The Secret: NYC

Not to be confused with the popular 2006 self-help book about using the laws of attraction, this Secret is a nationwide treasure hunt to solve 12 puzzles that lead to buried treasure!

Paired together correctly, each painting and verse leads to different North American cities, where the author, Byron Preiss went to local parks and buried ceramic casques encased in plexiglass boxes. The key inside each casque can be exchanged for a jewel – and even more valuable, bragging rights.

According to the book:

“The jewels collectively are worth over ten thousand dollars. The treasure casques themselves are of incalculable value, never having been owned by man or woman.” – The Secret

Solve the riddle and find the location of a buried key. Sounds easy.

It’s harder than it sounds. Seriously. So far, only 3 of the 12 boxes have been found since the book was published in 1982 –Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, and Boston, MA. Preiss may have overestimated how complicated the riddles were and to this day, there are treasure hunters dedicated to solving the remaining 9 riddles.

Expedition Unknown, Discovery Channel

After I saw The Secret on the TV show Expedition Unknown, I joined a Facebook group and began exploring what folks believed to be the New York puzzle. I lived in Manhattan at the time and thought it would be fun to take on. Boots on the ground!

 

The Painting and the Verse

There are a handful of consistencies between the previous solves. Each pair will have a link to an immigration group, a gem, a month, and a flower. In the case of New York, I believe:

  • this puzzle links to Russia & Eastern Europe
  • the gem is the Blue Topaz for November
  • the flower is a Chrysanthemum, native to Northeastern Europe/ Russia & Asia

IMAGE 12 – As seen in the book – High Res Version

Verse 10
In the shadow
Of the grey giant
Find the arm that
Extends over the slender path
In summer
You’ll often hear a whirring sound
Cars abound
Although the sign
Nearby
Speaks of Indies native
The natives still speak
Of him of Hard word in 3 Vols.
Take twice as many east steps as the hour
Or more
From the middle of one branch
Of the v
Look down
And see simple roots
In rhapsodic mans soil
Or gaze north
Toward the isle of B.

 

My Analysis

In the shadow
Of the grey giant

Outside of Manhattan, in the shadows of the big city.

Confirmations:

  • There is an elephant in the shadow of her dress, an actual grey giant! (Notice that the elephant faces left and its trunk goes down the inside of her right arm).
  • During the 12 years before it burned down, the Jumbo-size hotel in Brooklyn was known as the Colossus of Architecture and Elephantine Colossus, and an advertising card read, “A whole seaside resort in this unique giant.” – An advertising slogan for the Elephant from the NY Times in 1896.1.
  • Attention to the spelling of grey vs gray. This giant was referred to as the grey giant, not the gray giant. A simple way to remember is that gray is typically used in America, while grey is typically used in England. The structure of the elephant was designed by James V. Lafferty, from the U.K.

The Elephant Colossus, Coney Island, NY

The Elephant Colossus –formerly, the Eighth Wonder of the World!

Before the Statue of Liberty was completed in 1886, the Elephantine Colossus was reportedly the first building visible to immigrants arriving in New York. The seven-story building was 150 feet tall, providing great views of New York City from the howdah on the roof and through telescopes in the elephants’ eyes. After the short-lived popularity of the attraction had faded, the pachyderm-shaped hotel burned down in 1896.

Located on the corner of Surf Avenue and West 12th Street in Coney Island, the elephant-shaped building served as a 31-room hotel, concert hall, and observation deck. Also known as the Elephant Hotel, it was designed by James Lafferty and built in 1885. Lafferty actually built three of them, with the most famous being its smaller predecessor in Atlantic City, “Lucy the Elephant.”2.

 

Find the arm that
Extends over the slender path

Using a mirror or reversing the image, you will notice the shape of the woman’s dress aligns with the outline of Coney Island. We’ve already tied the Russian/ Eastern European culture to this puzzle and so it would certainly make sense for our journey to begin in Coney Island – surrounded by Russian, Jewish, and Ukrainian neighborhoods.

 

Now we must find a slender path under her arm. Behold – The Ocean Parkway Bike Path!

On June 15, 1894, Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway became the home of the country’s first bike path. Inspired by the grand boulevards of Europe and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Ocean Parkway’s bike path stretches over five miles from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to Coney Island. Their plan for the parkways was inspired by boulevards such as Under den Linden in Berlin and Avenue Foch in Paris. Because the road to Coney Island would reach the ocean, it was thus called “Ocean Parkway”.

The Bicycle Path From Prospect Park, Brooklyn to Coney Island.

 

Asser Levy
The bike path starts at Asser Levy Park in Coney Island and heads north toward Prospect Park. Asser Levy originally from Eastern Europe was one of the first Jewish settlers of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. He was “the first champion of Jewish rights among the early American colonies” and “probably the first Jewish landowner in North America”. If there were a “Founding Father,” it would be Asser Levy. He fought to become a citizen (burgher), bought and sold property, engaged in trade, worked as a butcher, and lived and died in New York. (1682)

The Ocean Parkway bike path served both scenic and practical purposes and coincidentally would take you through Midwood –passing where Byron Preiss grew up– a journey through his neighborhood and culture, and a special node to the NY puzzle.

 
 

 

In summer
You’ll often hear a whirring sound
Cars abound

Guess where the first rollercoaster was built? Coney Island! Coney Island invented the rollercoaster.

“On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island in Brooklyn”.3 Most attractions are only open during the summer from Labor Day to Memorial Day which matches with this line given the whirring sound is heard In summer.

Do fairy secrets come in twos? The whirring sound could be from the rollercoaster or from the bicycles along the bike path.

 

Cars abound = Subway cars!
There is an above-ground subway line where you can see the train running clearly from Asser Levy Park and from the starting point of the bike path.

Or the cars abound could simply be the cars driving alongside Ocean Parkway/ the bike path.

 

Although the sign Nearby
Speaks of Indies native

Once we reach the end of the bike path, the SE corner of Prospect Park is just a block away. Coincidentally, Fort Hamilton parkway is at the SE entrance of the park, as well as the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station. Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies, thus is our Indies native.

 

The natives still speak
Of him of Hard word in 3 Vols.

The him is George Washington, whom natives still speak of.

The 3 Vols are the 3 Vols. Bound in Marbled Paper (the so-called “Anas”, written by Thomas Jefferson).
The Hard Word is a reference of the 3 Vols.
Without these 3 Vols from Thomas Jefferson, we would not know history as it is today. TJ takes his correspondences from George Washington to shed light on the events that happened and to set a record for history.

“for we are not to suppose that every thing found among Genl Washington’s papers is to be taken as gospel truth. facts indeed of his own writing & inditing, must be believed by all who knew him; and opinions, which were his own, merit veneration and respect; for few men have lived whose opinions were more unbiassed and correct. not that it is pretended he never felt bias. his passions were naturally strong; but his reason, generally, stronger. but the materials from his own pen make probably an almost insensible part of the mass of papers which fill his presses.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Further confirmation for 3 Vols:

See page 148, The Spirit of ’76

“During the Revolutionary War, the Spirit of ’76 lived in Jefferson’s inkwell, and during the Civil War under Lincoln’s hat, but she has steered clear of all politicians since the era of Reconstruction, favoring, as she did in her native Europe, the poor and oppressed throughout the land.”

“During the Revolutionary War, the Spirit of ’76 lived in Jefferson’s inkwell,” !!!!!!!!!!!

So, now we need to find something of significance from the SW entrance of the park that ties us to George Washington.

The Maryland Monument!

The Maryland Monument is located in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, New York City, on the slopes of Lookout Hill. On the east face of the monument’s square base is an inscription honoring the participating Maryland 400 soldiers. The inscription reads: “In honor of the Maryland 400 who on this battlefield on August 27, 1776 saved the American army.”

The west face of the marble pedestal has another inscription which is a comment attributed to Washington as he watched the Marylanders hurl themselves at the enemy it reads: “Good God! What brave fellows I must this day lose.” On August 27, 1895.

However, the treasure is not buried near this monument. See next slide.

Back to Page 148: The Spirit of ’76
Spotter’s Tips: “The Spirit of ’76 is usually found at a maximum distance

from monuments erected to her fame.”

——–

This means that we need to go to the area where history ACTUALLY took place. We need to go to the top of Lookout Hill, just past this monument.

Lookout Hill was first entered the history books as the site of a noble last stand by the Maryland 400, a company of Patriots who protected the American retreat during the the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. It’s the second highest point in Brooklyn and was used by Washington’s Continental Army as a lookout point during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776.

One more clue that points us to the top of Lookout Hill:

“And so is the unexpected sudden shiver of hope that a child, or a bird, or a morning might bring.”

The top of Lookout Hill is known for birdwatching, runners, and kids that are curious enough to go to the top and want to play. This area of the park is remote, quiet, and many do not even know of its existence.

 
 
 
LINKS TO GROUPS

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Riding into the mountains

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This is some text that will wrap around the image that sits on the right side of the text that you are writing about the leaf that is there. That is, if you are writing about leaves in the first place and you want to write about this specific leaf. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, emphasis consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nullam dignissim convallis est. Quisque aliquam. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.This is some text that will wrap around the image that sits on the right side of the text that you are writing about the leaf that is there. That is, if you are writing about leaves in the first place and you want to write about this specific leaf. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, emphasis consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nullam dignissim convallis est. Quisque aliquam. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.

MUCH SMALLER STUFF

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, emphasis consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nullam dignissim convallis est. Quisque aliquam. Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl. Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.

  1. The NY Times
  2. InsideHook.com
  3. History Channel

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