New York's Met continues to stand tall

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a cultural cornerstone of New York city, standing proudly in the eastern edge of Central Park akin to some sort of lantern of enlightenment in the most bustling of bustling American concrete jungles.
Its status as a centrepiece for culture is no mean feat in a city as vibrant, intoxicating and exciting as New York, which for generations has seen visitors come from far and wide, intent on taking a healthy and satisfying bite out of the Big Apple.
In many ways the Met is one of but a number of cultural jewels the city has to offer, indeed it is a building blanketed in a thick smog of history, having been first set up in 1870.
More than two million pieces of art from all corners of the world call this late 19th century structure home, meaning it is perhaps no surprise to see that today it seems to be more popular than ever.
Indeed, with the injection of stronger tourism figures, as well as a recent series of popular shows and the inspired introduction of a seven-day week, the Met’s dedicated congregation swelled last year to 6.3 million visitors – the highest figure since records began over four decades ago.
It is the fourth consecutive year that the museum has posted visitor figures above the six million mark, subsequently making it part of a prestigious popularity club that includes elite names such as the National Gallery, the British Museum in London and the Louvre, the latter being the world’s biggest draw, with more than 9 million devoted art lovers coming through its doors in each of the last three years.
However, getting people through the doors is not always a guaranteed way to line the museum’s collective pocket. In fact it’s been quite the opposite, with officials stating that the average amount paid by visitors under the Met’s discretionary admission policy is currently at an average of around $10, just shy of the $11 taken in previous years.
Harold Holzer, a spokesman, told the New York Times that the fall, which has occurred amid the backdrop of museum’s sometimes optimistic suggested donation of $25, has been mainly due to a rise in more international tourists, combined with a comparatively stronger dollar.
This has led to many international visitors seeing their spending power depleted, although it has not dampened the levels of enthusiasm among art’s strongest aficionados and indeed the New York locals, many of which have a keen eye for a bargain in a city where the cost of living continues to stretch wallets to the limits of acceptability.
Perhaps in a way that is how the Met has retained its appeal, offering a calming and warming cultural shelter, effortlessly whisking attendees away from the bustling city, allowing them to recalibrate the way they view some of the world’s finest works of art and, with any luck, the world around them too.