Of Mice and Met

May 28, 2008 6:47:10 PM PDT
On-stage villains aren't the only vermin at the Metropolitan Opera. The grand theater at Lincoln Center, where much of New York's society gathers to show off gowns and jewels, has been cited for sanitary violations by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

During an April 9 restaurant inspection at the Met, the department found "evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or nonfood areas," according to reports on the department's Web site.

While "Die Fledermaus (The Bat)" is a Met staple, plain old mice are not. The department did not issue a notice of violation against the Met because the inspection found 13 violation points - below the average of 15 for New York City restaurants.

Met spokesman Peter Clark said he had no immediate comment and was awaiting a response from the organization that runs the Met's restaurants.

But that wasn't the only bad note struck by the Met, where tickets cost up to $12,500 each on some gala nights. The nation's largest musical organization also was cited for "food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

On March 28, the department said the Met had "plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly."

The Met, which opened in 1966, also was penalized for using "unacceptable material."