Painting Gallery at the Met

The man was part of the army of summer tourists visiting New York City. Which Madison Avenue bus, he wanted to know in a thick accent I couldn’t quite identify, would take him up to 82nd Street. Visiting the Metropolitan Museum I asked? Yes, he and his wife and two teenage children smiled and replied.  After we piled aboard an M3, I kept an eye on them to be sure they got off at 79th Street and walked the few blocks northwest to get to the museum’s front door. But it was only after they left the bus, all of them giving me a friendly wave goodbye, I realized I hadn’t given them the most important information of all.  Information that could have saved that family one hundred dollars. The sign posted near each museum cashier says “$25.00” entrance fee in large letters and it’s easy to miss the MUCH smaller nearby word that says “Suggested” entrance fee. And according to information given by a former Met employee in a complaint filed by 2 New Yorkers against the Museum, most tourists DO miss the “suggested” part. They end up paying the full $25.00 fee instead of what they wish or can afford.

It also turns out cashiers are coached not to volunteer this information to confused visitors. Add that to the fact cashier salaries are based on the total of money they collect and you can see why they aren’t particularly hot to clarify the admission confusion.

In contrast to this nebulous area, NYC-ARTS has put out a solid, comprehensive list of premier city attractions and museums that offer either free entry or the choice of paying what you wish, sometimes on certain days of the week or month or at specific hours. These are wonderful gifts. Take advantage and enjoy.


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