Saturday, January 7, 2017

Free and Easy

There are many perks of living in New York, which doubtlessly you know if you live here. However, there are some perks that even if you live here you might not be aware of, so I’m happy to tell you about one of them in particular. 

IDNYC is a free card you can get that will give you either a free one-year membership or admission (or both!!!) to an amazing amount of cultural institutions, sporting events, and entertainment venues all over the city. In my travels, I've found that people have sort of vaguely heard about it but never pursued it, have not heard about it at all, or have one and love it. I fell into the first category, having heard about it before, but had never taken advantage of it until I heard some of my favorite cultural venues were involved this year--they do change every year, but some do stick around, so it's worth renewing each time it seems.

To get the card, all you have to do is make an appointment to go get one online, then show up at your designated time, fill out an application and have your picture taken, then it’s mailed to you within two weeks. I went and signed up for mine yesterday morning (Friday) at the Mid-Manhattan Library right near Bryant Park. There are places you can go all over the five boroughs to make an appointment, though, and those places show up online when you go to select your time. 

I had to wait a while—about 45 minutes because they were busy and understaffed, unfortunately; and there was someone in front of me who had been there even longer, so make sure to bring a book or something—but as soon as it was my turn I was in and out. I’ll be excited when the card finally arrives because here are just SOME of the benefits:

Free membership at any institution where you have not been a member since January 1, 2013, which includes but IS NOT limited to places like :
The American Museum of Natural History
Carnegie Hall
Film Forum
Lincoln Center
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Opera
Museum of Modern Art
New York City Ballet
The Public Theatre
The Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo

The IDNYC benefits of membership for each institution vary, but you can check out what they entail on the IDNYC website here : For the most part, with each membership there’s lots of free admissions, special invitations, discounts (and, in some places, discounts on discounts because having a membership to Carnegie Hall, for example, entitles you to discounts at neighborhood restaurants as well as the venue itself—it’s like DISCOUNT-CEPTION), priority ticketing for events, and so much more. Mind, you aren’t immediately a member—of course, you do have to sign up for membership individually with each institution, but when you do the membership will, of course, be free. Normally membership at places like these, to get benefits like those offered to you, are upwards of 60, 70, 80 dollars (or more) so being a member at more than one place per year can get expensive. But not when you sign up! Frankly I’m kicking myself for not having gotten a card sooner.

Not to mention, you can also get discounted movie tickets (as low as $8), Broadway tickets and Cirque du Soleil tickets, 25% off some sporting events at Barclays Center, a 10% discount at Modell’s Sporting Goods, and so, so much more. 

When you’re a culture vulture like me in a city like New York, you want to see and do everything since it’s all at your fingertips…but that can get expensive. So, if you want to increase your ability to see awesome performances and shows and exhibitions, in my opinion this has to be one great way to do it. I'll report back if anything changes, but in the meantime I'm excited for the prospect of taking in even more culture than I did before. 

*swoons and floats away like the Sugar Plum Fairy I might finally be able to afford to see*

What are your experiences with IDNYC? Tell me below!