Midnight Madness 2015 was an urban scavenger hunt that began at dusk on Friday, August 8th. The prize this year? An incredible sense of accomplishment, an apple, and the knowledge that you helped at-risk kids in New York succeed in their lives, too.


Playgers gather at the starting line at the New York Public Library.



Audrey Munson in Civic Fame on the Municipal Building (1913)

Original ad for Audrey Munson staring in the silent film Purity (1916)


This year’s game was a tribute to Audrey Munson, New York City’s forgotten muse. Munson, an artist’s figure model and film actress, was depicted in many sculptures in New York City. In fact, walking around the city, it’s hard to avoid her gaze.

Midnight Madness 2015 raised $3.1 million for the New York City children’s charity Good Shepherd Services to help at-risk youth achieve their potential. The funds support the construction of a new community center in East New York, featuring a counseling room named after Audrey Munson. This year’s teams came from financial institutions in the tri-state area and Europe, and one west-coast tech startup.

Midnight Madness is inspired by New York: plastic, confusing, fast and slow, crowded and empty, aging and renewing, and beautiful at the most surprising times. Audrey’s story, too, is full of success, failure, and the pursuit of redemption. It’s the story of an American pop star, a local hero now forgotten, and a physical part of New York’s pattern. She’s a perfect muse for our game and a figure for New York.

Listen to the game’s theme song below.



Official results of MM2015:

01. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: 11:41
02. Midnight Train: 11:45
03. Imitation Gamers: 11:55
04. Hawkwardation: 12:01
05. The Citizens: 12:04:10
06. Ultraviolet: 12:04:47
07. Ronin: 12:05
08. Snow Crash: 12:06
09. Permuted: 12:08
10. Calm Sandhogs: 12:09
11. Sequential Collation: 12:10
12. Witching Hour Wizards: 12:12
13. The Unprojectables: 12:14
14. Summers: 12:16
15. Alphanauts: 12:18
16. Works as Designed: 12:23
17. Erebus: 12:32
18. Ansatz: —
19. Pantone 652: —
20. Real World Scenario: —
21. Recovery Lox: —


To mark each clue, we designed recognizable codewords. This year they took the form of sculptural pigeon signs, referencing Audrey Munson’s medium and everyday New York.


Codeword birds

Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds
Codeword birds




Zone Map Cards

Zone Map Cards

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The zones this year were revealed gradually, as was the theme of Audrey Munson. The circle on the zone map cards represents a voyeur’s scope as well as a coin. (Audrey is depicted on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.)

The New York Public Library (near the Beauty statue) served as the starting line, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (near the Mourning Victory statue) was the finish.



Zone 1

Zone 1 included the east side of lower Manhattan with 23rd St. as its north border and Broadway as its west border.


Zone 2

Zone 2 included the west side of lower Manhattan with 23rd St. as its north border and Broadway as its east border.


Zone 3

Zone 3 included much of the middle of Manhattan with 23rd St. as its south border and 59th St. as its north border.



Silver envelopes

Silver envelopes

Players receive differently sized silver envelopes throughout the game. The largest is received at the beginning.

 

At the beginning of Zone 1, all teams received a padded silver envelope containing:

- a canvas bag with Mahjong-like tiles (the first puzzle called “Starting blocks”)

- an invitation to Zone 2

- Zone 1 and Zone 2 map cards

- a game information booklet

- three mysterious tools: a caliper, a radio, and a thermometer


Game information booklet

Game information booklet
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Puzzle: “Starting Blocks”

Puzzle: “Starting Blocks”
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Puzzle: “Candy Stand”

Puzzle: “Candy Stand”
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Tribute photo

Tribute photo
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Puzzle: “Arcade Poster”

Puzzle: “Arcade Poster”


Puzzle: “Parking Signs”

Puzzle: “Parking Signs”
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Puzzle: “Tavern Crawl”

Puzzle: “Tavern Crawl”
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Invitation to Zone 2

Invitation to Zone 2

Invitation to Zone 3

Invitation to Zone 3

Performances in Zone 2

Zone 2 began with a dancing performance by Third Rail Projects on the steps leading up to the Museum of the American Indian. After the performance, each team was whisked away by an Audrey who told players her life story…



I moved to New York City with dreams of being a dancing girl. Can you imagine? One day, my mother and I were walking on the street when we noticed a man following us. 

He was staring … bobbing and weaving in the crowd, never taking his eyes off of me. Finally my mother confronted him.

He was embarrassed — and he apologized, explaining that he was a photographer, and taken by my looks, he could not help but follow me … to ask if I would pose for him.

Now you would think that a mother back in that day would never agree to let her young daughter pose for some unknown photographer, I was just sixteen at the time … but she did.


Puzzle: “Midnight Sun”

Puzzle: “Midnight Sun”
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Puzzle: “Moons”

Puzzle: “Moons”

Puzzle: “Snake Bookmark”

Puzzle: “Snake Bookmark”
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Puzzle: “Manhattan Map”

Puzzle: “Manhattan Map”
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Puzzle: “Discs”

Puzzle: “Discs”
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To receive the next clue location, players had to successfully dance with a partner.
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Performances in Zone 3

Zone 3 begins with a couples’ dance at the Prince George Ballroom, directed by Third Rail Projects. Players advance by dancing well enough so that a dancer takes them aside and writes the next location on the player’s hand.


Players watch many performances during this zone. Paying attention to details is important for future interaction with Audrey Musnon…


Players must buy yellow flowers for Audrey Munson outside of the Waldorf Astoria.

When Audrey receives the yellow flowers, scrollbox, and silver coin, she gives players a white ceramic apple.


Puzzle: “Ceramic Apple”

Puzzle: “Ceramic Apple”


Finish line

Finish line
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The final codeword bird “Materialize” was present on the people carrying the finish line in front of Mourning Victory sculpture inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.