The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (image courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is planning to welcome visitors back this week with a new perk: A free valet parking service for bicycles.

Ahead of its official reopening date on Saturday, August 29 (with early access for members from August 27-28), the Met has partnered with the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives (TA) to serve patrons who prefer the socially distant option of bicycling to the museum instead of using the subway or buses.

The unlikely valet service will available from Saturday this week through September 27. The bicycles will be parked at the Met’s plaza on Fifth Avenue, north of the museum’s main steps.

The temporary bike valet service is the initiative of Kenneth Weine, the Met’s vice president of external affairs, who describes himself to Hyperallergic as an “avid biker.”

“This is an extraordinary time where there are more people bicycling,” Weine told Hyperallergic in a phone conversation. “The city, to its credit, developed more bike lanes and if we can be one extra link in that chain by offering an additional way for people to come to the museum, we’re happy to do it.”

Weine, who routinely bicycles to work at the Met from home in Brooklyn, added that the museum has also tripled the capacity of bike storage for staff. “We expect more staff to commute to work by bicycle,” he said.

Starting Saturday, the Met will be open five days a week, with limited hours. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, it will be open from 10am to 5pm and on Thursday and Friday, it will be open from 12pm to 7pm. The museum will limit its capacity to 25% and visitors will be required to reserve tickets online in advance. Face masks and social distancing will be mandatory. See the Met’s full visitor guidelines here.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual...