Freebies, including a $33 MetroCard, offered to get more New Yorkers vaccinated

Local News

NEW YORK — Free seven-day unlimited MetroCards, or tickets to professional soccer or baseball games, or to the region’s largest aquarium, or to the botanical gardens: all of those free tickets are among the incentives being offered by both the State of New York and New York City to get more people to get vaccinated against coronavirus, as vaccination rates decline.  

Similarly, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio both pointed out on Monday, infection rates are their lowest in six months. They said that they were concerned that infections could eventually increase if more people don’t get vaccinated. Currently, about a third of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

The initiative that the state unveiled on Monday involves giving away valuable commuter passes to people who get vaccinated at pop-up sites set up from Wednesday to Sunday this week at subway and commuter rail stations.

The pop up sites will be open at the following subway and commuter rail hubs:  

179th Street – Jamaica – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Broadway Junction – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Coney Island – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
East 180th Street, The Bronx – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Grand Central Terminal – Vanderbilt Hall – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hempstead LIRR station – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Ossining – MetroNorth station – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Penn Station – 34th St. Corridor – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

At the subway stops, people receiving vaccines will receive a 7-day unlimited MetroCard, free of charge.  That’s a $33 value.  

At the MetroNorth and LIRR stations, people receiving a vaccination will receive two one-way tickets for free.

A subway rider named Michael said that he’d willingly get the vaccine at Penn Station, where he was passing through on Monday afternoon with his family.

“It’s less money I have to spend [from] my pocket,” he said.  

Terrence “T” Jones, another commuter at Penn Station, said that he, too, would take advantage of the offer, which was announced by Gov. Cuomo, MTA Chair Pat Foye, and interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg.

“If I’m saf, I’ll do it,” Jones said.

The transit station vaccination program is part of a larger effort by both the state and the city to attract more people to vaccines by providing more incentives.

Mayor de Blasio also announced an initiative on Monday that he’d previewed last Friday.

“Anyone who’s not gotten vaccinated, now is the time,” the mayor said.  “And we want to make it easier and we want to make it fun, and we want to give you some incentive.”

He announced a list of free tickets at his daily morning news conference on Monday.

“You’ll get them when you get vaccinated,” he said.  

The tickets provide free access to:

The Bronx Zoo
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Cyclones
Lincoln Center
New York Botanical Garden
New York City Aquarium
NYC Ferry
New York City Football Club
The Public Theater

The free admission tickets will be available to people who get vaccinated at city sites. Exactly which ones, and how a person can obtain which tickets was where the mayor underdelivered.  He said that the information was not yet available.  

“You’re going to hear about these exciting incentives and more over the coming days,” he said.

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