Cue the cries of outrage! Not only will the 9/11 Memorial and Museum not have a bathroom when the memorial opens in September, it could cost $20 bucks a person to visit the museum when it opens next year, the CEO of the museum told a City Council committee yesterday. And if it doesn't cost a hard $20, it very well have a suggested donation of $25 or above, à la the Met.
Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, told City Council members at a hearing that when the museum opens in September 2012, it will need to generate money to sustain itself. And though he'd prefer visitors not be asked to pay an entrance fee (the museum is looking into grants and other options) it is a very real possibility. He explained away the high price as being comparable to other museums in town, and anyway he promises deals for students, groups and seniors as well as free admission to family members of 9/11 victims.
The City Council, unsurprisingly, was not pleased. Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D-Fordham) pointed out that "I represent the third poorest district in the city, and I can tell you, most of my constituents won't be able to afford $20 or $25." And Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1, scoffed at comparisons to world-class art institutions: "This is not the Met, and it's not an art museum. This is where we were attacked, and we don't want to make it cost-prohibitive."
When asked about the price on his radio show this morning, Bloomberg responded:"Given people pay 12, 15 bucks to go to the movies in a lot of parts of the city, if you have a nominal charge that helps pay the bills, I certainly have no objections to that," he said. "The money’s got to come from some place."