BIG APPLE CON 2016
KATE THE GEEKY REDHEAD 08-MAR-2016
This con. Oh my gosh this con.
I had ridiculous amounts of fun. Truly ridiculous.
I don’t even know where to start. When I walked up, I was a little surprised to find that there was a line around the building to get in. In my experience, one-day events typically don’t have big lines. It had been a rough morning, involving some personal drama and forgetting costume pieces, so the prospect of waiting in a long line didn’t thrill me. I was extremely pleased to discover both that A) the line was moving quickly, and B) the long line was only for people who hadn’t bought their tickets ahead of time. Once we realized that, we were ushered in quickly with our pre-paid tickets. By the way, no one I spoke to reported difficulties with prop checks. I didn’t have any props to speak of though so I can’t provide personal experience.
In the beginning, I have to admit that I was a little concerned. There didn’t seem to be too many people there, including a lot of empty vendor tables. That always makes me feel like there must be a reason people aren’t there. My concerns were brushed away fairly quickly though. While the tables never completely filled, more vendors arrived within an hour and more patrons as well. There were several cosplayers with tables, including at least one cosplay charity.
While there wasn’t much in the way of apparel, it was a great con for picking up unique gifts or just fun things for yourself. I grabbed some Sailor Moon soaps for a friend ( Soap + Ink ) for 10 dollars a set. There were scary teddy bears, new and back issues comics, plenty of trades, and lots of great artists.
No food in the con to speak of, at least that I saw. However, the location itself is close to Madison Square Garden and so there are quite a number of possibilities close to the con. Venturing just across the street offers a nice variety. There are both independent eateries and familiar chains. I would, however, recommend skipping the McDonalds around the corner. My group had to leave early and in a hurry so we grabbed food there, thinking it would be faster. Our food was cold, took awhile and my nuggets had some kind of string thing attached to one. These were replaced fairly quickly and without issues so I must commend them there. Still, I don’t think I will return. I would like to note that this is not the same location as the one across from NYCC – where I have always been happy with my food and service. Bringing snacks wouldn’t be a bad idea but there is enough food nearby that I would feel entirely comfortable without bringing anything. I positively adore the dining options in New York City so I am heavily biased there!
This is really the one area where I felt the con could use some work. To access the main con floor, you must go up a narrow escalator. I assume that there are elevators in the back for those in wheelchairs, but I did not see them, or signs pointing them out. I also didn’t see anyone at the location using mobility aides. The aisles were also quite narrow and, as the con filled up with people, that became more and more troublesome. Maneuvering in a wheelchair would be difficult and I have to think that a cane or other aides wouldn’t exactly be a cakewalk either. There were also not many chairs where a person could sit for a bit and rest up if they have walking issues. However, despite the crowding, there were empty pockets of space along the walls where one could settle along the wall.
The convention hall was well lit, something I always like in a convention. For the most part, people seemed to be in a cheerful and friendly mood. People, on the whole, were approachable. Whenever I made conversation with people, they were happy to oblige me – something that is wonderful for a person with anxiety like me! I was asked beforehand when it came to hugs and other contact, which is always lovely and lends a comfortable air to a convention.
This was such a lovely con to be a cosplayer. While I wouldn’t bring a large cosplay here – it would have trouble getting up and down the escalator – I have to say that I had a blast interacting with the other cosplayers. There was a lot of friendly banter and folks seemed to be both very respectful as well as extremely willing to play around. This was also a pretty family friendly event. While I wasn’t able to get photos of everyone, I saw several little girls who were dressed up and families who were excited to be there as part of a family outing.
The most negative thing I have heard is that some people dislike the smell of the vendor hall. The explanation I was given, which may or may not be true, is that the location is quite old and that people used to be able to smoke in the building. Some people feel like it still reeks of cigars. As for myself and my group, we did not notice any smell be it cigar or otherwise. I didn’t even encounter any body odor issues that seem to so plague conventions and cosplay.
At the end of the day, I would strongly suggest that others in the area give this con a shot. My big concern for others thinking about attending would honestly be mobility. I would advise someone who uses a wheelchair, walker or other aide to contact the con ahead of time just to make sure that there are elevators and that they will be in service. I’m sure there are elevators somewhere but it would be no fun to get there and realize you can’t access 95 percent of the con. Only a handful of vendors are on the street level area.
There is also the matter of how to get there, if you don’t live in the city. This con is far enough from both the train station and the docks that taxis may be in order. If a person is comfortable walking, I found the walk pleasant from the train station to the con and back again – including passing by some cute shops and I was able to buy some mochi.
I fully intend to be at Big Apple Con 2017 and am looking forward to it!
Kate Foil is a dedicated eating of mochi and other exotic sweets.She can also be found on Instragram (katefoil) and Facebook (The Geeky Redhead).