Can New Yorkers be lured back to the arts by a good deal?

The sound of a small jazz ensemble filled the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Saturday night. Warm candles light up the space. At the museum’s American Wing Café, Christa Chiao and Anna Lee Hirschi are sipping wine.

It was the first weekend of “Date Night” at the Met, an initiative to bring local visitors back to the museum Friday and Saturday nights with two-for-one cocktails, gallery chats and Free live music with New Orleans jazz bands, Renaissance groups and string quartets.

The museum’s efforts to attract visitors from the area come as many cultural institutions in New York worry not only about the decline in tourism during the pandemic, but also the continued struggle to attract visitors. draw the local crowd back. The Met is currently attracting the 62 percent of local visitors it did before the coronavirus pandemic, a change it attributes in part to the continued popularity of remote work.

“In this new reality, where many suburban residents are working virtual and don’t need to go to Manhattan, we, as cultural institutions, have to be creative and proactive,” said Ken Weine. encourage local tourists. a museum spokesman.

“The challenge facing the Met,” he said, “is really no different from a downtown small business.”

The Met isn’t the only artsy establishment trying to entice local visitors back into deals as the Omicron rise dwindles and coronavirus outlook seems to be improving.

  • Lincoln Center recently announced a new one “Choose what you pay” ticketing program for its American Songbook series at Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, with a minimum ticket price of $5 and a suggested price of $35, in an effort to make their show accessible closer.

  • Museum of Modern Art announced This week, it will restart its free admission program for New York City residents on the first Friday of every month, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • And this year NYC & Company, the city’s travel agency, Broadway NYC Week Extends – during which time audiences can get two-for-one tickets to most Broadway shows – for two more weeks, through February 27.

Chris Heywood, a spokesman for NYC & Company, says the move to extend Broadway Week deals is proving popular: By mid-February, he said, the show’s website was getting a lot of traffic. more access than in 2020, before the pandemic closed. Broadway.

Winter has traditionally been a downfall for museums and the performing arts, arts officials note, and this season is made even more difficult by tourism lags and disruption caused by the Omicron variant, forced several art establishments to retreat at a time when the city was victoriously seeking to recover.

Now, with spring approaching, some arts groups say they hope to essentially restart reopenings that began in the fall. They hope the transactions will help.

Met, has allowed New York State residents pay what they want for admission, is trying to sweeten the deal. At the start of the second “Date Night” last Saturday, the museum was busy and bustling, with lines coming in and out late into the evening.

As they sipped wine and shared a special date night box of dipping sauces and veggies, Chiao, 28, of Harlem, and Hirschi, 29, of Washington, said it was the first time. They returned to the museum for the first time since before the pandemic started. They didn’t know about the “Date Night” promotion, but they went on a date and were happy to be in it.

“Looks like the time has come,” Chiao said. “It is your own risk assessment. I think more about what I’m going to do – is this worth it? I think I’ll try to get out and do more things. “

Patrick Driscoll, 34, and Kathryn Savasuk, 33, of the Upper West Side, are also dating at the Met, and said they are increasingly comfortable hanging out. They took advantage of a two-for-one Broadway ticket, having won tickets to “The Company,” a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical.

“We’re going to feel comfortable in a way, but it’s definitely a pull to go out, get active and get in the flow of attending these kinds of events again,” Driscoll said of transactions. And they plan to keep going to theaters even for shows that don’t offer a buy two get one free offer: They already have tickets to see Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga in the upcoming Broadway play “Macbeth.”

Back in the Great Hall, Allan Shikh, 21, wrapped his arms warmly around Ami Kulishov, 21, as the jazz band wrapped up its first performance. They also don’t know that their romantic evening has fallen into an official “Date Night”. Anyway, they were there.

“We consider ourselves quite artistic,” says Shikh. “I really don’t need much manipulation.” Can New Yorkers be lured back to the arts by a good deal?

Fry Electronics Team

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