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The Disappearance of This New York Icon Made Me a Little Sad


(Left: The 16 colors of the former Metropolitan Museum Metal Buttons. Source: Hack the Met. Right: Wesley Yiin for Untapped Cities)

I was so sad — quite disproportionately sad — when I read that after 42 years, the Metropolitan Museum has decided to discontinue the use of its medal admissions tags. The price of the tin got too high.

I’ve always loved those metal admission buttons; I loved their changing colors, the nice feeling of bending the tin in my fingers, the feeling of satisfaction I got when I put the button in the special receptacle on the way out of the museum.

And now they’re gone! An icon of New York City — finished.

My mother is visiting from Kansas City, and she visited the museum, so I just saw her wearing the newfangled admissions sticker. “It’s just not the same,” I told her.

The end of the buttons is a good reminder: appreciate the little things while they last, because even things that seem as though they’d never change, will change. Feel grateful for those tiny pleasures that are so easy to take for granted.

I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay“:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day,

Nothing gold can stay.

Not even a gold Poupon Metropolitan Museum button.

Filed under: Art


Gretchen Rubin is one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on habits and happiness. Her books Happier at Home and The Happiness Project were both instant New York Times bestsellers, and The Happiness Project spent more than two years on the bestseller list, and has sold more than a million copies in 35 languages.

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