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9/11 Museum Forced to Close After Pandemic 'Annihilates' Funds, Meanwhile NY State Gives $600M to NFL Team

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Why did former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and those around him have to be evicted from political office before they started making sense?

When he was the chief executive of the Empire State, Cuomo mishandled the COVID-19 epidemic by forcing nursing homes to take back infected patients, then covered up the number of COVID-19 deaths in said homes. He hung on in spite of this, but was eventually dislodged from office by a series of sexual harassment and bullying accusations.

Now, Cuomo has at least gained the clarity necessary to admit the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump’s estate has the whiff of the third world about it, tweeting that the “DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid & it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations.”

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It’s not just the former governor himself, either. You may recall Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide/fixer who allegedly had an affair with the “Luv Guv” and conducted much of the character assassination thuggery against his accusers. She resigned just days before Cuomo announced his own resignation and has since stayed out of the spotlight.

On Wednesday, however, she managed to make a bit of a wave on Twitter by noting how the state of New York’s funding priorities are a bit askew at the moment. While budget shortfalls due to COVID-19 will likely doom Manhattan’s 9/11 Tribute Museum, it seems the administration of current Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul has no problem doling out over a billion dollars to the wealthy owners of an NFL franchise.

According to the New York Post, the 30,000-square-foot Greenwich Street museum, which is just three blocks from the World Trade Center site, shuttered on Wednesday, victim of low attendance because of the pandemic. The closure came just weeks before the 21st anniversary of the attacks.

Should this museum be saved?

“Two-thirds of our income revenue annually comes from our earned income from admissions,” said Jennifer Adams-Webb, the museum’s co-founder and CEO of the September 11th Families’ Association.

“We were completely closed for six months in 2020. We had been averaging 300,000 visitors a year … and last year we had a total of 26,000 visitors, so it completely annihilated our earned income.”

The Post said that the museum — which both educated the public about the attacks and served as a community support center for those affected by them — “had been a stopping point for American and international visitors along the path of visiting the Statue of Liberty before heading to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.”

While visitors had picked up in 2022 — the first six months saw more visitors than all of 2021 — the museum had burned through too much capital during the COVID-19 shutdown.

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“There’s no way we’re going to be able to dig out of this at this rate,” Adams-Webb said.

“We need the state or the city to step in with other partners to be able to say, ‘We value you. We want to save this organization,’ but at this point, we can’t continue to dig into a hole.”

“We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but … the place for the 9/11 community to come is not here,” she added. “It’s a huge loss for those people who called this their second home, where they could come and share their story … There’s no museum that has the dual mission we have to support the community and also educate visitors that come here.”

But, hey, 9/11 was almost 21 years ago — and that’s light years to the left. Remember how we all said “never forget” in the initial months and years following September 2001? Some of us have clearly forgotten. You don’t have to search too hard for them on the political spectrum; consider that a sitting Democratic congresswoman dismissed the attacks as “some people [who] did something” back in 2019 and hardly anyone in her party batted an eye.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills play every year — and the team was threatening to move if it didn’t get a new stadium deal from state and local officials. Boy, did they ever get one.

According to libertarian outlet Reason, the state announced in March that public subsidies will make up $850 million of the estimated $1.4 billion that the new stadium would cost, the largest government-funded NFL stadium subsidy in a league not known for having a shortage of taxpayer money at its disposal. Of this, $600 million will come from the state and $250 million from Erie County, where the stadium will be built.

Even then, Hochul underestimated the cost to taxpayers by a wide margin; Reason noted the deal’s fine print “puts the public on the hook for $6 million annually for the next 30 years to fund upgrades to the stadium and another $6.6 million for the next 15 years to fund ‘maintenance and repair.’ All told, that’s an extra $160 million in taxpayer funds pledged to the project beyond the $850 million price tag.” That’s already more than $1 billion without taking interest payments into account.

Meanwhile, the Bills ownership group — led by Terry Pegula, who is reportedly worth $5.8 billion — will be throwing in a mere $300 million into the pot, with another $200 million coming from a loan from the NFL to the team.

Hochul, as Democrats are wont to do, used the ol’ you-gotta-spend-money-to-make-money defense.

“New Yorkers can rest assured that their investment will be recouped by the economic activity the team generates,” she said at the time.

Or not: While the stadium would need to generate $70 million a year in new tax revenue to break even, optimistic studies by the Bills and New York state officials showed the project only generating $27 million a year for 30 years. Whoops.

For now, the 9/11 Tribute Museum’s artifacts will be going to the state capital in Albany, the Post reported. Perhaps some 11th-hour reprieve from state or local officials will allow the museum to stay open. Maybe after giving so much away to the Buffalo Bills, the scales will fall from Gov. Hochul’s eyes and she’ll be moved to cut a little sliver of the state’s pie off to keep the Greenwich Street museum up and running, prioritizing patriotism over sports.

However, if the examples set by Cuomo and DeRosa are any indication, a Democrat needs to lose their job before becoming reasonable — if they ever manage to get there at all. Shame, that.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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