Pokémon Go in Central Park: A real life Pokémon journey

Forty-two million visitors walk through New York City’s historic landmark annually. But lately, New Yorkers and tourists alike may notice a higher concentration of people across the park; that’s because it’s become a Pokémon Go player’s utopia since the game launched earlier this month.

On Sunday, July 17, we attended a Facebook-organized meetup for players in the tri-state area to come together and catch Pokémon at New York’s most popular hunting ground. The day was plagued by server outages, a frequent problem for Pokémon Go in its first month on the market. For those who could connect to the game for more than a short time, there were spoils to be had, thanks both to the 80-degree weather and the number of Pokémon found throughout the day.

Browse through some of our photos below for a sense of what the meetup was like. Don’t expect to see clusters of people charging after Vaporeon; the afternoon was a fairly calm affair, thanks in part to how spread out Central Park is. (The 162-year-old park comprises an area of 843 acres.) Still, we met some new people and caught some new Pokémon among some of the prettiest sites the city has, so it was a win-win for us.

More Pokémon Go fans were clustered outside of Central Park than inside, thanks to a perfect square of PokéStops.

It was a beautiful day — to ignore nature and hunt for Pokémon.

Players arrived at the park decked out in Pokémon swag.

The meetup was not particularly social, with groups of friends hunting Pokémon together in lieu of teaming up with their fellow trainers. Still, it was a nice way to hang out with pals for an afternoon.

One player showed off her impressive collection of Magikarp. Like other players, she’s availed herself to catching 400 candies’ worth of the low-powered Pokémon to obtain a much stronger Gyarados.

Central Park has plenty of tranquil ponds and pretty sights. It also has plenty of Pokémon.

Meowth stopped by during a quick pit stop in the shade.

Cubone was less than happy to see us.

A bunch of players got excited when Charmander appeared on the map. The beloved fire-type starter can prove hard to capture in the wild.

Staryu hitched a ride on one player’s bag as he and his group traveled across the park, blissfully unaware.

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