Bloomberg Grants The Metropolitan Museum of Art the Right to Charge Mandatory Entrance Fees
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that at the City's request it has signed an amendment to its 1878 lease with the City of New York. The new amendment confirms and continues the 42-year-long agreement under which the Met and the City first established, and has since maintained, a discretionary admission policy for the institution.
The Metropolitan of Art can now charge a mandatory entrance fee of $25 or more, thanks to the new lease that was acquired which allows it to charge museumgoers whatever it wants.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped into the dispute over the Met's admissions practices and granted the museum the right the charge the mandatory entrance fee.
Bloomberg's decision was disclosed Thursday when the museum notified a Manhattan judge it has signed a new lease "at the city's request."
Lawyer Michael Hiller said, "The museum's effort to arrange a lease amendment, in the dead of night, without notice to the public and without regard to the democratic process, is nothing but a desperate stunt by the museum to defeat claims its lawyers must know are valid. It won't sell politically. It won't pass muster legally, and if anything, merely reinforces the fact the museum has been violating the lease for the last 43 years and that it must stop."
The mayor's office declined comment.
According to the new lease terms:
The Museum may set the terms of admission to its permanent galleries to the general public, including admission fees and days and hours the Museum shall be open to the public, with the written consent of the Commissioner of the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld. In granting such consent the Commissioner shall consider the fiscal needs of the Museum in light of the Museum's commitment to serving the public and the City's monetary support. Admissions for special exhibitions, group tours, educational programs, performances, lectures, conferences, symposia, classes, and shows mounted in the Museum's theater and event spaces may be charged such amounts as the Museum shall from time to time prescribe.