I was walking down Cheever Place, a quaint one- block street connecting Kane Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, to Degraw Street, which is where Cobble Hill turns into Carroll Gardens. I noticed a construction dumpster across the street from me just as I was about to reach Cheever and Degraw. Dumpsters are common graffiti targets and graffiti has a tendency to linger on them – making them less-than-aesthetic visitors to pretty neighborhoods. This dumpster was unsurprisingly covered in graffiti. I ordinarily would not have thought twice about it, but there was a certain prominent pink blob with a face that caught my attention and caused me to ready the camera on my LineageOS-powered Google Pixel 6a phone. For the first time in my life in Brooklyn, I stumbled upon what I believe to be Pokémon graffiti. I think that pink blob is a Ditto.

Photograph of a blue dumpster on Cheever Place in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill, just off Degraw Street. There is a Ditto from  Pokémon painted in the center of the dumpster.
Click to expand.

Let us take a closer look.

Photograph of a blue dumpster on Cheever Place in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill, just off Degraw Street. There is a Ditto from  Pokémon painted in the center of the dumpster.

I determined while trying to ascertain the meaning of the more common BLOB DYLAN graffiti seen around New York City that understanding what goes through the heads of graffiti taggers and “artists” is not easy. But in this case, I can say with high confidence that our artist spray-painted this pink blob on a dumpster with the subjective intent to depict the 132nd Pokémon in the original Pokédex. Compare the graffiti to the real thing.

This Ditto not only has the correct shape, but also the right eyes and mouth. Ditto’s design has not changed much over its near-30 year lifespan, so it is not clear which model the Ditto artist had in mind.

Ditto is one of the most unique Pokémon. It was one of the original 151 Pokémon, coming in at number 132 in the original Pokédex.

(I dare say that makes this Ditto sighting sentimental graffiti. I will give imaginary brownie points to anyone who gets the localization reference without looking.)

Ditto stands out for two reasons. Firstly, it is a friendly-looking pink blob. Secondly, Ditto is a one-trick pony with a memorable trick (Ditto can also become a pony if it copies a Ponyta). Most Pokémon can learn many different attacks and moves to use in battle. Ditto comes with one move: Transform. It does not learn any move other than Transform. As the name suggests, Ditto can use Transform to become a near-perfect copy of the opposing Pokémon. Ditto keeps its own subpar HP-stat when transformed but otherwise copies the target Pokémon in all respects (there were a few technical oddities to Ditto’s transformation in the first generation games, but those are beyond the scope of the instant article). Ditto had very limited utility in the early Pokémon games because it had to actually use transform to transform, but it was so slow that it would be hard to transform without being attacked first. However, generation 5 provided Ditto with the ability to instantly transform upon hitting the field and gave it some interesting options in terms of items. This gave it some fun practical use-cases in the modern games.

(Generation 1 Ditto made a cameo appearance in my article on a major stat change between the first two generations, see below.)

Screen showing captured Ditto in Pokémon Yellow. Ditto is pictured on the top left.
I captured and nicknamed this Ditto in 2019. The inspiration for the name can be found below.

Outside the games, Ditto was the subject of a memorable Pokémon episode, so memorable that it is one of the episodes from the original set that I would be able to follow fairly well despite not having seen it somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter-century. Ash and his companions meet a girl named Duplica in episode 37 of the television series. Duplica had a Ditto, but her Ditto had an unfortunate flaw. Duplica’s Ditto kept is face while transforming into otherwise perfect copies of Pokémon (or non-Pokémon in the case of the anime). While Duplica’s Ditto was unique (the games do not feature similarly transformation-challenged Dittos), it became associated with the Pokémon despite only appearing in one additional anime episode (episode 174, which, if I saw it, I no longer remember it). In 2016, nearly 30 years after Duplica’s Ditto made its first of two anime appearances, the Pokémon company released a set of stuffed Dittos where Ditto is transformed into a different Pokémon while keeping its face. (The Muk in wave 8 of the stuffed Pokémon series made me laugh.)

I conducted a quick internet search to see if there have been any other reports of Ditto graffiti in New York City. While it is possible that some may turn up on one of the social media platforms, I did not come across any reports of Ditto specifically. Moreover, a reverse image search did not turn up any results that were plausibly Ditto. It seems at least possible that the Ditto of Cheever Place is one of a kind.