BIG GIRL NOW: Thank you Pokemon Go, for filling our parks with people
When I was driving home the other day, I noticed something a little unusual. It was after 11 p.m. (don't tell my mom), and Cassen Park was completely full. Like, no spots at all.
I started racking my brain to see if I had forgotten some after-hours city event that I needed to cover, and double checked my emails when I got home. It turns out, it wasn't an organized gathering, but a bunch of people playing Pokemon Go, which is already considered to be the most popular mobile game in the history of smartphones.
"This is the busiest the park has been since I was a kid. There were at least 75 people there when I was leaving. Most were playing Pokemon Go. A few were fishing. Some just sitting and talking. You know what every single person had in common?? They were SMILING!!"
Now I have to admit when the app first came out, I had no plans to download it. But I'm a sucker for the hype, and last night I caved.
I attempted to be like cool kids, and play Pokemon Go in the dark at a park late at night, but my mom was adamnetly against it. And even at 23 years old, I have a very hard time disobeying her.
So I tried to do the right thing and play it during the day, even though the heat made me want to dive into the Haliax River in my work slacks.
Madeline and I roamed around Rockefeller Gardens just trying to get the app to work. But after 20 minutes of server errors and being too afraid to ask a stranger if we could use their phone to play Pokemon Go, we left.
After I made dinner at my house, I attempted again, and with the help of my wifi, I caught my first Pokemon: a Squirtle. There was a Pinsar in my neighbor's apartment, but I couldn't figure out a reasonable way to explain to Phil and Lynn why I was waking them up.
Later that evening I met up with the crew at my favorite little pub, Fletcher's, and got some more in-depth Pokemon Go lessons from McPasta and my other friend, Jon. We discovered a Hot Spot — which for those who don't know, is an area where you can get more Pokeballs and other stuff — at the Hand Avenue Fountain. Which, I didn't know exisited.
We ran through some bushes, Tom came face-to-face with a spider web, and Madeline yelled at us from the bar about how lame we were all being, before getting close enough to the Hot Spot to re-up. I got four Pokeballs, and the sweat dripping down my back felt really worth it.
You know why? Because we were all smiling.