The most tasteless thing inside the just-opened September 11 museum in New York City is probably this commemorative cheese plate. One of the most profound and moving objects may be this telephone, from the Pentagon. They're just two of many items on display in some 10,000 square feet of exhibit space.
Gothamist's Jen Chung was among the reporters who visited the memorial exhibition this week, reporting on items both sacred and profane, but was kicked out for asking questions of museum-goers. From her account:
Towards the middle of the exhibit, I overheard some loud voices. A young woman was berating a middle-aged woman who was talking on the cellphone. The middle-aged woman moved herself—and her conversation—to a corner of the room, her light, almost jovial phone chatter echoing loudly around the room. Finally, she got off the phone, and the young woman, who appeared to be disgusted, called her "disrespectful." I approached the young woman and said, "Hi, I'm a reporter. I was wondering, what happened just now?"
The young woman began to answer, but then a security guard interrupted us, asking, "What are you? You're a reporter?" I said yes, and he told me, "You can't ask any questions. You have to go through the 9/11 Memorial people." I said okay and left the woman alone.
I continued to walk through the exhibit, and a second guard came up to me. "You're the reporter?" he said. "You can't ask questions here. You can't." I said I understood and reassured him I had only spoken to one person, and she seemed perfectly willing to talk.
I exited that exhibit and went to the bathroom. When I emerged, a third security guard—he appeared to be more senior-ranking because he was wearing a white shirt—pulled me aside. He inquired if I was the reporter. I said I was, and then he asked for my name and organization. I presented my NYPD-issued press credentials and he started to write down my name on a pad. Then he took a picture of my press card before saying, "I'm going to have to escort you out of the museum."
[Images: Top, Gothamist; bottom, Washington Post]