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Nerd Out With This Citywide Scavenger Hunt About... Zoning

By Nicole Levy | June 10, 2016 3:34pm | Updated on June 13, 2016 8:38am
 The 1916 zoning resolution established limits on building heights to keep massive towers from casting shadows on all the street below. This led to the construction of tiered Art Deco skyscrapers, as seen in the photo above.
The 1916 zoning resolution established limits on building heights to keep massive towers from casting shadows on all the street below. This led to the construction of tiered Art Deco skyscrapers, as seen in the photo above.
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Library of Congress

This July marks the 100th anniversary of the municipal zoning resolution New York City enacted in 1916 and updated in 1961 to control the height, bulk and use of its buildings — an act that continues to shape the environment we live in today.

In honor of that anniversary, the Museum of the City of New York and the nonprofit Open House New York are inviting policy wonks, armchair urban planners and all other interested New Yorkers to indulge their inner child in a citywide scavenger hunt for key zoning sites on July 9.

The event will task participants, who can sign up individually or in groups of two to six, with deciphering more than sixty clues, sending them to locations in all five boroughs. Teams will check in at Open House headquarters at 1133 Broadway to claim their clues and event t-shirts, then head out to score points by taking photos of themselves at the zoning-impacted sites hinted at in their clues. The team that collects the most points will win a prize at an evening reception at the museum on the Upper East Side. 

The scavenger hunt anticipates a new exhibition at the museum opening Nov. 9, "Mastering the Metropolis: New York and Zoning, 1916-2016," which will chart the zoning resolution's origins and impact over the last century.

Would-be participants are encouraged to sign up early as space is limited. Tickets cost $30 per person, and you can register here