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Pokémon GO Is Changing Where New Yorkers Go and How Much They Walk

By Angely Mercado | July 31, 2016 12:16pm
 The top Pokémon GO gyms in New York City include the Columbus Circle globe and St. Paul's Chapel, according to a recent study.
The top Pokémon GO gyms in New York City include the Columbus Circle globe and St. Paul's Chapel, according to a recent study.
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Shutterstock/ BravoKiloVideo

Gotta catch 'em all — and walk all over the city to do it.

Pokémon GO hasn't just changed the way some NYC businesses lure customers. It's actually changing where and how New Yorkers spend their time, according to a recent study. 

Cuebiq, a location intelligence company, complied research from a panel of 20,000 NYC-based Pokémon GO users to find out when and where they go to play.

The report highlights the Top 10 most visited gyms in the five boroughs and the increase in foot traffic to those areas.

“During the first week from the app launch Pokémon GO users visited the analyzed set of Gym locations 50% more vs. the week prior to the launch," the report said.

The top Pokémon GO gyms in New York City are:

New York Times office building at 242 W. 41st St.
• Columbus Circle globe 
• Flatiron Building 
• Times Square
• Port Authority (Google office)
• St. Paul’s Chapel at 209 Broadway
• NYC Eighth Avenue Post Office
• Winter Garden Theater at 1634 Broadway
• Chrysler Building
• Bryant Park fountain

A Trinity Church spokesperson said that over 3 million visitors go to both Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel every year.

“Throughout its 250-year history, St. Paul’s Chapel has always been a place where leaders from the city gather,” said the spokesperson in an email to DNAinfo New York. “In that spirit, we’re delighted to welcome those who are leaders in playing Pokémon GO.”

Cuebiq’s CEO Antonio Tomarchio said the company found the app had Pokémon GO's users walking — in some cases a lot — all over New York City. One of the most addicted users “visited 10 different Pokémon Gyms located all around Manhattan in a single day, covering over 27 miles” — just a little more than a marathon.

Peak Pokémon GO playing usually occurs between noon and 4 p.m., and starts up again after 5 p.m. Tomarchio said he believes people are on the app during their lunch breaks and after work. 

Researchers at Cuebiq will conduct more studies about players' habits toward the end of August, and they don't believe the trend will cool down anytime soon.

“We saw a growth rate of Pokémon players in the panel of 20 percent day over day, which is very impressive in an app,” said Tomarchio. “A high growing app is like 20 percent month-over-month growth. It’s something crazy. “

Overall, Tomarchio feels that the game is having an overall positive effect on New Yorkers. He thinks that it may encourage other gaming companies to use aspects of augmented reality to make people get up and go more often and to talk to people around them.

“I like what I’m seeing in overall innovation,” he said. “It’s incentivizing positive behaviors from users both from a physical standpoint and a social standpoint.”