There was a 100 percent chance of rain in New York on Friday (March 31), but that didn't stop me — a longtime Halsey fan — from following the singer's simple instructions: "Keep running." The phrase was shared with a link to a cryptic website listing nine cities across the world, and luckily for me, New York City was one of them.
At the specified times, the site revealed geographic coordinates for each city's treasure: a gun-shaped USB drive with secrets about Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey's upcoming sophomore album due out June 2. The catch? Each place had only one USB, so whoever found it first got dibs.
Social media revealed that many of the earlier locations had been fountains, so I expected New York's to be a fountain supposedly located near the Halsey Street subway stop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Halsey used to live in the area; she chose Halsey as her stage name after realizing the street name was an anagram of Ashley, her real name. When I saw her on her Badlands tour, she gushed onstage about the night she saw that subway sign and decided to pursue music seriously.
I knew in my gut that this had to be the location, what with all that personal significance. So I grabbed my rain jacket and headed there before the official coordinates were even announced. USB, here I come!
At 2:48 p.m., I finally arrived at the Halsey station, which is about an hour from MTV's Manhattan office. I was 12 minutes shy of the 3 p.m. reveal, so I was proud of myself for beating the crowd. But my excitement was short-lived.
Approximately three minutes later, the actual coordinates dropped. I guessed totally wrong. The real location was a Romeo and Juliet statue in Central Park, an hour in the completely opposite direction. Shit. I took a photo so my trek wasn't a total loss, then hopped on the next subway back to Manhattan.
While I was underground for another hour, the steady drizzle became a full-on downpour, much to my dismay. Soon I was speed-walking through puddles in Central Park, cursing my umbrella for flipping inside-out, and cursing myself for wearing canvas sneakers instead of rain boots. It wasn't quite what I envisioned when Halsey teased "meet me in the kingdom" as the concept for her next album, but okay, fine, I went with it. I'd gone too far to give up early.
That optimism was also short-lived. Soaked and freezing, I discovered the Romeo and Juliet statue was just that — a statue. Halsey is big on R&J symbolism — HPK was inspired by a troubled relationship, after all — so I hoped to find at least something related to her new music there. But there was no USB. No note. No leftover disco ball from Katy Perry. Nothing to see here.
Two equally disappointed guys hiding from the rain nearby were also there for Halsey. Twitter user @talkofheaven had beaten all three of us. Womp, womp. Turns out, the USB drives contained images that fit together like puzzle pieces, unveiling the album art for Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. One mystery solved.
There was also a second image teasing the date April 4, creating a second mystery to wonder about. What's coming? I don't know, but I'm excited to find out where Halsey takes me next. I just hope that this time, Mother Nature cooperates.