Full Price at the Metropolitan Museum is a “Tourist Tax”!

03/08/2013 11:45 AM |

Metropolitan Museum admission prices

The last time I went to the Metropolitan Museum, it was to meet a friend who was also a native New Yorker. When I found her among ancient statues, I asked if she had seen that the admission price had gone up to $25—when the heck had that happened? And then I asked how much she paid and she scoffed. “A dollar!” And I laughed because I’d paid a dollar, too.

Every New Yorker knows you don’t have to pay full price to get into the Met, and that anybody who pays more than a buck is a sucker, or “tourist.” (Just kidding: you can also be a bleeding heart supporter of the arts, or a Rockefeller.) But it’s those dupes, I’ve always assumed, who keep admission revenue high enough so the rest of us can enjoy one of our five-borough birthrights—access to classical art.

Now a couple of chumps are trying to ruin it for everybody. Two Czechs and a Manhattanite have filed a class-action lawsuit against the museum alleging misleading price-advertising practices because the word “Recommended” on the big board is inconspicuous against the word “Admission,” the Daily News reports. A similar suit was filed four months ago.

“I didn’t realize I didn’t need to pay until I was inside,” a student visiting from Argentina told the tabloid. “I realized when I was reading the museum map. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have paid.” Well, yeah, that’s how we get you! It’s called the tourist tax!

Although it seems even I’m a sucker: a poll on the Daily News‘ website asks how much people pay, and the $1 crowd makes up just 15 percent of recipients. The most popular response, far and away, with 42 percent? “Why should I pay? It’s free to the public.” Pfft, cheapskates.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

2 Comment

  • I don’t think they can ruin it, necessarily.

    Your comment presumes that the Met instituted that policy out of the goodness of their hearts. Not so. They get millions of dollars a year from the city and the museum sits on public land, so free admission is part of a deal. Most of their money for operating expenses comes out of their monster endowment, so the admissions fees are a minor part of their finances anyway.

  • Yo yo pa is right. Suggested admission doesn’t exist to subsidize New Yorkers.

    That said, we should keep in mind that the Met is acquiring the Whitney’s old building and unlike The Met and Cloisters that won’t be on public land. That building may retain its admission price.