Pokémon Go, From the High Line to the Hudson | chelseanow.com

Pokémon Go, From the High Line to the Hudson

Tali takes a Pokémon Gym on the High Line, at W. 20th St. Photo by Jane Argodale.

Tali battles at a Pokémon Gym on the High Line, at W. 20th St. Photo by Jane Argodale.

BY JANE ARGODALE | The new mobile device game Pokémon Go has taken the town, and the world, by storm, with more downloads in its first week on the iTunes App Store than any app before it. The game allows users to catch Pokémon out in the world using GPS, syncing up locations of Pokémon, PokéStops stocked with cool tools to catch Pokémon, lures set up by well-to-do users that attract Pokémon, and Pokémon Gyms where users on different teams battle for dominance, with real-world locations.

Reporter Jane Argodale playing Pokémon Go on the High Line, with a Doduo perched on her arm. Photo by Michael Sugarman.

Reporter Jane Argodale playing Pokémon Go on the High Line, with a Doduo perched on her arm. Photo by Michael Sugarman.

With plenty of landmarks and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, New Yorkers are joining in, often obsessively, on the craze. The Facebook group Pokémon Go NYC has over 6,000 members who log locations of Pokémon, PokéStops, and Pokémon Gyms, and are hoping to schedule in-person Pokémon Go meetups.

During a quick search of the Facebook group’s location log, I noticed that information on places of interest in westernmost Chelsea was lacking — making the relatively undiscovered area a gold mine for players seeking an edge. So I set out to document which parts of the neighborhood would be the most fruitful for those in search of Pokémon.

Three locations topped my list: the area around Chelsea Market, which is teeming with businesses and interesting landmarks (including the Apple Store); the High Line, with its easy navigation and a Pokémon Gym; and Hudson River Park, with a number of lures and water-dwelling Pokémon. With my friends Tali and Michael in tow, both of them experts at Pokémon lore (and lures), I explored the area and came away with some tips for fellow players.

Catching a Rattata on the pedestrian island on Ninth Ave. at W. 14th St., across from the Apple Store. Photo by Jane Argodale.

Catching a Rattata on the pedestrian island on Ninth Ave. at W. 14th St., across from the Apple Store. Photo by Jane Argodale.

The stretch of Ninth Ave. by W. 14th St. — near Chelsea Market and bordering on the Meatpacking District — was full of PokéStops and lures. A busy, pedestrian-friendly area, PokéStops were consistently found less than a block apart in this area. The Le Pain Quotidien on the island in the center of Ninth Ave. provided both a PokéStop and a lure, as well as a great seating area to rest in the middle of a long Pokémon hunt.

The High Line is an ideal location to play Pokémon Go. On its single path cutting through the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown, and dotted with the sort of interesting art and landmarks where places of interest in the game tend to be located, players can find new Pokémon to catch just by constantly moving forward. Though the locations of some PokéStops are outdated — one is located at a large telescope that’s already been removed, another at a statue that seems to have been removed as well — they are certainly numerous. At W. 20th St., there’s a Pokémon Gym right on the High Line. Even on a busy Friday afternoon, there didn’t seem to be any competitors vying to capture it. In just two minutes of tapping her screen aggressively, Tali had easily taken it over.

Water-dwelling Pokémon are, of course, most easily found near bodies of water, and from the High Line, the Hudson River is easily accessible.

A PokéStop located at the Pier 62 carousel, in Hudson River Park. Photo by Tali Rose Rush.

A PokéStop located at the Pier 62 carousel, in Hudson River Park. Photo by Tali Rose Rush.

On Pier 62, on the northern side of Chelsea Piers at W. 22nd St., there were a number of PokéStops nearby, including the pier itself as well as a carousel, and lures nearby drawing Magikarp from the river onto the land, where they’d flop around like real fish. After walking on the High Line in 90-degree weather, the piers along the Hudson provide great places to play Pokémon while sitting comfortably in the shade.

A Magikarp flops ashore at Hudson River Park’s Pier 62. Photo by Jane Argodale.

A Magikarp flops ashore at Hudson River Park’s Pier 62. Photo by Jane Argodale.

I found it surprising how relatively untapped the Pokémon locations in Chelsea were, compared to more popular areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Though much of Pokémon Go is an individual game, teamwork helps when it comes to setting up lures for fellow players or taking a gym. As higher numbers of players come to Chelsea, its many PokéStops will be of good use in bringing more of the game’s group effort element to the neighborhood.

With safety concerns about the game mounting — it can certainly be difficult to remain aware of your surroundings while also staying focused on an iPhone screen — areas like the High Line and Hudson River Park, designed mainly for foot traffic, provide relatively safe places to walk about freely in search of Pokémon.

To the fellow Pokémon trainers of West Chelsea, happy hunting!