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NYPL: Castle? Courthouse? Prison? Multi-cache

Hidden : 11/26/2016
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

As you spot the clock tower from a distance, you might wonder what this beautiful building is, and/or was years ago.

Welcome to the New York Public Library system! This cache has limited hours of availability, which are listed below on the cache page.

***NEW as of December 2018! Geocachers who have found at least 4 NYPL caches are eligible for a Level 1 pathtag! Geocachers who find at least 8 NYPL caches are eligible for a Level 2 pathtag as well! If you think you qualify, please send me a note and I will get your tag(s) out to you.

Did you know that every branch of the New York Public Library offers free Wi-Fi? That's great news for all geocachers visiting from out of town!

Update: May 2017 - I have been notified by the New York City Geocaching Community that this cache is part of the winning series for Best Series in 2016 and was also nominated for Best Location/View! Thank you to everyone who has visited to this point as your logs are a big reason why this has happened!

The Jefferson Market Library, once known as the Jefferson Market Courthouse, is located in Greenwich Village on a triangular plot formed by Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street. It was originally built as the Third Judicial District Courthouse from 1874 to 1877, and was designed by architect Frederick Clarke Withers of the firm of Vaux and Withers. The building got substantial use as a courthouse as it covered the city's entertainment district, The Tenderloin. So heavy was the traffic, that the country's first night court began there.

The building ceased to be used as a courthouse in 1945 and it was in danger of being torn down. A group of community preservationists led by Margot Gayle formed the Committee of Neighbors and campaigned to have the building converted into a library. In 1961, the New York Public Library agreed to the plan and architect Giorgio Cavaglieri was brought in to restore the exterior and redesign the building's interior for its new use. The restoration is estimated to have cost $1.4 million. The library opened in 1967, with the police court becoming the Children's Reading Room and the Civil Court becoming the Adult Reading Room.

There are those who believe that this building was also a women's prison at one point, however the prison was located on the adjacent lot. The building was knocked down in 1973 and is now Jefferson Market Garden. Among those to have been a "guest" of the prison over the years was Mae West in 1927. She was arrested on obscenity charges when her Broadway play "Sex" became a target of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. West received a $500 fine, the night in prison and nine days at the workhouse on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island).

To find the geocache, you will need to go to the front desk and speak the magic WORDS to the cache keepers. However, they will only provide the geocache to you if you are able to tell them the WORDS that you need to find inside the library. To find those words, follow these instructions:

Step 1 - The posted coordinates will bring you outside the library to a gold sign. On that sign, there is a list of "Bell Ringers". On the bottom of the sign is a date. You are looking for the year.

Step 2 - Take the year on the sign and subtract 1660.

Step 3 - Now head into the library. Once you walk in the front door, look to the right for a staircase going downstairs. Look for a wooden card catalog and find the drawer with the number that you came up with using the year on the plaque minus 1660. (YEAR - 1660 = DRAWER NUMBER).

Step 4 - Inside that drawer will be your instructions on how to obtain the geocache.

Please note the times that the cache will be available:

Monday 10am to 8pm

Tuesday 10am to 8pm

Wednesday 10am to 8pm

Thursday 10am to 8pm

Friday 10am to 5pm

Saturday 10am to 5pm

Sunday - 1pm to 5pm

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Svaq gur evtug qenjre gb xabj ubj gb bognva gur trbpnpur

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)