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Astor Risk II Mystery Cache

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Hidden : 11/16/2016
3 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

To find this cache you will answer some questions about historic Astor Place.

Astor Risk

 These coordinates are not for the cache.  To get the cache you must answer a string of questions about general area and it's history.  The answers to the questions will give you the coordinates that will name the place that the cache is stashed.  The risk is that these coordinates put you in the center a patch of concrete that ebcompasses the shared ground of both Astor Place and Cooper Square.
    Cooper Square, named for Peter Cooper,  is one of the most vital crossroads in Manhattan and one of the most awkward. The Bowery, Astor Place, Fourth Avenue and East Eighth Street head toward one another from different angles and collide in confusion.  Cooper Square is home to The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, commonly referred to simply as Cooper Union.   Founded in 1859, the school established a radical new model of American higher education: its mission reflects founder Peter Cooper's fundamental belief that an education "equal to the best"  should be accessible to those who qualify, independent of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status. The Cooper Union is one of very few American institutions of higher learning to offer a full-tuition scholarship – valued at $140,000 as of 2010 – to every admitted student.  Currently their endowment is a mess so we will see if they can keep that up. As a result, The Cooper Union is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate generally below 10%.  On February 27, 1860, the school's Great Hall, located in the basement level of the Foundation Building, became the site of a historic address by Abraham Lincoln.  Abraham Lincoln's dramatic speech opposed Stephen A. Douglas on the question of federal power to regulate and limit the spread of slavery to the federal territories and new States. Widely reported in the press and reprinted throughout the North in pamphlet form, the speech galvanized support for Lincoln and contributed to his gaining the Party's nomination for the Presidency. It is now referred to as the Cooper Union Address.
    Across the street the Cooper Union's 41 Cooper Square, designed by architect Thom Mayne ofMorphosis, is the newest addition to The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art campus. The building, originally known as the New Academic Building, stands on the site where the School of Art Hewitt Building was located.  Construction of the building began in 2006 and was completed in September 2009.  Both Mayne and Cooper Union wanted to create an iconic building that embodied the institution’s values and aspirations as a center for advanced education in art, architecture and engineering.  The Academic Building has achieved a LEED Platinum rating, the first for an institutional building in New York City.
    Atop the north end of Cooper Square is Astor Place.  Named for John Jacob Astor at one time the richest person in the United States, who died in 1848. He came to the United States following the American Revolutionary War and built a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. He also got involved in smuggling opium. In the early 19th century he diversified into New York City real estate and later became a famed patron of the arts.  By 1800 he had amassed almost a quarter of a million dollars,  At the time of his death in 1848, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States, leaving an estate estimated to be worth at least $20 million. His estimated net worth, if calculated as a fraction of the U.S. gross domestic product at the time, would have been equivalent to $110.1 billion in 2006 U.S. dollars, making him the fourth richest person in American history.  In his will, he left $400,000 to build the Astor Library, now the Public Theater on Lafayette St. The Astor Library was later consolidated with other libraries to form New York Public Library. The pair of marble lions that sit by the entrance of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street were originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after Astor and James Lenox, who founded the library. Then they were called Lord Astor and Lady Lenox (both lions are males). Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed them "Patience" and "Fortitude" during the Great Depression.  Lafayette Street originated as a real estate speculation by Astor, who had bought a large market garden in 1804, for $45,000, and leased part of the site to a Frenchman named Delacroix, who erected a popular resort and called it "Vauxhall Gardens" after the famous resort on the edge of London. When the lease expired in 1825, Astor cut a new street through, a three block cul-de-sac beginning at Astor Place, which he named Lafayette Place to commemorate the Revolutionary war hero, who had returned to a rapturous reception in America the previous year. Lots along both sides of the new street sold briskly, earning Astor many times what he had paid for the land two decades before. The grandest was the terrace of matching marble-fronted Greek Revival houses on the west side of the street, called La Grange Terrace when it was built in 1833, but known to New Yorkers as "Colonnade Row" for the two-story order of Corinthian columns that unified its fronts; the nine residences each sold for as much as $30,000; four that remain are the only survivors of the first fashionable residential phase of Lafayette Street, which gained its new name when the city cut through cul-de-sac and extended the street south. The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the name LaGrange Terrace and the facades remain standing on Lafayette Street south of Astor Place.  The buildings each contained 26 rooms and were 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, with 15-foot (4.6 m) deep front yards, uncommon at the time. Their facades were made entirely of marble and linked with a colonnade of Corinthian columns providing the homes with their current name.[9][10] The marble for the buildings was found at Sing Sing,[11] where the convicts worked to cut it for use in construction.[7]  At the time of their construction, Lafayette Place, which was then a cobblestone cul-de-sac,[6] was the most fashionable area in New York City and one of the first to be developed in the city's expansion north of Canal Street.[13]The upper-class demographics of the region shifted, and by 1860 Murray Hill was considered a better place to live, and the area around the former Lafayette Place fell into decline.[7] The four buildings that remain, numbers 428, 430, 432, and 434 Lafayette Street, were among the first to be landmarked when New York City began doing so in 1965,[20] despite having been sub-divided into apartments and commercial properties,[6] altered and generally in poor condition.[21] The public hearings regarding the landmarking were held on September 21, 1965 at which time a number of people supported the landmarking and the owners presented no objections.[22][23][24][25] The buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1976[26] after being nominated in August of the same year.[27]
    Across from Colonnade Row is The Public Theater which opened in 1967 mounting the world-premiere production of the musical HAIR as its first show. The Public is dedicated to embracing the complexities of contemporary society and nurturing both artists and audiences, as it continues Joseph Papp's legacy of creating a place of inclusion and a forum for ideas.[2]
    The Building was originally built between 1853 and 1881 by William B. Astor, son of J.J. Astor.   A German-born architect, Alexander Saeltzer,  designed the building in Rundbogenstil style, then the prevailing style for public building in Germany. Astor funded two expansions of the building toward Astor Place, designed by Griffith Thomas (1856–1869) and Thomas Stent (1879–1881).[15] Both large expansions followed Saeltzer's original design so seamlessly that an observer cannot detect that the edifice was built in three stages.
    At the north end of Lafayette street sits the Astor Place Subway stop, also called Astor Place – Cooper Union on signs.  Astor Place is a local station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Completed in 1904, it is one of the original twenty-eight stations in the system. The station is on the List of Registered Historic Places in New York.  It is served by the 6 train at all times, the <6> train during weekday in peak direction and by the 4 train during late nights. The original plans for the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now PATH) included a spur along Ninth Street to this station.  Astor Place is a local station with four tracks and two side platforms. The fare control is at platform level, and the underpass connecting northbound and southbound sides was removed in the 1980s. The northbound platform contains a news and candy stand, which replaced the original public women's lavatory. On the southbound side, the station has a department store entrance into a K-Mart. This store was originally constructed in 1868 as an A. T. Stewart. It had changed ownership and was a Wanamaker's when the station was constructed. The heavy brick-faced square columns on the downtown platform support the store above. The northern building of Wanamaker's store, but not the southern building above, burned in the 1950s. Octagonal windows on the brick wall of the platform were the store's showcases.  Plaques of beavers are located on the walls, in honor of John Jacob Astor's fortune derived from the beaver-pelt trade. The plaques, as well as name tablets, were made by the Grueby Faience Company in 1904.  The station also has untitled porcelain on steel murals, made by Cooper Union alumnus Milton Glaser in 1986.
    Finally, I almost forgot, atop all that sits the Astor Place Cube, or simply The Cube.  The Cube is an outdoor sculpture by Bernard (Tony) Rosenthal.  It takes the form of a black cube, 8 feet (2.4 m) long on each side, mounted on a corner. The cube is made of Cor-Ten steel and weighs about 1,800 pounds (820 kg). The faces of the cube are not flat but have various indentations, protrusions, and ledges.  Installed in 1967 as part of the "Sculpture and the Environment" organized by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cube was one of 25 temporary art installations that were intended to remain for a six-month period, however local residents successfully petitioned the city to keep the Cube. It has since become a popular meeting place in the East Village.  Many people who move to New York consider seeing the Cube to be a ritual signaling that they have "arrived" in the city. Sitting or sleeping in the shade of the Cube is also popular.
    In June 2003, the Cube was the subject of a prank played by the ATF squad (All Too Flat) in which it was turned into a giant Rubik's Cube.[1] The cube stayed up for about 24 hours before NYC maintenance removed the painted cardboard panels from the sculpture.[7]
    In March 2006, the Graffiti Research Lab distributed LED throwies to a group of people to throw onto and decorate the Cube.
    In April 2006, a tub of chalk was left by the Cube and passersby began to draw on it. Seven individuals were later arrested for vandalism. The chalk was washed off by NYC maintenance the following morning.[9]
    Polish-born street artist Agata Oleksiak, simply known as Olek, has crochet-bombed New York City’s Astor Place Cube sculpture, covering the entire piece in brightly-colored crocheted yarn.  if you looked closely, you could see that a sentence crocheted onto the yarn said: “I’m still proud of what I do for a living”.  Just after she finished the installation, Olek tweeted “…and now, minutes later, a guy is cutting it off.

This art piece is way gone by 2016, but you can read about it, it was cool.  All around the area you will see a very current art project entitled Flaming Cactus.
Flaming Cactus” is an art project thought up by ANIMUS Art which has been installed in Astor Place for the Department of Transportation’s Summer Streets. It’s made by wrapping plastic neon-colored cable ties around light poles to transform them into hairy urban cacti!
the Animus Arts Collective finished fastening 32,000 fluorescent-colored ties around a dozen or more lampposts and sign poles in August, Cooper Square seemed to take on a new and whimsical identity.

Under the terms set by the city, “Flaming Cactus” can remain in place at Cooper Square through June 2012, at which time the Animus Arts Collective will be responsible for taking the ties off the lampposts.

DATELINE 2106- The reconstruction of the plaza, best known for the cube, began in 2013. The plan was to enlarge and revamp the space around the Cube and the Astor Place subway stop, as well as widen the sidewalks near Cooper Square. New trees, plantings, seating, and lighting were also part of the proposal. The 8,000-square-foot "Village Plaza" was designed to "ease the jumbled intersection of Cooper Square, Fourth Avenue, the Bowery, and 5th Street," according to the city.

Construction was supposed to last two years but it dragged on a little longer than that. The much-beloved Cube—which was removed from its home in 2014—returned this month with a thorough cleaning and new coat of paint. Also to come are more trees, as well as a single food concession in the north and south plaza spaces.

November 16, 2016 12:02pm

City officials gathered Wednesday morning in the newly redesigned Astor Place to celebrate the completion of the area's new pedestrian plazas and widened sidewalks, and to give the renovated and reinstalled Cube an inaugural spin.

Commissioners of the Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction, the two agencies that collaborated on the years-long reconstruction, joined local elected officials for a ribbon-cutting in front of the beloved three- dimensional sculpture that made its long-awaited comeback. 

The return of the cube, like the completion of the extensive redesign, had been delayed for several months but now, more than three years since the project's kickoff in Sept. 2013, 42,000 square feet of new pedestrian space sprawls from East Eighth Street down to Cooper Triangle, officials noted.

"We were able to take this area, reclaim some of it from the automobile, make it safer and more inviting," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

The newly renovated public space includes two pedestrian plazas — A Plaza, which surrounds the spinning cube, and Village Plaza between East Fifth and East Sixth streets — each with new benches and greenery.

The $21 million project also includes larger sidewalks for increased pedestrian safety, new trees, bike racks, and bioswales — in-ground irrigation systems — and new curbs for improved drainage during storms.

The project officially wrapped up roughly a week ago, when DDC reps walked through the site with contractors to inspect the work above and below ground and finish the new pavement, according to the DDC.

        N aa.bbbcdd  W eeffghhi

Quiz- The numbers gotten from these questions (in order) will give you the coordinates of the name of the place where the cache is hidden.

a.- the day in March 1848 that John Jacob Astor Died.

b. The address of the Public theater ( Formerly the Astor Library). 

c. Number of new trees Minus 4 planted in the island just north of the Cube from which one enters the Astor Place Uptown #6 subway line.

d. Amount in thousands J. J. Astor paid for a large market garden  in 1804, that would later become Lafayette place and finally Lafayette St.

e. The numbers, in descending order, of the two streets that the northbound Astor Place Subway entrance sits between.

f. Year in the 1800's that John Jacob Astor Died

g.  Number plus one (+1) of  different streets  that converge in Astor place as is evidenced by the number of different green street signs situated on the trapezium shaped traffic island that houses the Cube.

h. The incorrect value in feet that Rosenthal's web site states is the measurement across 1 side of the Cube.

i. Number of words that appear in the brownstone on the north side of the Cooper Union Foundation Building

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

"Erzrzore Gur....!"nccebk rlr urvtugqrcraqf ba gur fcva

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)