In this political climate, it’s easy to moan about the coarsening of our common culture. So let’s take a moment to consider the recent attendance news out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
New numbers crunched by the museum show that the Met had an extraordinary year in 2015, cementing its role as the top tourist destination in the city.
Three exhibitions last year -- China: Through the Looking Glass, The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe, and Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends — generated an estimated $946 million in spending in New York, according to the museum’s visitor survey. That is the highest number ever reported by the museum -- and worth celebrating at a time when so much else of what we see has taken on the feel of a reality TV show. What it shows, in our view, is that enduring quality, curated by experts and presented with intelligence, can still win out.
Some other numbers: During the 2015 fiscal year, the museum welcomed a record 6.3 million visitors, 26% of them from NYC, and 74% from outside the five boroughs.
This year, for the first time, the economic impact study included a separate section for New York City residents who visit the met, asking about the importance of different factors in their decision to live in the city.
Sixty-seven percent indicated that cultural attractions and activities are very important in their decision to live in New York City, and 53% indicated that The Metropolitan Museum of Art is very important in their decision to live here.
All worth remembering, especially now. So turn off the TV, close out of Twitter, and head over to Fifth Avenue. Six million people can’t be wrong.