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NYC Ballet PricesAudience Member Goes on Strike


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#166 paulofnyc

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 09:25 PM

I have written two letters to Ms. Brown, two letters to Peter Martins and one letter to the chairman of the NYCB board. I have had no reply. The last letter said good bye after subscribing through five decades.

#167 Eileen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:38 AM

"Thank you Eileen, for trying to be our voice." - from vipa

What an honor and a responsibility. There are slim chances of publication in the Times, as their ways are arcane and they are looking for writers of greater exoticism than I can offer. I am not from a currently fashionable ethnic group. All I have is a passionate desire to speak the truth with honesty, forthrightness, and hopefully, courage.

Last night I tried to sell (successfully) a Mariinsky ballet ticket starring Vishneva in front of the Met Opera. The desire for tickets was far greater than availability. Mine was the only one available. Most of the prospective buyers were Russian. I knew they were not interested in my ticket, as it was expensive. I explained to them that the face value on my ticket had been increased by the box office by $50 and I thought $25 more than that was not excessive. But they had been raised in Communism, where profiting is not only illegal, but also viewed as immoral. The looks on their faces showed me clearly that they considered my offering to sell a prime orchestra ticket at a profit was an act of immorality. It was stealing from the people. It was nonkulturny. I knew only an American would understand the economics of it - I had a very scarce commodity and there was a huge number of people looking for tickets, although at low prices. Many Russians queried me about the price and I said gently, "I'm sorry, it's rather expensive." I was looking for someone who could afford my price. One (American) woman told me what I am doing is illegal and she threatened to report me to the guards. I told her, "You are misinformed. Reselling tickets at a higher price is now legal. Have you read the New York Civil Code?" I had not read the New York Civil Code, but I will research it tomorrow at work. I invariably find people who believe profiting from tickets to be immoral are people who believe it is moral to offer me quite a bit less than face value, and when that does not succeed, tell me to my face that I am a criminal! They want a bargain, and they want me to give them the bargain, rather than to one of their many competitors in the below-value "market".

Ironically enough, a stranger told me a woman is looking for a ticket and brought forward this woman who had threatened me! I said forthrightly, "I would never sell to her. She threatened to report me to Lincoln Center." I felt murmurs of approval from the crowd, watching this drama. I then quickly sold the ticket to a well dressed woman who could afford it.

My point in all this is now I am on the other side, I was a seller of a ticket, and I was dealing with all those who felt entitled to low cost tickets from me. But how was I to choose among them? Should I offer it to the shabby Russian lady who offered me $30? The box office price was $177 now, and there were no tickets available. The free market was the only way I could distinguish among all the "offers" pouring in, by selling to the best price offered for my ticket. City Ballet is doing the same thing. Someone asked me, "Why are you selling?" I thought for a moment and said, "Because I need the money more than I need to see the ballet." I had a commodity in great demand. The only problem was the excess of Russians who believed selling tickets for a profit was immoral, who were aware of the American free market but considered it "criminal" and freedom run amuck. A few Americans supported me, understood I was not overcharging under the circumstances. "It's a fair price," one American man told me.

So here I am defending City Ballet once I am in their shoes! They have a hot commodity and they want to sell it for the highest price to a rarefied, well to do audience. I guess we are the poor Russians, believing we have a "right" to inexpensive tickets. This is the free market, folks, like it or not. I will take the money I made selling ballet tickets and go to "exotic" Canada where I will splurge on Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Life's expensive. Life takes money.

#168 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:06 AM

They removed prime viewing seats in the orchestra at the request of the New York City Opera, who have now decamped, in order to make aisles. Judging from a picture of the auditorium in today's Times, it looks like some ninety seats could be reinstated, which would help with meeting demand for good seats under the new plan, if that's what we're forced to live with.

#169 Goldfish17

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:53 AM

Last night I tried to sell (successfully) a Mariinsky ballet ticket starring Vishneva in front of the Met Opera. The desire for tickets was far greater than availability. Mine was the only one available. Most of the prospective buyers were Russian. I knew they were not interested in my ticket, as it was expensive. I explained to them that the face value on my ticket had been increased by the box office by $50 and I thought $25 more than that was not excessive. But they had been raised in Communism, where profiting is not only illegal, but also viewed as immoral. The looks on their faces showed me clearly that they considered my offering to sell a prime orchestra ticket at a profit was an act of immorality. It was stealing from the people. It was nonkulturny. I knew only an American would understand the economics of it - I had a very scarce commodity and there was a huge number of people looking for tickets, although at low prices. Many Russians queried me about the price and I said gently, "I'm sorry, it's rather expensive." I was looking for someone who could afford my price. I then quickly sold the ticket to a well dressed woman who could afford it.

The only problem was the excess of Russians who believed selling tickets for a profit was immoral, who were aware of the American free market but considered it "criminal" and freedom run amuck. A few Americans supported me, understood I was not overcharging under the circumstances. "It's a fair price," one American man told me.

I guess we are the poor Russians, believing we have a "right" to inexpensive tickets. This is the free market, folks, like it or not. I will take the money I hade selling ballet tickets and go to "exotic" Canada where I will splurge on Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Life's expensive. Life takes moxie.


I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

#170 canbelto

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 08:12 AM

I've tried to sell a ticket in front of the Met (I always give a discount) and have been spirited away by police, even threatened to be arrested by some police. I usually then walk to Avery Fischer Hall to complete the transaction. So I find this story somewhat unbelievable, that you were holding a mini-auction. And even then, why the gratuitous comments about Russians? Many of them have been in the U.S. for many years and it's a stretch to think that they're all stuck in this "communist" mentality.

#171 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

I've tried to sell a ticket in front of the Met (I always give a discount) and have been spirited away by police, even threatened to be arrested by some police. I usually then walk to Avery Fischer Hall to complete the transaction.

I wish somebody would clarify the rules about this. I tried to give away a ticket for the Met's Rheingold--it was completely sold out and I just wanted to place the ticket in the hands of some impoverished-looking student--and security told me I couldn't even do that unless I moved to the front of the plaza. Well, it was five minutes before curtain and I didn't have time, so the ticket went to waste. It's a public space. Does Lincoln Center security have the right to shoo away people who are not engaged in anything unlawful? Or maybe I'm wrong. Does anybody know for certain what the New York laws are about this nowadays? I tried but failed to find something online.

#172 Eileen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:29 AM

I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.

#173 canbelto

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:51 AM

I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.


Well I'm American, and I find jacking up the price of a ticket that you're trying to sell tacky. I don't ever do it and that has nothing to do with culture, but personal values.

#174 Eileen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:57 AM


I do not think perceiving cultural differences from first hand observation is offensive or inappropriate. It teaches you something about different cultures with different assumptions. Are we so fragile that we quail at any comment that points out legitimate cultural differences? I saw the disapproval from the Russians, and the approval from the Americans. I can certainly understand people who grew up with the idea that selling for a profit is immoral may keep those views into adulthood, just as I keep into adulthood my American views inculcated in childhood. The cultural differences are fascinating and to try to quash an observation that may actually shed light on the differences between people from different cultures would be nothing less than totalitarian.


Well I'm American, and I find jacking up the price of a ticket that you're trying to sell tacky. I don't ever do it and that has nothing to do with culture, but personal values.


Thanks for your input, I will take it under consideration while I enjoy Quebec City. We all have our personal values.

#175 Helene

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:09 PM

I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

If you have a problem with a post, please report this via the "Report" button in the bottom left corner of the post, and the Moderators will review it. That is our site policy.

I find that making sweeping generalizations about populations is pretty ridiculous. I can't be offended as a Russian, but I can be offended that I'm included in the generalization about Americans. Where I grew up, it was illegal, and may still be, to charge more than the face value of a ticket plus fees, and I don't think most Americans think it is a cultural imperative to do something illegal.

#176 Goldfish17

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:25 PM



I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

If you have a problem with a post, please report this via the "Report" button in the bottom left corner of the post, and the Moderators will review it. That is our site policy.


Will do. Thank you, Helene.

#177 Eileen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:32 PM



I am extremely surprised that this offensive post has not been deleted or at least edited by moderators.

If you have a problem with a post, please report this via the "Report" button in the bottom left corner of the post, and the Moderators will review it. That is our site policy.

I find that making sweeping generalizations about populations is pretty ridiculous. I can't be offended as a Russian, but I can be offended that I'm included in the generalization about Americans. Where I grew up, it was illegal, and may still be, to charge more than the face value of a ticket plus fees, and I don't think most Americans think it is a cultural imperative to do something illegal.


Many people are under the misconception that it is illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value. But in New York State it is currently legal to sell for more than face value. Whether you choose not to is an entirely personal choice, but I am not doing anything illegal, merely enterprising.

#178 Helene

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:38 PM

In New York State it is legal to sell for more than face value.

Scalping became legal in 2007. Anyone over the age of, at most, ten, lived most of their lives in an environment where scalping was illegal.

#179 Goldfish17

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:48 PM

Many people are under the misconception that it is illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value. But in New York State it is currently legal to sell for more than face value. Whether you choose not to is an entirely personal choice, but I am not doing anything illegal, merely enterprising.


Those who resell tickets in the Empire State must be licensed by the area in which they are reselling them in addition to posting a bond. If the venue of the event seats more than 6,000 people, ticket resellers can charge 45 percent more than the face value of the ticket, while tickets for venues with smaller capacities can be 20 percent higher than the ticket. These resellers must also guarantee refunds, along with a number of other provisions.

http://nakedlaw.avvo...ickets-illegal/

#180 Roma

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:46 PM

We all have our personal values.


Clearly.
As a Russian American who grew up in this country, and simply as a human being, I found your post incredibly offensive and have reported it to the moderators.

As to the point that City Ballet tickets are a rare commodity and, therefore, the company, as a free market agent, can raise their prices sky high, I would argue that they should first try selling out the repertory season at the current price. If, as has been reported on the board, their average attendance rate is only 62%, they can not be said to be in possession of a hot commodity, and should sell their tickets at a discount instead of creating a false sense of scarcity by closing off the top two rings.


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