Destinations, New York, Personal

Good-Bye Pay-As-You-Wish

Should I be sad, mad, or just gracefully accepting?  It’s hard to figure how to feel about coming changes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

As a museum that receives part of its funding from the city of New York and part from private donations, it has always had a pay-as-you-wish policy.  Starting in March, the suggested admission of $25 will now be mandatory for everyone who lives outside of New York state.  So, while the Met features art and artifacts from cultures all over the world, tourists from all over the world will now have to pay the full price.  More than the tourists though, I feel for New Jersey residents.  Being right across the Hudson, many of us feel that we should be honorary New Yorkers (but we’re not).  The Met is the only cultural institutions of its type in our area and with the mandatory admission it just won’t be an affordable for many families and individuals.

I feel torn about this decision.  I believe that those who can afford to should financially support art.  It kind of sucks that cheapskates (myself included) have brought down the average amount spent on admission in recent years to $9. However, keeping the museum as accessible as possible to as many people as possible is what made it special.

Personally, I love the thought that I can afford to visit the Met as often I want, spending $5-10 each time, and not feeling pressured to see as much as possible in order to get my money’s worth.  For example, when I visited during the holiday season, I was able to find some relative peace in the East Asian arts section and avoid the swamp of tourists in the more popular areas.  I love those popular areas too, but what I love most about the Met is that it feels possible to find something new every time I visit, even though I normally visit at least several times a year.

Japanese Bamboo Art

As a pragmatic solution (and gracefully accepting) solution, I am probably going to pay for a membership.  At a $100 a year, it is about the same price as my Netflix subscription.  I can afford it, and hopefully it will motivate me to visit more often.




1 thought on “Good-Bye Pay-As-You-Wish

  1. $25 is not unreasonable considering the amazing collection that the Met has. I agree with you that the one issue with the fee is that when it was pay as you go, you felt free to breeze through one exhibit for a half hour, maybe at lunchtime. But when you pay $25 you feel invested enough to need to stay for a while. Membership is a good option at most museums if you live near them and go more than once. I’m not a member of the Met but I am of the Whitney and it’s great.

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