Zoning Hunt Collage

On Saturday, July 9th, almost 300 people in 76 teams participated in the Zoning New York Scavenger Hunt, a day-long race across the city to visit as many zoning-related sites and landmarks as possible. The event was organized by Open House New York in partnership with the Museum of the City of New York in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of New York City’s 1916 Zoning Resolution, the first such law passed by any city in the United States. The enthusiasm and excitement of the participants served as a vivid illustration of New Yorkers’ passion for learning about their city and how it is shaped.

Upon checking in, teams received booklets containing 60 clues (and three bonus clues) and were tasked with figuring out what site each clue was referring to, and then visiting and photographing their team at as many of those sites as possible before 5:00 PM. Clues were worth different amounts depending on their difficulty and their distance from the starting and ending locations in Manhattan. What follows is a breakdown of everything that happened over the course of the day.

 

Total # of photos submitted: 1,204
Photos submitted per hour: 172
Photos submitted per minute: 2.9

 

Teams that went to at least one outer borough: 54 (including the top 30 teams)
Teams that went to 2-3 outer boroughs: 40 (including the top 18 teams)
Teams that visited all five boroughs: 1 (Bored of Standards and Appeals)

 

Most popular outer borough sites:

  1. Clue #17: Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Brooklyn/Staten Island (32 teams—though most took their photo from afar)
  2. Clue #8: One Hanson Place, Brooklyn (24 teams)
  3. Clue #51: New York Wheel Construction Site, Staten Island (22 teams)
  4. Clue #36: Dino’s Wonder Wheel, Coney Island, Brooklyn (21 teams)
  5. Clue #26: Sheepshead Bay Bridge, Brooklyn (20 teams)

 

Most correctly-identified sites:

  1. Clue #1: Woolworth Building, Manhattan (46 teams)
  2. Clue #2: Equitable Building, Manhattan (46 teams)
  3. Clue #7: Empire State Building (39 teams)
  4. Clue #13: Seagram Building (37 teams)
  5. Clue #16: Zuccotti Park POPS (36 teams)

 

Clues most frequently answered incorrectly:

  1. Clue #29: Sidewalk Cafes (59.4% of teams who attempted this one thought the clue referred to the city’s street plazas—but these are managed and created by the Department of Transportation, not City Planning)
  2. Clue #39: Todt Hill Communications Tower (56.25% of teams who tried for this 15-pointer guessed the wrong tower, a mere 600 yards away from the correct answer)
  3. Clue #3: The O’Neill Building on the Ladies’ Mile (25.8% of the teams who went for this clue mistook the nearby building at 170 Fifth Avenue—which has one gold dome, not two as indicated in the clue—for the correct answer)

 

Least-visited sites:

  1. Clue #18: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Brooklyn (1 team)
  2. Clue #47: 207th Street MTA Rail Yard, Manhattan (2 teams attempted, but just one got it right)
  3. Clue #49: The Edge, Brooklyn (3 teams attempted, 2 got it right)
  4. Bonus #3: Congregation Shearith Israel, Manhattan (3 teams attempted, 2 got it right)
  5. Clue #27: Mixed-Use Development site at 44th Drive at the East River, Queens (4 teams)

 

Farthest distance between two sites: As the crow flies, 24.25 miles separate Clue #37 (City Island) and Clue #39 (Todt Hill)
Shortest distance between two sites: Clue #2 (the Equitable Building) and Clue #16 (Zuccotti Park POPS) are a scant 75 feet apart

 

Total points scored: 3,730
Average points per team: 49
Median score (by request!): 47

 

Top 10 teams (by total points scored):

  1. Bored of Standards and Appeals (143)
  2. The Royal Counties (132)
  3. 421-Heyyy (112)
  4. The Broncks (96)
  5. Let’s Boogie! (94)
  6. Permitted Obstructionists (92)
  7. The Seven-Acre Shadow (90)
  8. ABNY Off the Gridders (89)
  9. Shabbas Hunters (88)
  10. Mies’s Pieces (85)

Congrats to the winners, and thank you to all of the participants who made this such a fun event!