“You Are Here” Public Art Project & NYC Scavenger Hunt!

“You Are Here” is a public art project, linked to New York journalist and historian David Freeland’s new book, Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville, that helps New Yorkers (and that includes both residents and visitors) experience the past through the present-day city, with the help of their mobile devices. Here’s David’s post from his blog, Gotham Lost & Found:

Throughout Manhattan I’ve put up 9 (with a bonus 10th to follow) dinner-plate sized signs, each on the surface of a building that once played a key role in the evolution of our entertainment culture. When you find a “You Are Here” sign, simply text in the specified code to the number given on the sign – you’ll receive an instant message back, telling you some interesting fact about where you are and why this building is important. Think of it as my historian’s fantasy – I’m putting up plaques on buildings that should have them, but don’t.

Now your job is to find the signs. They look like this:

You Are Here Sign

The first 5 people who can text in codes from all nine sites will receive a pass to the Museum of the City of New York, as well as an autographed copy of Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville – and maybe a couple of other goodies I can find. I’m not going to tell you exactly where they are (half the fun lies in the hunt) but here are some clues:

#1 is south of Canal, along Elizabeth: you’ll know the plot is getting thick, when you reach a site of russet brick.

#2 sits on twisting Doyers, above hidden foyers.

#3 lies east of Cooper Square; great Yiddish names once gathered there.

#4 captured New York scenes, in a building along Broadway in the lower teens.

#5 is on Second Avenue, in the East Village: where stars once ate, sushi takes the plate.

#6: They say old 28th sounded like a Tin Pan; see it now, while you still can.

#7: in the 130s east of 7th, the stars of swing would sing.

#8: On 135th, ‘neath a 60s-styled wall, sat a great Harlem theater, accepting to all.

#9: Near the spot where Duffy stands, the food was served with invisible hands.

Need more clues? Check out the book – I write about each of these places in detail. Happy hunting!

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