Connect 5 - 5 Boro Race

The race formally known as The 5-Boro Amazing Race has gotten a makeover!  Welcome to Connect 5!  Matt really out-did himself this year, with 2 weekends of races to allow more people to participate, and it was awesome!  He finds the coolest places each year and works so hard on the clues for everyone.  This years theme was Continents, so each location the teams were sent to was specifically related to a country/ continent!  Since Eric is in Brooklyn, we both got to help out this year!
My parents and I drove up on Friday, swung through Brooklyn to get Eric, and met up with Matt at one of his Top 5 pizza places in NYC- Roberta's
It was stupid delicious.  Luckily 4 of us all wanted to try two pizzas, so we split them!  There was a white pizza with greens tossed in lemon.  It was so exactly what I wanted!  I love white pizza, I love greens on top, but I'd never had the lemon flavor and it was just the best.  We also got the classic pizza.  And Eric got his favorite combo- no cheese, lots of meat, egg on top.
The next morning, I slept in longer than I meant to.  Reason #367 why I love Eric, he listens to what I say, and remembered I said I would eat a croissant and fresh fruit for breakfast every morning if it was possible.  While I slept, he grabbed me a chocolate croissant and a bunch of berries.  I was the happiest! Especially because I slept too late to really go get breakfast for myself... what a lifesaver :-)
We grabbed our official "Event Staff" shirts- designed by and provided by Dad- and headed to Staten Island for the first stop!  Chinese Scholar's Garden is hidden away, so much so that the entrance legitimately looks like a closet door you should never enter (ask for directions when you get there), but inside it's just delightful.
Eric and I wandered around a little while the rest of the teams showed up.  It's a small garden but it has a million little areas to explore.  It would be a great place to read or just chill out a little by yourself.
Yep.  Us.
Matt gave out the next clue to all of the teams (the first clue directed them to this starting point), introduced the Event Staff (easy to spot in our orange shirts!), and they got to work.  The clue was incomplete, and some of the teams quickly figured out that the rest of the puzzle was hidden around the garden.  What took them awhile to realize was that those of us sitting around the garden held the missing pieces to the puzzle!  Below, my view of Eric and Dan while we waited for the teams to ask us for help.
My view from my little garden corner.
Two teams figured it out at the same time and started running around finding all of us and getting the rest of the puzzle and were off!  The others figured it out rather quickly from there.  Mom and Dad headed to the next location, so that they would be there in time to beat the first team (public transportation, bikes, and walking/running is allowed, but no taxis or cars- so my parents could make it back first by driving).  Matt, Dan, Eric and I waited until the last team left, then headed out to the 4th location- the Central Park Zoo!  I'd never been, but Patti, Ed, Wes and Cole go all the time.  And more importantly- it's the only place in NYC that can truly capture Antarctica (the penguins!).

We struggled with parking, but got to the Zoo before any of the teams did.  Eric and I headed to the penguin house, while Matt and Dan would stand outside and direct the teams.  Since it costs a fee to enter, it made sense for only one team member to enter to find me and Eric.  We wandered around a little and got to see a gorgeous snow leopard, some cute red pandas, monkeys, bears, and seals!
We stationed ourselves inside the penguin house and loved watching them swim around and hop up on the rocks.  Before we knew it, there were team members tugging on our sleeves for the next clue, and then they'd race away. 
We headed back to Eric's place at that point- it was raining pretty hard, I had managed to drop and shatter my phone, and we were ready to sit down.  I have no idea how the teams all had the energy to keep racing around, in the rain, and solve all of those clues.  I have seen these clues for years, and I still don't know where to start a lot of the time.  Eric and I stood there reading the clues we were handing out, and we had no idea where we might be headed next if we were actually racing!  Maybe next year we'll play though :-)

I am so proud of Matt for creating these races every year!  He puts so much time into every email, every clue, the website, and the organization!  If you're interested in participating next year, comment below or contact Matt!  It's so awesome!

5 Boro Race 2014
5 Boro Race 2013

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