9/11 Memorial tourism boosts downtown museums

June 25, 2012 09:30AM

Designed partly to show America’s resiliency after the 9/11 attacks, the ground zero memorial is also helping Lower Manhattan’s museums and cultural institutions bounce back. Crain’s cited Downtown Alliance figures that showed a record 9.8 million people visited museums, events and attractions in the area in 2011, an 8 percent annual increase. A million of those visitors came to the 9/11 Memorial in its three and a half months, and 3 million people from 150 countries have visited it since its debut.

These positive results followed a decade of difficulty for the area. The Seaport Museum nearly went bankrupt and arts groups such as Dance New Amsterdam that worked to revive Lower Manhattan also faced financial difficulties that threaten closure. But now, using discount packages and targeted marketing, the Downtown Alliance has parlayed the World Trade Center traffic into a boon to the entire neighborhood that will only get stronger when the September 11 Museum opens in this year.

“We believe that with the Statue of Liberty and now the Ground Zero memorial, downtown is going to be the center for foreign tourists for years to come, and we’re right in the middle of it,” said David Marwell, director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, at 36 Battery Place, which saw a 20 percent annual increase in traffic from September 2011 through June 2012. [Crain’s]