After years of delays due to funding disputes, engineering challenges and Hurricane Sandy, a museum dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks will open to the public mid-May in a giant cavern beneath the World Trade Center site — with a world-class admissions price of $24.
National 9/11 Memorial and Museum president Joe Daniels said Friday that tickets would go on sale in March for the spring opening.
That $24 price is in line with other major tourist attractions in New York City. It costs $18 to take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, $25 to see the Museum of Modern Art and $27 to visit the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
But the fee drew protests from critics, including some relatives of Sept. 11 victims, who said the high price would keep average Americans out.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those who expressed displeasure. "I'd like to see them do better," he told reporters Friday. But he also said the best way to lower the admissions charge would be for the federal government to cover a portion of the museum's operating expenses, $63 million a year.
Under the pricing plan approved by the foundation's board, there will be no admission charge for relatives of Sept. 11 victims or for many thousands of construction workers, police officers, firefighters, and others who assisted in the rescue and cleanup operation at ground zero. Children age 5 and under will also get in free. Admission will also be free for everyone between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Planners had originally hoped that the museum could open on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.