Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the City’s Municipal ID, which will launch in January 2015, will give all ID card holders access to one-year free membership packages at 33 of the City’s leading cultural institutions, including world class museums, performing arts centers, concert halls, botanical gardens, and zoos in all five boroughs. The Municipal ID/CIG one-year membership will be comparable to each institution’s standard one-year individual or family membership package, depending on the institution, and will give ID card holders a range of benefits including free admission, and access to special events, and discounts to museum shops.
The 33 institutions belong to the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) which is comprised of private nonprofit cultural organizations located on City owned property. The first member of the CIG, the American Museum of Natural History, was created in 1869 and the group has grown to include a diverse cross section of institutions in each of the boroughs. The City provides capital, operating and energy support to CIG members and in turn each institution is charged with providing access to cultural services and programming to all New Yorkers.
“The Municipal ID Program is one that has the potential to transform lives, and to help ensure its success the cultural community, and in particular the Cultural Institutions Group’s members, have stepped up to the plate,” said City Council Majority Leader and Chair of Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committee Jimmy Van Bramer. “Culture is always important in our City and with this announcement we are reminded of the centrality of the arts to our City. Access to the arts for all and a more just City is being accomplished with the help of these great institutions. It is a great day.”
“I am grateful to the Cultural Institutions Group for teaming up to make New York’s municipal ID program the envy of other cities,” said Municipal ID Bill Sponsor Council Member Daniel Dromm. “This world-class ID will make our city’s world-class cultural institutions accessible to every New Yorker, from recent immigrant families to students and young professionals. With all of the fun and exciting options that this card will provide, New Yorkers will have no excuse to fail to get a card or to stay at home.”
Flushing Town Hall
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Museum of the Moving Image
New York Hall of Science
Queens Botanical Garden
From the Observer:
But plenty of questions about the IDs still remain — including what documentation will be required to receive them and whether financial institutions will accept them to grant bank accounts or other services that were key to the argument the cards were necessary.
Mr. de Blasio told the Observer the process of determining what would be needed to prove identity and residency had been a thorough one that involved the NYPD, and Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal said draft rules would be up for comment soon.
“There will be a public hearing in early October to discuss things like what documents you need to bring to be able to show identify, residency, and what are some of the other rules and details of this program,” Ms. Agarwal told the Observer.
As for getting banks to accept the cards, Ms. Agarwal said progress was being made there, too.
“We’re in active conversations with the financial institutions as well as with their regulators to hopefully be able to announce soon enough the commitment of financial institutions participating with the municipal ID as well,” Ms. Agarwal said.