Will Bronx Cultural Institutions Finally Begin To Accept EBT / SNAP For Entry Payment?

Published on January 25, 2023, 8:45 am
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As one of many who advocate for those who are low-income, receiving EBT / SNAP federal food stamps each month, I am pleased to see so many NYC cultural institutions offering discounted or free admission to low-income New Yorkers, allowing them access into some of the finest cultural institutions in the world.

Recently, the newly opened Bronx Children’s Museum, agreed to an EBT / SNAP policy and now all low-income parents can take their children to this terrific children’s cultural playground, which is getting rave reviews for its first-rate architectural design and welcoming team of dedicated educators. Bravo and well done!

Many advocates hope that Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center (admission is free on Thursdays), the New York Botanical Garden (Grounds admission is available to NYC residents nly; proof of residency required and may only be purchased onsite. Grounds admission includes access to outdoor gardens and collections, including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Grounds admission is free to everyone regardless of residency on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and to NYC residents all day on Wednesdays), and the Bronx Zoo (free admission to children 2 and under) will soon follow in the progressive footsteps of the Bronx Children’s Museum, and post a policy for EBT / SNAP.

At present, that decision is still up in the air, which to many is not only disappointing, but somewhat shocking, as Bronx taxpayers fund, in part, the running of the above-mentioned institutions. Therefore should these 3 non-profit establishments not be more accomodating to an EBT / SNAP admission policy and kindly invite members of the low-income community to visit and to enjoy what they offer?

Over 1,000 cultural institutions all across America accept EBT / SNAP. US cities like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco are EBT / SNAP- friendly. Visit museums4all.org, to view the long lists, state by state.

Presented with fewer options in the Bronx, low-income residents can hop on a train, walk down 5th Avenue in Manhattan, and enter into the The Frick Collection, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Neue Galarie New York, and The Jewish Museum, all for free, just by showing their EBT / SNAP food stamps card at the box office. They could also take a train to Battery Park City, and go to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, entering with their EBT/ SNAP cards.

Why is this fantastic low-income policy not available at all of the 33 NYC arts and cultural institutions, which operate on City land, and are funded annually with $350 million taxpayers’ money?

Many are still waiting for answers from Mayor Eric Adams, who reportedly grew up on food stamps, his Commissioner for the Arts, Laurie Cumbo, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, local Bronx City Council elected officials, who are all at present, completely silent on the matter. The very same elected officials, who enthusiastically ask their low-income constituents to come out and vote for them on election day.

Additionally, where are people like AOC, Congressman Ritchie Torres and Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who all represent parts of the Bronx.

Perhaps the low-income adults of the Bronx need to begin asking specific questions, and pause and consider who to vote in the City Council later this year, and why.

The votes of over 1 million EBT / SNAP families throughout NYC do count. They should not be denied entry policies into the very cultural institutions they in part fund.

Whether current City Council members representing the Bronx in Districts 11 through 18 are worthy of re-election is a different topic, but here is the list, and sadly it does appear that all eight elected officials bar one, seem to some extent to underperform in their sworn elected duty to protect and serve all low-income parents and children, residing in their respective districts.

Prove me wrong.

  • D11 – Eric Dinowitz (silent);
  • D12 – Kevin Riley (silent);
  • D13 – Marjorie Valasquez (silent);
  • D14 – Pierina Ana Sanchez (somewhat silent);
  • D15 – Osvald Feliz (silent);
  • D16 – Althea Stevens (silent);
  • D17 – Rafael Salamanca, Jr. (silent);
  • D18 – Amanda Farias (silent).

Note: For full disclosure, the staff for Pierina Ana Sanchez (D14) did agree to consider legislation for EBT / SNAP as a means of entry into the arts and cultural institutions of NYC. However, Council Member Sanchez has yet to speak to the press, or to protest outside of any such institutons, located in the Bronx or the rest of the City.

I am still patiently waiting for at least one NYC elected public servant to officially support EBT / SNAP policies for free or reduced admission into the arts and cultural institutions of New York City.

Perhaps Pierina Ana Sanchez of the Bronx could be the first.

We shall see and I hope so.


Adrian Edwards-Smith
Advocacy for the Disabled


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