The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the blessing of the New York City government, has announced that admission will cost $25 for out-of-staters. New Yorkers will still be allowed to name their own price, but starting in March, visitors will need to cough up the $25.
Museum officials stopped short of announcing charges for tourists eating boiled hot dogs on the steps. They also opted not to go for a requirement that visitors throw at least 10 pennies into the fountain, not one.
Revenue from admissions covers only about 14 percent of the museum’s $300 million budget, and the change is expected to increase that by only a few percentage points. But it’s lean times in New York, particularly for nonprofits, and the Met says this is a fairer option than other revenue-raising ideas like charging for special exhibits (which also would affect New Yorkers). So that’s 25 big ones if you’re an adult from outside the Empire State, except for students from New Jersey and Connecticut.
The idea might get some other city institutions thinking. Imagine: Representatives of city government piggyback on the Met announcement to propose a $50 cover charge for Times Square on New Year’s Eve. No chance the move would affect real New Yorkers.
A few other initiatives to cadge money off non-locals might follow soon:
- $20 for Central Park entrance, or $25 if you also want to make a political donation to the no-horse-carriage campaign.
- $10 for the Staten Island ferry, including a three-day pass to buy NYC Ferry tickets for the price of a MetroCard (limited time only!).
- $2 surcharge on the ferry for special seats with a good view of the Statue of Liberty. (New “Freedom Fanatics” passes to be purchased online or under the table in Battery Park.)
- Not to be outdone, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority swiftly approves a new fare payment system: New Yorkers and visitors would be invited to swipe their ol’ MetroCards. If the swipe goes through cleanly, it costs $2.75; if it doesn’t, you get the tourist price of $3.40. (Then somebody remembers that the governor runs the MTA and this system gets stalled while we put a light show on the Major Deegan Expressway.)
- Over a weekend, the Department of Transportation places E-ZPass readers on the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane, thinking you’d have to be an idiot to be a local and try your chances there. The FDNY and NYPD develop a receipt system so that for every paramedic visit they pull off, for every mugger they scare away, there would be an out-of-state surcharge. You just can’t be too careful about whom you’re protecting and serving.
- Then Danny Meyer’s restaurants join food trucks everywhere in switching from a no-tip policy to a double tip for anyone who asks for “hoagies,” “grinders” or “spuckies.”
Calls to the Mets revealed not a single fan anywhere but here and Florida, so no changes in Queens. The Yankees, however, prepare for quintupled revenue.
Meanwhile, the Islanders get in touch with Mayor Bill de Blasio to ask whether they are considered New Yorkers anymore.
When that all happens, the city fathers and mothers will be beside themselves with glee, anticipating that we’re gonna be just fine with the financial situation now, just fine.
In an anomaly, hotels citywide say they’ll drastically lower prices. Because they know the city won’t be the same without guests.
Mark Chiusano is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.