up area, claiming that this was disrespectful. However, when the peddlers countered by arguing their first amendment rights, asking if pushing them off the streets meant that the terrorists "won", the arguments eventually died down. We will never satisfy everyone -- if you don't like the gift shop, don't patronize it when you visit the memorial, and if you do like the gift shop, enjoy. Can't we all just get along...?

May. 23 2014 10:42 AM

John, there is a gift shop at teh VN memorial, but it's not over the graves of civilians. big difference!!!

May. 23 2014 10:42 AM
Nick from UWS

A gift shop at Ground Zero. It just goes to show that Americans have the maturity level of about 8 years old and an IQ of 12. We have no sense of dignity, no sense of decorum, no real feelings about anything. We put teddy bears on the site of tragedy and then buy souvenirs a few years later. Infants. We are a garbage culture through and through.

May. 23 2014 10:41 AM
khadija Boyd from Brooklyn

We paid for it! Free admission for all (myself excluded), most specifically to the 10 of millions of visitors who did not witness in vivo. k

May. 23 2014 10:40 AM

$24.00 US

I'll remember that, and people will just forgetaboutit!

Really – Developers should be the ones to spring for the cost of this museum thing....

FREE would be appropriate!

The old WTC was a total failure - is this real estate being subsidized again......?

We know there is real hatred of NYC in congress, and we always get GOP hate cause
we're so immoral which is why they all came to NYC at Bloomberg's invitation.

May. 23 2014 10:40 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Highly recommended article on a writer's experience and thoughts on the 9/11 Museum:

May. 23 2014 10:40 AM
fingernails on chalkboard

Good lord. How annoying these voices are.

May. 23 2014 10:39 AM
daniel from Valley Stream from Valley Stream

Pearl Harbor Memorial: "The giftshop at the visitor center is operated by the non-profit Pacific Historic Parks. Their website includes an online bookstore.Proceeds from sales of books, maps, music, videos, and educational material directly benefit research, educational, and environmental programs at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument."

How is the WTC any different?

May. 23 2014 10:39 AM

This reminds me of the months after 911 when the street vendors were selling WTC items on the street. People were outraged and the city and police put a stop to it. People are outraged about this, so why isn't it being stopped now.

$24 - wrong
gift shop - wrong
parties - wrong, wrong, wrong

May. 23 2014 10:39 AM
NB from brooklyn

Is any of the stuff thats available for sale made in America ? I doubt it..

May. 23 2014 10:36 AM

Ed, if it were not for firefighters running up those stairs, more people trying to get down them would have survived. Why didn't god stop those firefighters from blocking the stairways????

May. 23 2014 10:36 AM
Josie from Brooklyn, NY

Thinking about museums commemorating tragic events... it makes me think, why don't we have a national slavery museum? Isn't it time we face our history? Is the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture enough?

May. 23 2014 10:32 AM
khadija Boyd from Brooklyn

I am not offended, just deeply saddened. "Money makes the world go round..." etc. I, for one, shall not visit. Memory of that beautiful and brutal day is engraved in my mind for as long as I can breathe. [my child blocks the memory of that day altogether].

May. 23 2014 10:30 AM
SKV from NYC

Brian, that is one extremely mocking and contemptuous tone in your voice giving examples of what people might find offensive in a 9/11 gift shop. I have to wonder why, and what effect that has on the debate and on people suffering from grief obviously stronger than yours.

May. 23 2014 10:30 AM
Hunter from Ditmas Park

How about the cheese plate?

May. 23 2014 10:28 AM
suzinne from Bronx

Think this memorial should just be renamed "9/11 Tourist Attraction." Pretty disgusting all around. The commercialization of our national day of horror is repugnant, and only brings to mind the audacity of former Mayor Giuliani who waved the banner of 9/11, assuming it was his ticket to the White House. Thank God that never happened!

Worked across the street from the Twin Towers during 9/11, and worked at same address for years afterwards. All the true memorials were pinned to the facade around St. Paul's Church on the corner across Vesey Street. Lived with 9/11 for YEARS. Enough already, and it's time to move on.

May. 23 2014 10:23 AM

A gift shop??!
Should they have built a museum, or that tower??
Rebuild rebuild rebuild$

May. 23 2014 10:19 AM
Dave B from Lower Manhattan

Is there a gift shop at the Vietnam Memorial? The thought is unthinkable. The gift shop should be shut down entirely and immediately. It makes me ashamed of my city.

May. 23 2014 10:16 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Depends on what they sell. I understand they get no funding but a $25 admission fee? If it were up to me, the thing would have never been built in the first place.

May. 23 2014 10:15 AM
Poor Taste from NYC

I saw a tourist wear the 9-11 Memorial Museum baseball cap backwards.
I imagine the tourist felt very patriotic and "pro-USA" but to me it was in poor taste.
It was almost disrespectful of this person to wear the hat and for the museum to sell it in the first place.
I think someone manufactured a 9-11 wine too, probably not linked to the museum but still super outrageous and screams of opportunism.
Like the 9-11 collector gold medallions that were sold on TV in a limited time offer.
People will stop at nothing to profit off of historic events: movies on the Holocaust, AIDS movies, Slavery movies etc.

May. 23 2014 10:00 AM
Tom from upper west side

I understand the need for any museum to bring in as much money as possible to support its existence and mission. However, it would be especially meaningful if the 911 Museum gift shop would sell items exclusively "made in America." (My guess is much merchandise is stamped "China.")

May. 23 2014 10:00 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Ed from Larchmont -
Where was "God" when those planes struck the twin towers?

May. 23 2014 09:26 AM
john from office

I lived through the 9-11 attack and witnessed things I will never forget. I witnessed the second plane strike the second tower and people falling to their deaths with a crashing sound I will never forget. A gift shop does not offend me, depends what they sell I would guess.

Is there a gift shop at the Pearl Harbor Memorial?? I would guess there is and it is not an issue.

I personally have no desire to enter that space, too many memories.

God Bless America. Semper Fidelis

May. 23 2014 09:20 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Not quite on topic, but looking at tall buildings it is completely amazing to me that only 3,000 people were killed when those two buildings fell, mostly the people above the strike line plus the rescuers who were trying to reach them. An act of God, miraculous.

May. 23 2014 09:12 AM
Danny Peluso from Yonkers

As a New Yorker I think the emotions and memories that we feel are ours, the people covered in grey/white dust with red eyes, the smell of the fire, the mass of New York walked calmly home that day. The cars left the train station parking lot... I don't want to share that with anyone.

Those emotions and memories were taken from us by others to do things that no one here asked them to do. They took those memories and used them without permission.

Would you as a New Yorker get on the subway wearing a t shirt emblazoned with the twin towers bought at the museum shop? Of course you wouldn't.


May. 23 2014 09:01 AM

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