The Met Has a Groupon for Its Technically Free Admissions

Categories: MET

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Flickr/Rob Young
If you've ever tried to enter the Metropolitan Museum of Art, only to receive judgmental stares from staff for foregoing the (technically optional) entrance fee, this one goes out to you: The Met is tied up in two lawsuits over its allegedly "deceptive" pricing tactics, which plaintiffs in the suits claim include the Met's new Groupon offer: $7 off the admissions fee, which, again, is supposed to be optional.

The full "recommended" admission fee is $25; there are "discounts" for students and seniors. But under an obscure 1893 state law, any group that gets its space from the city for free is not allowed to charge for entry. The Met has been leasing its Fifth Avenue location since 1880.

In the new suit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court, two Czech tourists and a museum member claim the Met's advertising of its fees leads museumgoers to believe the entrance fee is mandatory.

The Met's Groupon, which opened at the beginning of the month, advertises an $18 admission fee. The deal goes on for just one more day, since many of the limited-supply tickets have already been snapped up.

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Screencap via Groupon

Groupon has not responded to Runnin' Scared's repeated requests for comment.

Arnold Weiss, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the two lawsuits, points to the Groupon as yet another "deceptive tactic," along with the signage in the museum atrium that makes it seem like patrons must pay to get in.

See Also: Why The Met Museum's "Punk" Gala Was So Wrong

"It's a violation of the statute that requires free admission to the museum five days a week and the lease that requires four designated free admission days," Weiss explained to Gothamist.

Museum administrators take issue with the suits, saying that the pay-as-you-wish system has been in place for decades, and no court has ever found it illegal.

Met spokesman Harold Holzer told the Huffington Post back in March--when the first of the two lawsuits was filed--that the legal action was "friviolous." And in April, Met Director Thomas Campbell posted a statement to the Met homepage claiming that $25 a head was already a markdown.

"The fact is, even if future Museum admission rates were fixed at $25, the Met would still be underwriting the expense of every visit, which on average costs the institution more than $40."

Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.




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2 comments
gold
gold

I never pay at the Met. Stare at me all you want, the whole thing is wild. If the Met had to pay rent, I might, but the land was let on a condition. Better solution: take back the land, kick the met out and use the dough to reduce taxes. Let the met collect from the charitable foundations used by the uberrich to avoid taxes. They can build a new, bigger Met on fill in the Hudson off SoHo or Chinatown on the East Side. Or put it up in Harlem or put it in the Bronx by the Botanical Gardens and Fordham U.  Best place - Prospect Park in the B. No one can use it anyway, so let's have cop saturation in the B for a change not just for Limoland on Fifth.

anonymous
anonymous

I don't like that this is getting media coverage, as the sure-fire way to tell a new yorker from a tourist is if they pay at the Met.  It used to be "our little secret..."

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