In Brief

New NYC ID Cards Could Come with Free Museum Admission

by Mostafa Heddaya on July 25, 2014

A view of the Palisades from the pastoral pleasure of Wave Hill (photo via

A view of the Palisades from Wave Hill, a city-owned cultural organization (image via elephipelephi/Flickr)

New York City may lean on its cultural institutions to encourage adoption of a planned municipal identity card for undocumented New Yorkers, the New York Times reported. A proposal made last week to leaders of city-owned arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Museum and Lincoln Center, would see those institutions offer free admission or other perks to cardholders.

Tom Finkelpearl, the recently appointed cultural affairs commissioner (and former director of the Queens Museum), suggested the practice in a meeting at the Met last week. “My sense is that the reaction from cultural institutions is very positive and enthusiastic … We just have to work out the details,” Finkelpearl told the Times.

Though the paper writes that the initiative aims to make sure that “a card intended to help undocumented New Yorkers does not simply become an easy way to identify them,” it’s unclear how membership to a museum or discounts on concert tickets would change anything about the essential nature of such a database of legally precarious New Yorkers, or attenuate fears of its abuse.

The report also notes that New Haven, Connecticut, adopted a similar ID card in 2007; the program offers benefits like “downtown parking and shopping.”

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