Active + Adventure

Controversial Tourist Attractions

by Bob Payne

World Trade Center
New York City

The infamy: On September 11, 2001, two airliners, commandeered by terrorists, crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, resulting in what every American whose knowledge of the Civil War ranges from vague to none considers to be the most traumatic event in our nation's history.

Tasteless tourism? Although the World Trade Center site is basically a fenced-off construction zone surrounded by a walkway, that has not stopped it from becoming a major attraction, and one often at the forefront of any debate about the boundaries of acceptable tourism. In contrast to the years it took to agree on a permanent memorial, it wasn't long before stalls cropped up selling all sorts of questionable memorabilia, including vials of "Disaster Dust." Helping to feed the debate are the endless tour buses that stop off while tourists pose for a snap in front of the site.

Why go? For many, there is great comfort in being able to touch physically something that so deeply touched us all emotionally. We suggest you avoid the stalls, leave your camera in its bag, and take a walking tour through the Tribute WTC Visitor Center.

Tribute WTC Visitor Center, $10 per person (children free).

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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