About a block from my office is St. Paul's Chapel, "The Little Chapel That Stood" as the Twin Towers collapsed behind it. One day shortly after I started my current gig I popped in for a moment of reflection and discovered, much to my surprise, that the sanctuary has been converted into an all-out 9/11 tourist attraction. There's not just an exterior display noting the chapel's experience of 9/11; the inside is a veritable 9/11 pilgrimage site, replete with sacred relics and . . .
Pictured above: Part of the Ground Zero "Miracle Cross" collection
Talk to folks who live in the City about the street vendors who surround the pit--as it's not so affectionately known around here by folks weary of the endless construction--and you'll inevitably hear a fair stream of invective against the commodification of 9/11 by soulless jackals profiting from tragedy.
But is it any different when the seller is a church?
Arguably yes, judging from the lack of any objections among the Chapel's visitors. Shoot, lack of objection is an understatement--today I had to stand in line to just to get a look at the display case, and to my left was another line snapping up literally boxfuls of the "The Little Chapel That Stood" children's book personally autographed by the author. The store is a testament to the power of transformative design--a vendor on the street is merely selling things, but a shop in a shrine is not commerce.