The newly opened Ground Zero museum has faced public backlash after families of victims labelled the gift shop “crass” and “insensitive”.
The on-site store sells an array of souvenirs, including New York fire and police department t-shirts, mugs, DVDs, stuffed animals and even FDNY (Fire Department New York) vests for dogs.
“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” Diane Horning, who lost her son in the 2001 attacks, told the New York Post.
The memorial, which also features a cafe, opened to 9/11 relatives, fire fighters and volunteers last Thursday and will open to the public on Wednesday this week.
“Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown. To sell baubles I find quite shocking and repugnant,” Ms Horning said.
“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.”
John Feal, a Ground Zero demolition supervisor who also runs a foundation for 9/11 responders, agrees that the store should find other ways to generate profit.
“These people are suffering, and they don’t need to be reaching into their pockets,” Feal told the NY Post. “The museum could have gone six days without asking for money.”
Ironically, a plaque says the store was made possible by a $5 million donation from Paul Napoli and Marc Bern, partners in a law firm that made $200 million in taxpayer-funded fees for suing the city on behalf of 10,000 Ground Zero workers.
“They could have given that $5 million to the sick and suffering — their former clients,” Mr Feal said of Mr Napoli and Mr Bern.