If you’ve read any of my past New York culture reviews (such as Then She Fell, Steve Cohen Chamber Magic, or Morning Gloryville), you’ll already know that I love to spend my time exploring the quirky activities that this great city has to offer. Most of these offbeat happenings are not advertised and I come of them by way of recommendations from friends and colleagues.
This is how I ended up “hacking the Met” on a recent Saturday evening. A co-worker raved about this underground tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and after a quick scan through the organization’s colorful website, I immediately purchased tickets and didn’t have trouble convincing a group of friends to join me.
I had been to the Met a few times before the Hack, but had always been overwhelmed by its size and wealth of information. The Met sprawls over 2.3 million square feet and 13 acres of Central Park, and I’ve never really known where to start. One of the draws of Hack the Met is that the renegade tour guides walk attendees through the major highlights, while also shedding light on some of the strangest and sexiest stories behind art pieces that you’d probably walk right by.
After receiving some sound advice from my colleague to attend Hack the Met with a slight buzz, Andrew and I met our friends Lindsey and Carter for a few cocktails at their Upper East Side apartment prior to our call-time. We packed a flask for some mid-evening “art appreciation” and met our enthusiastic, dapper tour guides in the Met lobby. Our bespectacled and bow-tied guides immediately greeted us with hugs and name tags as we waited for the rest of our intimate group to arrive.
I don’t want to give away any secrets, but we were treated to a myriad of exciting stories and fascinating facts in a variety of exhibits. We covered many of the Met’s most popular works, but also discovered many hidden treasures. Between the guides’ awesomely outspoken accolades and various hands-on activities throughout the tour, we were always moving and never bored. Our tour included Polaroid pictures with art pieces, slugging wine at the museum cafe, and singing on the museum steps. The hours spent during our evening Hack flew by; it was easily the most fun I have ever had at a museum!
Hack the Met has the tour down to a science from the ideal group size so that everyone can hear to strategically timing out our visits in each room so that we remained the only visitors in the museum after it had closed, without breaking an museum rules. This was probably the most special moment of our tour. The Met after dark is absolutely stunning, especially when you have the place all to yourself.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Hack the Met tour to New Yorkers and visitors alike. It may even be more meaningful to New Yorkers, as there is something special to discovering something in your own city. Carter has already booked his next Museum Hack with a friend coming into town and I’ve been haggling my HR department to arrange a corporate outing. The tour was outstanding and worth every penny of the $89 ticket (tickets start at $39, the VIP Night Tour is $89).
Hack the Met has since rebranded to Museum Hack as the group now offers tours of the Museum of Natural History in addition to the Met. Tickets can be purchased here and I recommend purchasing in advance as the small group tours sell out quickly.
All images courtesy of Museum Hack.