Wolfe Glick, a champion competitive Pokémon player, has elevated the Pokémon community by constructing a Pokémon gym in New York City. He won the 2016 Pokémon World Video Game Championships (VGC). For a day, he converted P448, a luxury Italian shoe store, into a water-type gym. In a 10-minute YouTube video with over 1.5 million views since its upload on January 24th, he boasts of opening "the first real-life Pokémon gym."
As seen in the now-viral video, several contestants queued outside the makeshift gym for the event. They were provided with water bottles and given the opportunity to observe others' battles on a big screen, in readiness for their own battles, while waiting.
The unique event attracted participants and spectators from various locations such as Nevada, Louisiana, and Maryland to New York City. Contestants who took it seriously were matched against three top trainers: Aaron Traylor (a two-time regional champion), Aaron Zheng (a semi-finalist in Worlds and two-time national champion), and James Baek (an international champion). As explained by Glick in his video, "Challengers will compete against three professional trainers to earn a chance to play against me, the gym leader."
Glick, the gym leader, had a team of Quaquaval, Tatsugiri, Pelipper, Coalossal, Barraskewda, and Palafin, with Coalossal as the unexpected element as a rock-type Pokémon with a water-type Tera Form. Those who succeeded in defeating Glick were awarded a rare badge with a purple Poké Ball and a complimentary pair of shoes worth $345 from P448. Glick stated that the event required "months of planning and hundreds of hours of work."
The YouTuber announced at the end of his video that he intends to host a real-life "Pokemon Elite Four" event in the future. In Pokémon mythology, the "Elite Four" are four trainers who hold the title and class of the best trainers in their region, with only the Pokémon Champions surpassing their abilities.