I got a voicemail Saturday night from a man with a thick Italian accent that went a little something like this: “Jessica Tiare, listen carefully and do exactly what I say. And after you listen, destroy the phone.” On any normal Saturday night in New York City this message may be enough to make even the bravest city slicker shiver in fear that they’d finally pissed off the mafia, but this wasn’t just any normal Saturday night. This was the night before I was going to attend Accomplice: New York, and my life would never be the same.
Accomplice: New York was created in 2005 by brother-and-sister-team Tom Salamon and Betsy Salamon-Sufott. Described on their website as “part game, part theater, part tour”, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was I was getting myself into. I heeded the advice of my Saturday night mystery caller carefully, meeting at the secret spot at 4:00 on the dot. And then, right after I destroyed my phone, the game began. Our group consisted of three New Yorkers and a handful of Canadians who had just finished running the NYC Half Marathon. A three hour walking tour after running 13.1 miles? That’s ambitious, even by New York standards! But I digress.
We set off onto our adventure, putting our noggins together to figure out the clues that were given to us. Some were easier than others, but after being treated to drinks at a bar, we clinked glasses together and resolved that with a team of savvy New Yorkers and unstoppable Canadians, there was nothing we couldn’t do. The tour started in lower Manhattan, and led us through several major neighborhoods, ending somewhere in SoHo. During this trek, we went to some pretty off-the-beaten-path kind of places. Dive bars, shady parking garages, swanky Italian restaurants…you get the picture. Even as a local, I discovered new spots I’ve never been to before, and will most definitely go back. Well, except for the shady parking garage.
“We came across some pretty crazy characters, and given that we’re in NYC, it wasn’t always clear who was in the show and who was just being their normal, crazy, New Yorker self.”
Along the way, we came across some pretty crazy characters, and given that we’re in NYC, it wasn’t always clear who was in the show and who was just being their normal, crazy, New Yorker self. The actors and actresses did a brilliant job, because not only were they acting, they were also using their master improv skills to banter back and forth with us, all while being in an au natural environment, and having the good people of NYC as an additional layer of audience. I applaud their authenticity, creativity, and amazing sense of humor. It is the brilliant talent behind Accomplice: New York that has indeed, changed my life forever. From now on, whenever I have out of town guests, I can skip both playing tour guide and trekking to Times Square for the requisite Broadway show. Because now, I have Accomplice: New York. And they roll the theater, tour, and title for “Best fun that could possibly be had in NYC” all in one.
Tickets for Accomplice: New York are $65, and can be purchased on their website.
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen