Urban Dare - New York (5/10/08)


The race begins with a trivia question to release teams from the start by the Giuseppe Mazzini bust in Central Park. The start was on time at 12:00 noon. Ropes on the ground divide the starting area into quadrants marked A, B, C and D.

The first question was: "Which Knicks of these four players was the one who won the scoring title?".

John liked the obscure answer of the player he'd never heard of, Bernard King who won in the 1984-85 season, and we moved to quadrant C. Correct answer ... we're off to the races while teams with the wrong answers remained for more questions. We received our clue sheet and team passport, pausing to return a dropped cell phone to another team.

Our clue sheet contained 12 clues, plus one bonus, and they could be done in any order. John read out the first clue to the research team assembled on the phone, and since the answer was not far away we headed that way while John dictated the remaining clues

Map with the clue answer locations

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Get your picture with the Falconer.

ANSWER: the Falconer statue

The statue is located on West Drive near 72nd St only a few hundred feet north of our starting point. Quick and easy picture, especially after Lynn asked at an info kiosk and was told exactly where it was.

DISTANCE: about 0.2 miles on foot.

By this point in time we had a good idea of what all the answers were and were beginning to get the best optimized route in place.


You'll find your next dare near where Hans is reading about his ugly duckling.

ANSWER: The Hans Christian Anderson statue near the Conservatory Pond on the east side of Central Park.

Lynn knew exactly where this was since it's the clue for a geocache, but didn't know the name of the pond so there was a moment of confusion when the research team started directing us and we thought they were sending us to the Conservancy at the north end of the park.

The dare for this consisted of some bean bags thrown at a set of target baskets with point totals. Each team member had to score 10 points, and we each nailed the 10 point basket on our first throw.

DISTANCE: 0.3 miles on foot.


He was the first US Secretary of the Treasury. Go to his Central Park statue for your wheelbarrow dare.

ANSWER: Alexander Hamilton, his statue is on Central Park East near 85th.

Waiting near the Hamilton statue was an Urban Dare staffer with a set of orange cones laid out on the grass. As one might guess from the clue, the team had to make a human wheelbarrow and weave through the cones. When completed, their passport would be stamped and they could continue to the next clue.

DISTANCE: about 0.4 miles on foot.


Get your picture with the Love Wall.

ANSWER: The Love Wall (Park and 57th St)

We caught an M2 bus heading south on 5th Avenue just as we left Central Park and headed down to 56th St. We mistakenly went to 55th Ave and 6th St and photographed the LOVE sculpture before asking research to double check whether there was something else called the Love Wall. The Love Wall is a sculpture by Robert Indiana (same artist as the Love sculpture) that was installed on the meridian of Park Avenue and 57th Street. The art installation is one of New York City's Parks Department projects and will be on display until May 15.

DISTANCE: 1.5 miles by bus plus 0.8 miles by foot. TIME: 1:10

CLUE 10:

She played opposite Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen. Go to her garden for your next dare.

ANSWER: Katherine Hepburn

Kate's garden is in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47th St and 2nd Ave. We headed there on foot and got passed by a city bus when we were about a block short of our goal. Some other event had taken over the Plaza, so we didn't easily spot the Urban Dare staffers. While taking a photo of the sign with Katherine Hepburn's name on it another pair of racers paused and then noticed we were all meant to be doing a dare here and not taking a photo. The dare was a simple set of Trivia Pursuit questions with liberal hints to get us to the right answers.

DISTANCE: 0.9 miles by foot. TIME: 1:47

CLUE 11:

Go to the station that combines a kind of slam with the park where you started the race, and find the Urban Dare person the the dining concourse for your bubble dare.

ANSWER: Grand Central

Of course, we all know it's really Grand Central Terminal and not Grand Central Station because the latter is the post office and doesn't have a dining concourse. We walked down to 42nd St and caught a bus that happened to be passing. Our dare here involved getting a piece of bubble gum off of a plate covered in whipped cream (no hands) and then chewing and blowing a bubble. John opted out and left Lynn to do this one, which probably took at least 10 minutes.

DISTANCE: 0.3 miles by foot plus 0.3 miles by bus.


"Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!" is his famous threat to his beloved Alice. Get your picture with his statue.

ANSWER: Ralph Kramden's statue outside the Port Authority

We caught the Times Square shuttle from Grand Central and then walked underground the rest of the way to Port Authority.

Distance: approx. 0.6 miles by subway plus 0.2 miles by foot. TIME: 2:13


Near where you find the circle for Ralph Lauren on the Fashion Walk get your picture with one of the following sculptures: If the race director is wearing Nike shoes, with the button with needle, and if not with the man on sewing machine.

ANSWER: The button at 39th St and 7th Ave

We didn't remember what kind of shoes Kevin was wearing so took photos of both sculptures until we saw him later in the day and deleted the incorrect one.

Distance: 0.3 miles by foot.

TIME: 2:20


Minerva and the bellringers pay tribute to the founder of the New York Herald. Get your picture with them.

ANSWER: Statues in Herald Square.

We walked down to 34th St and found the obvious statues that we had never noticed before in Herald Square.

Distance: 0.5 miles by foot


Rigoletto and la Traviata are 2 of his most noted operas. Go to his square for your Spellbound Dare.

ANSWER: Verdi Square at 72nd St and Amsterdam

We walked over one long block intending to get a direct train uptown. We got on the first train, a local. Good decision to just get on, since we were not passed by an express train on the way to 72nd Street.

The Spellbound Dare consisted of a bunch of letters with numbers hidden on garden stakes throughout the small park. We were given the word SINGAPORE and asked to find the total value the numbers associated with each of its letters added up to. It only took a few minutes for John and Lynn to run around and find the letters, while Justin went off to satisfy Clue number 9.

Distance: approx 2 miles by subway and 0.2 miles by foot TIME: 2:50


Obtain an apple and bring it to the finish. 7 minute bonus for the biggest apple. It must be a real apple.

ANSWER: We just got a standard apple.


5:00 minute bonus: Get your picture with the monument that has the names of American Nobel Laureates.

ANSWER: behind the Natural History Museum

We caught a bus heading up Amsterdam and took it to 80th St. We were really lucky with the buses today; every one we took was just there when we wanted it. Our finish and final dare was one block farther north, but we headed over to Columbus and shot a photo of the bonus monument just because we knew exactly where it was, but it took approximately 5 minutes to get there and back, so it didn't really help us. Distance: 0.4 miles by bus and 0.2 miles by foot


Finish - Go to the Gin Mill for your final and most puzzling dare.

ANSWER: Bar at 442 Amsterdam

The final dare required the team to put together a simple jig saw puzzle. There was a minor delay as a previous team had to take the puzzle apart before turning it over to us.

DISTANCE: 0.2 miles by foot.

TOTAL DISTANCE on foot: 4.5 miles ; by public transport: 4.8 miles

TOTAL TIME 3:09:06

14th place out of 72 teams. Top finishing times were 2:02; 2:31; and 2:51.

Other links:

Runners Research Team
John Salmon
Lynn Salmon
Justin Gullingsrud
Christine Ueda
Doug Hughes
Tiankai Tu
Cliff Young