Pokemon GO PokeStops in New York are being temporarily disabled due to “disrespect” by players. Pokemon GO players will remember that when the hit mobile game was first released, it caused a stampede at New York’s Central Park.
At The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, New York, Pokemon GO PokeStops will be turned off during certain times of the day. It’s unclear exactly what the new availability hours are for the PokeStops.
Although he admits that it’s not up to him, the park’s director Paul Marzello says that they should only be turned off during 10PM and 10AM. He also explains that one of the biggest problems with the game is that people kept staying to play the game after park hours. and that police were “constantly” having to shoo players away from the area.
Marzello also said that players were “starting to disrespect the park,” bringing blankets, coolers, and their children, while there were also concerns about safety. Given that there’s no shortage of news about Pokemon GO players finding themselves in danger, it’s no wonder why Marzello sent multiple emails to developer Niantic to get the developer to help. Niantic eventually responded and made the park’s PokeStops an opportunity for education (including a chance to learn more about the park’s Vietnam memorial) and removed a Gym at the park too.
The park director also confirms that so far, park behavior is better, which is encouraging news for those in charge, or for those who frequent other Pokemon GO hotspots. From the requirement of Pokemon GO permits at Milwaukee county parks to the entire country of China banning the game due to safety concerns, the Naval and Military Park shows a way forward for concerned organizers who have considered banning the game altogether. Instead of barring the game and spoiling the fun, they could take a leaf out of Marzello’s book by putting some limitations in place to ensure that the game is played safely rather than not at all.
It seems likely that Niantic would show a willingness to work with these other concerned people, too. Shutting down Pokemon GO spaces discourages entire communities and areas from playing and harms its bottom line so it stands to reason that the developer will do what it can to cooperate with community leaders and organizers in future as well.
Pokemon GO is available on iOS and Android.