One Long Night in Puzzle City
By LIZ ROBBINS - New York Times
Along 11th Avenue, women in tight dresses and stiletto heels wobbled home in the misty hours after midnight.
They paused on a corner at 23rd Street, puzzled by the sight of young men and women wearing lights strapped to their heads, crouched over spiral notebooks, scribbling charts and checking codes.
Just another Saturday night in New York? Not for the 300 bankers, hedge fund managers, lawyers and software engineers solving puzzles on sidewalks and traipsing all over Manhattan for more than 16 hours as part of an infuriating, exhilarating, mind-numbing, night-bleeding-into-morning competition called Midnight Madness. An elaborate scavenger hunt put on by Goldman Sachs, the event raised $2.9 million for charity and cost about $360,000 to produce.
This was the second time that Goldman had staged the hunt, and for this year’s Midnight Madness last weekend, half the teams came from outside firms, like Citigroup, and various hedge funds. Each team had a fund-raising minimum of $50,000, raised mostly from members of their own firms.
The money went directly to Good Shepherd Services, a youth development agency, to finance after-school programs in Brooklyn — Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Red Hook — and the Central Bronx. “We’re puzzling the whole issue of poverty,” Sister Paulette LoMonaco, the organization’s executive director, told the players in the parking lot of a shuttered Pathmark in Lower Manhattan before the game began.