I got my NYCID in the mail last week, so it’s safe to say I now make the cut of being a real New Yorker. Yes? Maybe?;-) For those of you who maybe haven’t heard of the ID yet, it’s “a government-issued identification card that is available to all City residents age 14 and older. Immigration status does not matter.”
Now I, like many of my friends who have the card, didn’t actually need it as a form of identification (that’s what driver licenses and passports are for, right?) Instead, we jumped at the opportunity to get the card because it makes you “eligible for a one-year free membership package at 40 of the City’s leading cultural institutions, including world class museums, performing arts centers, concert halls, botanical gardens, and zoos in all five boroughs.” Umm, yes please!!!
While some of these museums are technically free with donation all the time (MET and American Museum of Natural History, I’m talking to you!), having the ID and thus membership doesn’t make you feel completely cheap if you walk in with, say, a $2 donation, and also probably encourages you to go to these places more than once a year. And, the ID gives you access to many places that AREN’T donation only, such as MOMA, the NYC zoos, Museum of the Moving Image, and many more. It even has a few hidden perks, such as free tickets to rehearsals at the NYC Ballet, free tickets to rehearsals at Carnegie Hall, 5% discount off all purchases at Food Bazaar supermarkets in New York City on weekdays, Monday through Friday, from 7:00am to 7:00pm, 50% off most FDA-approved prescription medications at most NYC pharmacies through your unique card number which is part of BigAppleRX, steep discounts at many NYC theaters, and $8 movie tickets. Awesomesauce, right?
Now, according to their website, the NYCID benefits “every city resident, including the most vulnerable communities—the homeless, youth, the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.” However, I think it would be fascinating to know out of the 750,000+ current card holders, how many of them actually fit into one of those vulnerable categories? Obtaining the card isn’t difficult, per say, but you do have to make an appointment online to stop by one of the centers to get the card…and once there you have to have proof of current residency and a photo ID. Even for myself, I realized once there that my driver license had my old NYC address on it…so then I had to go to a computer and print out a current bank statement with my NEW address before they would process the application…while toting around an infant. And then once you actually HAVE the ID, you have to apply separately for each membership you wish to have…which, again, is a lot of time spent on the internet and mailing in forms.
So again, all this leads me to wonder…is the NYCID benefiting those groups of people it was created for? Or are the 750,000+ people who have the ID mostly middle class city transplants (like myself) looking to squeeze the most culture out of the city for the least amount of money? Would love to see a report with that information published, wouldn’t you? Let’s discuss below!
We hoped you enjoyed this month’s edition of Big Apple Dinner Party Discussions! If you have suggestions of NYC topics/places you would like explored, please leave them in the comments below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!