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HEAD COUNT: The doors officially closed at midnight, but it wasn’t until 3 a.m. Monday, when the last gallery-goer left the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that the record-breaking Alexander McQueen exhibition was over. In total the exhibit attracted 661,509 people since it opened on May 4, a number that put it as the museum’s eighth most popular show ever. Meanwhile, a total of 31,000 people chose to wait, and wait, and wait in 90-degree temps on the final weekend (15,000 on Saturday, 16,000 Sunday) during which the Met stayed open until midnight.
This story first appeared in the August 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
On Sunday night at 8:30 p.m., Harold Holzer, senior vice president for external affairs at the Met, made the call to bring between 500 to 1,000 people off the street and into the Medieval galleries to queue. A thunderstorm was coming. At that point, a spokesperson for the museum estimated the wait at five hours — 2.5 outside, 2.5 inside. But there seemed to be ways around it. “I got here after 6 p.m.,” said one woman, who was about 10 yards from the exhibit doors.