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CultureHorde.com Serves Bite-Size Samples of City High Society

By Alan Neuhauser | March 18, 2013 3:32pm

MIDTOWN — A new Midtown-based venture is offering a spin through high-society without breaking the bank.

CultureHorde.com, founded by Pamela Mirels, is a members-only website that offers access to a range of intimate events across the Big Apple, from private concerts to salon-style evenings with The Metropolitan Opera.

"It is a way for New Yorkers to get a very curated cultural calendar and behind-the-scenes look into a lot of cultural events in New York, without having to belong to all the cultural organizations in New York," Mirels said.

Whereas a "Young Associates" introductory membership to the Metropolitan Opera starts at $600 for those in their 20s and 30s — and $1,250 for those 40 to 45 — year-long subscription to  CultureHorde.com costs $199. Ticket prices for events, meanwhile, range from $75 for a talk May 8 by lawyer-turned-pundit Alan Dershowitz, to $299 for VIP access to a private concert April 11 by Sixto Rodriguez, the rock icon at the center of the Oscar-winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man."

 CultureHorde.com has partnered with The Metropolitan Opera for a private event this spring.
CultureHorde.com has partnered with The Metropolitan Opera for a private event this spring.
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Facebook/The Metropolitan Opera

Each event is open to only a small number of people and includes cocktail hours and question-and-answer sessions with the stars.

"We give our members a very educational, sort of behind-the-scenes look at art and culture, which can be kind of intimidating," Mirels described.

"We never really wanted this to be about parties or being a social club, per se. We wanted this to be about a curated calendar for people who are trying to get the best out of New York, but it's hard to get access to, you don't have the time to shop around, or it's limited to these high-level donors," Mirels added.

In fact, Mirels and her staff of six is partnering with local culture groups for certain events. An upcoming event hosted by the Met's Young Associates Program, for example, is being opened to CultureHorde.com members.

"A lot of the arts organizations spend a lot of time educating their larger donors, and what they do with us is educate a new cadre of donors," Mirels said.

For opera in particular, she continued, "What you're seeing, it can be hard to take someone in. But if you spend a bit of time and explain it to them and explain how it's built up, they're much more interested."

The opera did not return calls for comment.

CultureHorde.com launched last month, and has since attracted more than 100 members — most in their 30s and 40s, but also "quite a number in their 50s and 60s," Mirels said. It's split 50/50 between men and women.

They are "well educated, upwardly mobile," from fields such as "banking, legal, healthcare, media and advertising," she said.

"You have some pretty pricey tickets on here. The events are high-end," Mirels said.

Nevertheless, for those aiming to become more immersed in New York City's cultural circles, "no matter your age, I think it's a good value. Especially if you're a busy person."