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.
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