The Metropolitan Museum of Art broke ground Monday on a new plaza outside its iconic entrance. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is known the world over for its blockbuster shows, expansive collection and its front steps. Not to worry as the iconic steps popular with New Yorkers and tourists alike are not changing, though everything around them is.
"We are going to build new fountains on either side of the steps. Beautiful state-of-the-art fountains. And then beyond that we're going to have trees with seatings. Elegant and in and in keeping with this great facade," said Metropolitan Museum of Art Director and CEO Thomas Campbell.
Construction has already begun, but Monday the museum officially broke ground on the new plaza. It will be named for board member David Koch who underwrote the $65 million project. Koch was inspired by the re-imagining of Lincoln Center's plaza and fountain where he is also a board member. He says the fountains are the centerpiece.
"When they are activated they will be the joy of this plaza," said Koch. "They will be computer-controlled, the water will dance in all kinds of magnificent ways."
It's all meant to make the museum more accessible and inviting. The Met welcomes more than six million visitors a year and that number could soon grow. The museum tells NY1 it will open seven days a week starting as early as July 1.
"The museum was open seven days a week until 1971. But in 1971 we closed it one day a week to save money. Now with tourism booming like never before we have sufficient visitors to be open seven days a week," Campbell said.
Until then, the Met will be open on "Holiday Mondays" including Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Monday of Presidents Day weekend.
The plaza is set to reopen in the fall of 2014.
For more information, visit metmuseum.org.