Are You Penny Wise? Have You Signed Up To Line Up?

A member of the FA staff was in a New York City copy shop the other day when someone overheard a phone conversation that this staff member was having regarding free admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The conversation was about our rights to free admission to the Met. For more information, see all that is on this site!

This spirited woman, seated a few feet from us, immediately asked if we were a lawyer, to which we said “no”. We immediately informed her that we do have a new web site,, that educates New Yorkers on their rights to free admission to this well-known institution (and 12 others also on park land). This feisty individual then said, in a booming voice so all could hear, “Have you been to the Met lately?” “No”, we responded.

She then shared her experiences.

She shared that as a seasoned New Yorker she knew the Museum is free-of-charge no matter what the signage says, which as of this writing reads “The amount you pay is up to you, but we suggest the following amounts” and then lists $25 for adults with only “Members and Patrons” and “Children (under 12)” [if escorted by an adult, who has to pay something as of now] are listed as Free. “I give a dollar,” she shared, emphasizing again that as a long-time New Yorker she is savvy enough to know what’s really going on.

Then she went on about the lines at the Museum, telling us that “it’s like passport control.” Her recollection was that more people need to be made available to handle New Yorkers’ admissions needs.

We at FA know that the Museum receives at least three-quarters of a billion dollars in rent forgiveness and approximately $30 Million of our tax dollars that city administrators contribute to the Museum’s operations annually. When we shared this information, this individual then became aware, that as a New York tax payer, she deserved to be let in in a more streamlined manner.

Here is the next part:

After our copy shop experience, we at FA knew it was time to re-visit the Museum for ourselves, not wanting to simply listen to others but to see for ourselves as well. 

Here is what happened:

We visited the Met on a wintry Thursday afternoon and noticed that there were two lines for New York State Residents (and NY, NJ, CT students), one at each end of the main lobby. Two lines, not one. 

We then noticed that there were three people attending to New Yorkers’ admissions needs at one line and four at the other, which was OK by us.     

We then got in line (we were 12th); and when we arrived at the “admissions desk” we showed a copy of our phone bill as New York ID, which was readily accepted. Then the admission’s clerk at the “desk” asked us how much we would like to pay to which we responded “nothing.”

The clerk, who was perfectly polite, then told us that “the Museum is not free. You have to pay at least a penny.” As it turns out, we did not have a penny! (We had emptied our purse to lighten it up and set aside the change to do laundry.)

Pat Nicholson, the Founder of this Free Admission web site, has explained both on this site and otherwise in the media that there are two 1890s laws that state that the Museum is free-of-charge for New Yorkers in exchange for rent forgiveness,  which is now approximately as much as three-quarters of a billion dollars or more a year.  If the Met Museum were to pay rent, please consider the additional city- and state-wide services such monies could provide; for instance, more police, fire, teachers, schools, hospitals, elder care and potentially more.  

A final note: while the admissions lines were manageable when we visited, the coat check lines were very long. We suggest that there be a special express coat check for all of us who make it possible as New Yorkers for this institution to exist rent-free!

Tell us about your Met Museum experience as a New Yorker by going to the contact page on this site!  

Our next blog: Nicholson Visits The Met!