Now its third year, New York’s identification card program, IDNYC, has been providing a free alternative to getting a driver’s license as an ID while offering a cultural perk: Free one-year memberships to 40 of the city’s finest institutions, including MoMA, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. For 2017, IDNYC is adding ten more, including Museum of Arts and Design, the Museum at Eldridge Street and Film Forum. Not only that, the cards provide discounts for first-time Citi-Bike users, plus savings on certain Barclay Center Events and shopping at Food Bazaar supermarkets during select hours. In addition, IDNYC allows you to take books out of the library and even open a bank or credit account in certain places.
Not surprisingly, the card has been a boon for the elderly, the homeless and immigrants. However, the last group has embroiled the program in political controversy. With an incoming Trump administration vowing a crack-down on immigrants, Mayor Bill De Blasio has announced that IDNYC would no longer store the personal information of its applicants and that furthermore, the data that exists now would be destroyed—leading to a lawsuit filed by Republican Assembly members who want the info retained. (Thanks to the suit, De Blasio is prevented from moving forward on his promise).
In the meantime, cardholders can apply for memberships at any of the participating institutions as long as they haven’t a membership for that institution in the past four years.