By Danny Schrafel
By day, Jim Clark makes his living as the owner of his own law firm and as outside counsel to Huntington Town Hall. On his off time, he’s plotting a great escape of his own, bringing a brain-teasing concept in the heart of Northport Village.
Clark and his wife Kelly, along with Jay Dowski, are the gamemasters of the CryptIQ room escape experience, located at 256 Main St., the same building as his law office.
The concept is simple: a group of up to 10 people are brought into a room filled with logic games, puzzles and riddles. Those clues lead participants on the path to finding the key that opens up the door and gets them on their way. They have just 60 minutes to crack the code.
“It’s a race against the clock,” Clark said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
Clark said he first got the idea for the Hollywood-themed CryptIQ after trying the concept in the city. In Northport, the game is set in the office of eccentric movie director and producer Nicholas Van Orton, and, as the story goes, he’s taken a break from reviewing scripts and taking casting calls for his latest big-screen blockbuster to search for new apprentices. Win the job by escaping his office in 60 minutes or less.
“After the last time we did it in Manhattan, I said, ‘We can come up with one of these,’ Clark said. “So we designed it ourselves and found space on Main Street.”
Since opening their doors in June, they’ve received “great feedback,” Clark said. Designed for a 20 percent success rate, Clark said they’re right on target. Of 20 groups that have gone through so far, five have successfully solved the puzzle and escaped.
“Everyone who’s gone through – even if they didn’t get out – they had a good time,” Clark said. “Nobody has ever screamed, ‘let me out!’ But one person had to go to the bathroom, so we let them out to go to the bathroom.”
Individual slots are $25 per person; add a small online registration fee. Pre-registration is required. The studio is open from Tuesday-Sunday and by appointment. For more information, call 631-651-2622, visit cryptiqinc.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.