Solve a puzzle, consult your map, and you’re off to film Linda from HR riding a lion statue like a bull… or something. Team building companies call them by different names—Scavenger Hunts, Clue Quests, Amazing Races—but they’re sending more and more crews of businesspeople running from site to site on clue-driven tours to score points by taking videos and competing in challenges. Participants shed their corporate masks for an afternoon to play and to experience their coworkers and surroundings like a child does: with delight.
What better playground than New York City? You can’t see it all in one scavenger hunt, but you can get a sense of a neighborhood. Here are the best areas for a race in the city.
Nothing screams New York like dozens of bright storeys-high advertisements and a staircase teeming with people that leads nowhere but to a better view of them. You could get lost in wonder for hours watching the changing of the screens, the flashing of the lights, the ebb and flow of humanity… or you could spend those hours dashing through the streets collecting points by can can dancing in front of Radio City Music Hall or completing an elaborate handshake with someone in a bad Elmo costume. The area surrounding Times Square encompasses theaters, studios, and gaudy storefronts. Between these, Madame Tussauds wax museum, and Rockefeller Center, the area offers some of the most iconic sights in the city and plenty of opportunities for creative fun.
Lower Manhattan/Wall Street
A team building race through Wall Street delivers the thrill of the stock exchange floor without the stress. Also on offer are some surprisingly beautiful scenery and green space. To the west, there’s the Battery Park City Esplanade, a waterfront walk with Rockefeller Park on one end and a view of the Statue of Liberty on the other. To the east, there’s City Hall and the Charging Bull statue. There’s the Oculus, the 9/11 Memorial, and rows of majestic skyscrapers. Even so, Lower Manhattan is a small step down from Times Square as far as iconic New York sights and bustling crowds. You might consider that a fair trade for a little more room to breathe and a lot more park area for creative challenges.
Greenwich Village gives an authentic feel for New York outside of the more typical tourist areas. It has jazz clubs, bona fide hole-in-the-wall cuisine, and those brownstones Stabler and Benson are always talking about. The Village also boasts arguably the best green space in the city, Washington Square Park. A race needs a start and finish line, ideally a restaurant big enough to host your group, and some of the best of these are in Greenwich. If you’ve already seen some of the most iconic sights in the city or you can do without them, the Village is the best place for a less crowded event that still feels uniquely New York.