It’s virtually impossible to live a “normal” existence in NYC without a legal, government-issued ID. Things like renting an apartment, opening a bank account, and filling medical prescriptions all require municipal identification (passports often don’t cut it), and if you don’t qualify for such an ID, you’re basically excluded from the system. This has been the difficult reality of many in NYC, especially undocumented and homeless communities, who have had to live in the shadows.
Until yesterday, when the city launched IDNYC, the country’s biggest municipal ID program to date.
There is only one requirement to qualify for an IDNYC card, which can be used just like a driver’s license: that you have an NYC address. This is life-changing news for hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents, especially the undocumented community, who will be able to qualify for government-issued IDs for the first time and make use of a bunch of critical services they were previously barred access to.
“This is a day that we have been waiting for; it speaks to folding everyone into the fabric that is this city,” said our boricua NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito about the new program. “It’s more than an ID card, it’s an affirmation. You are a New Yorker.”
On top of this good news, IDNYC also comes with added perks that you can’t get from a regular driver’s license. Here are some bonuses that come along with the new ID card:
Free 1-Year Membership to 33 NYC Cultural Institutions
You no longer have to skip museums because you don’t want to pay the entry fee (or because you’re ashamed of skipping the suggested donation and getting side-eyed by the counter clerk). With IDNYC, you get a year of free membership to 33 of the city’s museums, botanical gardens, and other cultural institutions – including El Museo del Barrio and MoMA PS1.
No word yet on whether a PS1 membership will equal free or reduced admission to summer’s Warm Up parties, but we’re digging to find out so stay tuned.
For a full list of participating institutions, click here.
Public Library Access
Not only can you use your new ID as a public library card, you can use it in three boroughs at the same damn time. (This is the first time a single card can be used across the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Library Systems.) Pretty exciting stuff, although obviously this won’t matter anymore in a couple of years when all books are kindles and all libraries are underwater because the Atlantic has completely flooded the East Coast.
But until then, it’s a tri-borough book-lending bonanza.
Discounts on Movie Tickets, Sporting Events, + More
$15.50 movie tickets are for suckers. When you sign up for IDNYC, you’re eligible for a bunch of member discounts via the Entertainment Benefits Group, including movie tickets as low as $8.00 (aka I’ll be seeing Jurassic World in theaters thrice). You can also get discounts to Broadway shows, sporting events, and theme parks. Check out all the deals here.
Special Deals on Gyms and Fitness Centers
If you’re one of those people who made fitness-related New Years resolutions, then these discounts will probably be of interest to you. With IDNYC, you can get 10% off an annual NYC Parks Recreation Center membership, getting you access to Parks Dept. facilities like indoor pools, weight rooms, basketball courts, and dance studios. IDNYC holders are also eligible to receive 20% off of family memberships at all 22 YMCA centers citywide as well as a free 30-day trial and a 45-minute Fitness Evaluation with a certified trainer at any New York Sports Club locations.
People with IDNYC cards are eligible to receive a 5% discount on all purchases at Food Bazaar supermarkets from7:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday. To get the discount, all you have to do is show your IDNYC card at checkout.