2017 id NYC Benefits Are Even Better This Year

 In Personal Finance

W e are revisiting the topic of id NYC benefits and looking at how to maximize them in 2017. Now in it’s second full year, I’m seeing more of a pattern around how to take advantage of the discounts (which I’m pretty sure is the biggest draw for folks who already possess a government-issued ID). There are also new benefits in store for 2017 which are intriguing and make up for the somewhat byzantine level of jockeying necessary to access the cultural offerings. I am amazed and impressed by what the program administrators have made possible and it reaffirms why city living can be a great thing, even if early retirement is slightly delayed. Read on!

How to Get an id NYC card

L  ike the DMV, you can schedule your appointment for an id NYC card online and some of the 26 processing sites are pretty generous with their times. I initially applied for mine at the Midtown Manhattan New York Public Library and was able to snag a 630 pm appointment which was much appreciated. You’ll want to bring the appropriate documentation with you and for me, just having a NY State Non-Driver ID card was enough (an NY State driver’s license also satisfies the requirements). Even if you have a driver’s license from another state, the documentation checklist will help you sort out what you need to bring to be eligible. New for 2017: You can fill out the application online, but you’ll still have to show up physically to one of the 26 processing sites in order to show proof of identity.

What I’m Most Excited About

A s a lifelong learner, the 2017 benefit I’m most excited about are the educational programs you can now sign up for. With your id NYC card, you’ll receive access to exclusive discounts on 75,000+ classes in New York City via CourseHorse. To claim your  class discount, you’ll need your ID number on the front of your id NYC card and your email address. You can also try to see if you can claim these classes as a tax deduction when you file next year through the hobby deduction (assuming you made income). Course Horse is not an accredited financial institution, so you can’t claim it under the education credits. You’ll get 15% off NYC-based classes that include the following below.

You can also use your IDNYC card to save on classes at 1,000+ schools in NYC including:

id NYC Benefits

I  t’s rather simple – the cultural benefits it provides are astounding in 2017 and new benefits have been added as well.  You are eligible for a one-year free membership package at 40 leading cultural institutions . Veterans get their own special card and set of benefits. In addition, IDNYC cardholders will receive $25 off adoption fees for Cats, Dogs and Rabbits. ACC adoptions include vaccinations, a microchip, spay/neuter, a free office visit at a participating veterinarian and a free identification tag. Finally, you also get the following health/fitness benefits:

  • New York Road Runners: Cardholders receive a complimentary one year membership entitling them to discounts on race entry fees, advance registration on select races, and eligibility for guaranteed entry into the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon via the 9+1 program (among other things).
  • Modells’s Sporting Goods: id NYC cardholders can now receive 10% off in store purchases (some exclusions apply).
  • New York City Parks Department – Adults age 25-61 receive a 10% discount off annual and six-month NYC Parks Recreation Center memberships at any of Parks’ 35 neighborhood recreation centers. This gives you access to a range of fitness classes, recreational facilities (pools!), and sports programs.
  • YMCA – With your id NYC card, you will receive access to Y Roads young adult centers and New Americans Welcome Centers, which offer adult literacy programs. You will also receive 15% off of family and adult memberships at all 22 YMCA centers citywide. If you want access to a pool, this is your most egalitarian way to swim without having to rent or own in a building that has a pool.
  • Citi Bike – With your id NYC card you will save 15% on your annual Citi Bike membership during your first year as a new Citi Bike member.

For a full list of the goodies you can take advantage of, check this site out.

So What’s the Catch?

T  here isn’t a catch per se, but you can’t count on flashing this card alone to unlock all the cultural benefits mentioned above. You have to show up in person to enroll for membership in the museums/cultural institutions, and you may not be able to take advantage of benefits that same day. What’s new in 2017 too is that there are now two official rules for signing up for membership:

  • id NYC card must have a valid expiration date
  • You can only sign up for free membership if you have not been a member of the institution since January 1, 2013. If you were a member after that date, you cannot get a free IDNYC membership at that institution. You are still eligible for the other memberships.

T  his means that you need to pick and choose your programs wisely so as to have something to look forward to in the following years. Don’t sign up for everything all at once, barely visit, then get locked out of free membership in the following year. I have to admit that I myself maybe flashed my id NYC card once a month over the course of 2016 which isn’t as often as I had envisioned doing, so this only underscores the importance of committing to maybe 2-3 institutions towards which to focus your time in 2017. Of course, I’m not sure if cultural institutions are keeping great records, so if someone does try to sign up again for membership at an institution where they already were a member and were successful, I’d love to hear from you!

T  he other thing to keep in mind is that not every institution will return to offer free membership in the following year. These institutions were part of the 2016 program but are no longer participating in 2017: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, David H. Koch Theater, Guggenheim Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Museum of the Moving Image, New Museum, New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Staten Island Historical Society and the Staten Island Zoo. Meanwhile, these new institutions joined in 2017: Center for Performance Research, China Institute, Drawing Center, Film Forum, Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the Museum of Arts and Design, Park Avenue Armory, St George Theatre, Sugar Hill and the Symphony Space.

Things To Keep In Mind

I  n the end, a quick scan of membership sign-up procedures makes it sound like you have to always remember to sign up on-site for membership at the institution of your choice and you’ll have to hope that they will give you a same-day temporary pass that you can use when you show up so you can enter the venue on the same day. Most places should honor that (it would be silly for a museum to tell you that you couldn’t at least go in the day you showed up to sign up for membership!), but remember that at places where you’re looking to take advantage of a showtime (like say a movie at BAM), you might not be able to enroll in membership the same day.

T he id NYC card is still phenomenal value when you consider that you can get into these major cultural institutions for free all year round. It’s sad that the administrators couldn’t work out a deal wherein your id NYC was actually the only thing you needed to flash in order to get into said cultural institutions, but you know, if people want to make themselves feel better by being paper pushers, I won’t mind as they don’t get in the way of my flow.

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