Deep pockets and taxes
Indeed. I've been to the Met a million times. It was standard field trip fodder in my youth and more than once we'd skip out of the museum, roam around the city and try to make it back before the bus left. If we missed it, public transportation would see us home for a few bucks.
The article correctly points out that the "suggested donation" is all but arm twisted out of you. If you try to go past without paying they intimate that you'd be kicked out and they'd call the cops. This is a lie. They are merely strongarming your and hoping you'll cave. Don't. Be polite but firm and ask if it is a suggestion or not. It may take some probing questions but they'll finally give up and let you in for free (or whatever you want to pay).
That said, the Met has over $2 billion in cash. I can tell you the perqs for board members is significant. Some years ago, a friend was flown in from NC to apply for the head chef position. He was given an Iron Chef type trial where they gave him a few ingredients (waygu beef being one) and told him to do his best. He didn't get the gig but I know the salary was very very good even for NYC standards. He also was astonished at the quality of the ingredients as well as the flatware, crystal everything and such.
Is it right that this organization which is supposed to be a charity and supposed to be free and open to the public isn't? Is it right that they are sitting on tens of millions of property in the most expensive city in the world and paying zero taxes? Shouldn't the IRS make a "suggested assessment"? Let's see if the Met would be eager to cough up what they would have to pay if they weren't a charity. My guess is no.