By Juan Soto

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s municipal identification card could come with a surprise — a huge cultural surprise.

The administration is in negotiations with the city’s cultural institutions to offer discounts and memberships to cardholders, who will be issued the cards in January.

It is possible then that the New York City Identity Card will come with a free membership for cultural paradises, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“This is a win-win situation,” said Cathy Hung, executive director of the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning. “This is a great incentive.”

Hung pointed out that the Jamaica cultural institution “will definitely participate in this idea.”

The proposal is being discussed, and the city’s Cultural Institutions Group, which includes the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning and the Queens Museum of Art, among others, formed a committee to study the mayor’s idea.

Preliminary benefits and discounted packages could come into place as early as next spring.

It will not be easy to figure them out mainly because there is no one solution to the proposal. The cultural institutions are different in size, content and exhibitions, ranging from Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Flushing Town Hall and the New York Hall of Science.

“Everybody is different,” Hung pointed out. “We have museums, we have zoos, we have botanical gardens.”

Proposals floating in the newly formed committee include free passes to the organizations for specific days of the week; discounts to exhibitions, seminars and courses; and other benefits.

One of the goals of the largest municipal ID program in the country is to provide city services for approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants living throughout the five boroughs.

With this ID card, New Yorkers who did not have a driver’s license or any kind of identification will be able to open bank accounts, cash checks or sign a lease.

All New Yorkers can apply for the new municipal identification card.

There seems to be an agreement with the cultural institutions about giving benefits to the municipal identification cardholders.

“The initiative under discussion dovetails quite nicely with the museum’s existing audience development initiatives,” said Carl Goodman, executive director of the Queens Museum of the Moving Image. “We are pleased that the mayor shares our conviction that the city’s cultural organizations can be central to the lives of all New Yorkers.”

“This is New York City,” Hung said. “This is a great incentive.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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