Scavenger Hunt of Modern Architecture in NYC

Whiskey Thieves -  Midtown 15 - Hoffman Auto (Mercedes of Manhattan)

New York has more than a fair share of famous buildings, and on Saturday, Open House New York and DoCoMoMo New York staged a scavenger hunt of Modern Architecture. Contestants were given about forty clues to find buildings, rooms, and sculptures around New York, mostly in Manhattan, and collect points for each one.

Sarah had signed us up, under the name The Whiskey Thieves, and we started our hunt at Room and Board, a modern furniture store in SoHo at 11:00 AM, and we had until 5:00 PM to find as many buildings as we could. To ensure we found the buildings, we took photos of ourselves, wearing a bright orange-and-black button, in front of the building, such as the photo in this post.

Whiskey Thieves -  Midtown 2 - Lever House

Although each of us had lived here for over ten years, we saw a good number of buildings for the first time. For example, I’ve probably biked past the corner of Park Ave and 59th St dozens of times, but I never knew that at the south-west corner, at 500 Park Avenue, was the former Pepsi Co. headquarters. A good number of the buildings were clustered around Park Avenue in the 50s, including the Seagrams Building, Lever House, and the Mercedes-Benz of Manhattan showroom (formerly the Hoffman Motors showroom).

Aside from finding buildings, we could earn points by taking photos of other assorted items, such as holding one of those Great Architects Lego models, one of us sporting Le Corbusier–style eyeglasses, or a copy of Le Corbusier’s Towards A New Architecture. We found a pair of glasses at Studio Optix in Rockefeller Center (thanks for letting us try them on), and at the Lego Store we found built-but-encased model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. We couldn’t find a printed copy of the Le Corbusier’s book so we settled for an iBook on my iPad.

We had to upload our photos to the Modern Architecture Scavenger Hunt Flickr pool by 2:00 PM today. You can see the results on my own Flickr set, and, of course, in my photo gallery.

Sarah and I are hoping we can do a scavenger hunt like this again. Will they do an Art Deco version in the future?

Leave a Comment