9/11 museum may wait till 2014

Charles V. Bagli / New York Times News Service /

Published Sep 9, 2012 at 05:00AM

NEW YORK — A dispute between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the $1 billion museum at Ground Zero has dragged on for so long that the museum will not open in time for the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks — or even for the next one.

Aides to Bloomberg and Cuomo have so far been unable to resolve their differences over which government agencies will pay the operating costs of the museum, which is intended to document the terrorist attacks of 2001 and honor the nearly 3,000 victims. The two sides also remain at odds over who will have oversight of the museum and the surrounding memorial.

The negotiations are further complicated because Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey must sign off on any agreement before it can take effect. Cuomo and Christie together control the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site. Bloomberg is chairman of the Sept. 11 foundation, which controls the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, and oversees commemorative events at the site.

With work on the museum at a standstill for nearly a year, fundraising and donations have fallen, and exhibits are gathering dust in fabrication shops in Buffalo, N.Y., and Santa Fe, N.M., according to museum executives.

The delay means that the museum may not open before construction on 1 World Trade Center is finished in early 2014.

Aides to Bloomberg and Cuomo said they hoped that the 11th anniversary, on Tuesday, might create pressure for a last-minute deal. Late last week, the two sides began circulating proposals to resolve the yearlong impasse.

The first hint of tensions occurred after the 10th anniversary commemoration, when reports surfaced that Cuomo and Christie were annoyed at Bloomberg and the foundation over restrictions on access to the memorial and the ceremony.