Midnight Madness: Goldman Sachs’ $270,000 Scavenger Hunt

All for a good cause, of course. The elaborate affair raised $1.4 million for charity

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A skyline of New Jersey, Colgate Center and the Goldman Sachs tower at sunset.

Blue-chip investment bank Goldman Sachs has been holding elaborate scavenger hunts since the mid-1990s, but this is the first time a reporter has been allowed to share all the juicy details. In a story published Thursday, Quartz reporter Euny Hong dishes on the all-night, fifteen-hour extravaganza held last fall. The scavenger hunt, which cost a pretty penny to put together—about $270,000—raised approximately $1.4 million for Good Shepherd Services, a charity for at-risk youth.

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Entitled “Midnight Madness” (after the 1980 Disney movie), the New York City scavenger hunt was originally founded by product designer Mat Laibowitz and Columbia alum Dan Michaelson in 1996.

To be sure, this isn’t an Amazing Race for the faint of heart: Goldman Sachs employees were led all around the city, and asked to solve puzzles that most of us would balk at. In one challenge, employees had to rearrange wires on a circuit board to find the next clue. In another, they had to manipulate the colors on top of the Bank of America Tower using an iPhone app.

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In one example of stunning complexity, Goldman Sachs employees were sent to an abandoned building to play miniature golf. This isn’t your average mini-golf game, though:

The organizers had set up red, green and blue laser emitters and receptors on three floors. The laser emitter cabinets were locked with combination locks, with the combinations found by solving other clues in the game zone. Once a laser was emitted, players needed to use hand-held mirrors to bounce the beam around and through walls, corners, and windows to hit the receptor. Teams discovered where the finish line was when they finished all three levels.

As for the finish line? The bankers were rewarded with a meal at the Ukrainian diner Veselka in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood — right when the rest of New York City was waking up to another day.

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