Thursday, April 25, 2013

Times Square From A New Perspective

With the impending doom of an expiring voucher, S and I met up in the city to complete one of those do-it-yourself scavenger hunts. Unlike the Easter Bunny Living Social Scavenger Hunt / Marathon / Candid Camera Experiment, this kind has actual clues to go to certain places where you must solve new clues to get to new places. It's an actual scavenger hunt instead of a "do stupid things and get points for it" list on your phone that calls itself a hunt. Still fun, but not the same.

Upon trying to redeem the voucher, the company showed that the voucher was already redeemed. So there we were, on a corner in Times Square, calling the company and trying to get the voucher to go through on her phone while one of those guys who advertises for comedy shows was heckling people. As we sorted out the mysterious voucher situation, we walked to Rock Center to meet up quickly with her business partner. There, we got shooed away from an electrical outlet by security when we were trying to charge her phone, and then S took a picture of me in Starbucks, stating, The lighting makes you look like that famous painting of that woman in a chair. Whistler's Mother? I offered. Yes, that's the one, she said. So I look like an old lady? I asked. She said, No, but you knew the painting I meant.

So I kept my Old Lady Whistler ass in the seat as her phone searched for wifi and charged, having found an available outlet. This is irony: the place where the outlet is has very poor wifi reception. Ha-HA!

After finally finding the voucher on the phone and having it denied again, we finally got a better signal by walking to Cosi. We got someone on the phone who explained, Oh you used that voucher--the website that was telling you to use it isn't ours, and so they were reminding you because their system had no update that you used it.

So basically, there was no impending doom of the voucher expiring because we'd used it when we went on our Downtown Business District scavenger hunt.

Good thing I had another one from Groupon! Prepared like a Boy Scout! Or a Girl Boy Scout! Or, well, you know what I mean.

We began at the center of the theatre district with a clue about what playwright lived across from the Paramount Theatre in Times Square. That means we had to find the Paramount Theatre, cross the street, and find something that signified a playwright lived there. The sign would have his name and we would have to type it in.

Attention iAdventure: This is how a Scavenger Hunt works. Again, your thing was fun, but you should really call it something else.

The first playwright who popped into my mind was Eugene O'Neill and I was like, I bet there's a plaque on the wall of whatever building that says who the person is.

Who's. Better. Than. Me.

They weren't all so simple, but we did find everything pretty easy to navigate since it's one of the more familiar parts of the city for us. We knew were stuff was in general. Some of the other answers we knew without having to go, which was especially helpful towards the end when the wind really picked up and my face was about to fall off--clues like, What place is chilly and flowery? and we were like, Winter Garden Theatre NEXT!

One of the better places we wound up was the Toys R Us store. Fact: I had never been to that Toys R Us until then. Walked by it thousands of times. Peeked in. Never entered. Probably because it's filled with lots of little screaming germy children. However, as it was part of the mission, I went in, and though lots of screamy screamy germy germy things were happening, I was able to navigate my way around it, though there was a close call involving one child, a ball that was about my size, and it rolling at me at full speed. S's reaction? Walk away, turn around, and laugh at me.

We did take a detour in the store to find Willy Wonka's factory to check out the candy. That should be of no surprise.

After the detour, we headed out once more into the cold. We found the only statue of an actor in the district. Some woman asked me to take her picture with it, which I found odd since, well, it's not like he's the most famous actor of all time and it's not like you can tell who he is from the statue; plus, it was dark. So I guess she's a big fan and the leader of a cult following.

Come to think of it, there were more people than usual out and about taking pictures of everything. Like really more. Never had I seen as many tourists as I had on that night, which is saying a lot considering the number of times I've walked through that touristy part of town. You know--from Bubba Gump to the characters asking for tips. What's with those guys, anyway? Bring back the Naked Cowboy--at least he was original.

We wound up going to the M&M store for one of the clues. S chatted with some friends there and then explained that we were at the end of our scavenger hunt. One of them asked, well what do you get when you finish? We high-fived each other and cheered for ourselves. S's friend laughed at us. I suppose everyone's idea of a prize is different.

We ended up at another place I've passed a lot but have never gone to...on the big red bleacher steps. So while this whole adventure took place in one of the most familiar neighborhoods, it did invite me to see it in a different light, which is always a good thing.

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