THE GEEKY REDHEAD 05-NOV-2015 New York Comic Con – When people find out I have been there several times (those who haven’t yet gone), I’ve gotten jealous comments. Living the dream. Lucky bastard. And it’s been a blast over the last few years that I’ve been lucky enough to attend – don’t get me wrong. It is, however, getting harder to attend and to enjoy myself at the event.
Logistics and the practical
The tickets are, of course, hard to come by but fairly reasonable in terms of price. Granted, four days at a little over a hundred is a lot to drop, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. They go on sale for a brief window and are snapped up by fans and scalpers alike. This year the comic con did their best to cancel any eBay and scalper tickets and resell them. Which actually worked out semi-well since the second rush of tickets in store wasn’t as bad as expected, or so I am told by those who trekked into the city to get them. If you know people in the convention-going crowd, a person can usually buy a ticket off someone else who realized they can’t go. So there is that.
Hotels are, of course, a mess. They book up quickly, they cost a ton – at least the ones in walking distance. I stayed at the Yotel with a friend this year and it was a delight. However, considering the bathroom is merely curtained off and not walled off, I would not advise this for people not already extremely close. Bright side: You will be close by the end of the trip! If not emotionally, physically. Don’t try to put more than two people in these rooms. Three tops.
Getting into the city is, as with NYC:SE, a trick if you aren’t already living in the city. I found myself having moved to New York state unexpectedly one month before NYCC so I was driving south into the city and parking. Due to a sick animal I was staying in the hotel some nights and commuting in others. I don’t suggest this, for the record. I also don’t suggest moving right before a big con. Playing the “where is my wig” game takes on a whole new meaning when it could be in any number of cardboard boxes in the garage, basement or craft room.
So, as always, when you are planning a NYC con and don’t already live in the city, you have to consider the cost of your travel. You can get in by train but then have to walk, taxi or bus to the center. There is the ferry that drops you off just a block away from the Javits Center, but the ferry will run you about $40 round trip and you have the gas costs and parking at the ferry. You can drive in, but there is gas costs, tolls, and parking. Normally I would suggest forgoing attempting to drive and park in NYC; however, that does have one distinct advantage – you can put your props in the car if NYCC staff doesn’t allow them in. More on that later.
As always, the food in NYC is amazing – if you leave the con. Food at the convention itself is reasonable. There is a kosher deli and lots of options. They are also expensive and the lines are insane. I would forgo buying food during the day. Eat a solid breakfast, bring snack bars, sandwiches, fruit or whatever and make it until dinner if you can. Then leave the area and enjoy some of the awesome food readily around. This year my group tried one of the Atomic Wings locations near the con and loved it! I also really love popping into Sunac Market. They are an international/health kinda store with a nice buffet. I love anywhere I can get a fresh salad and mochi. The Javits Center is within easy walk (one or two blocks) of a lot of great little cafes and delis. Plus it’s within walking distance of Times Square, which has even more.
Both super friendly and super frustrating. Depends entirely on your luck.
Let me stress that I understand how stressful it has go to be to work this particular con. So the staff do get a lot of sympathy from me. Hundreds of thousands of people, all in varying moods. All with their own issues… Probably doesn’t make for a fun day. It’s also frustrating to get hassled for something you know someone else didn’t simply because they got lucky.
This is not exactly a disabled friendly con – It’s just not. I was lucky enough to run into a dear friend during the con who happens to use a wheelchair. Our hunt for the friggin’ elevators was insane. Trying to get ourselves through the dealer room floor to look at some booths was nuts. I took a poster tube I had acquired (bless you Alisha, wherever you are), used that and my purse to literally turn myself into a plow of sorts, walking backwards to make a space for her.
If the con wasn’t so crowded, it wouldn’t be so bad. Though trying to find the elevators would probably still be a hassle. The con could really use some handy dandy posters or signs or tape on the floor. If you can get by on canes or the like, the con becomes more doable with the escalators. However, I would worry that the cane would be accidentally kicked out from under someone. While it is super crowded – insanely crowded – there are still areas in the vendors room, artist alley and along the hallways where people can sit and rest. They aren’t official by any means, but you will see tons of folks charging their phones and resting up.
However, if you have an anxiety disorder or issues being around large groups, this is a con you might want to skip. It’s chaotic, loud, and there is a lot going on any time. You can be both in a crowd and still feel incredibly lonely – as a person with anxieties, I strongly advise bringing several friends with you because you are going to split up from time to time. The power of the shiny is strong at this con.
OMG WHAT DON’T THEY HAVE?
Ok, actually I can answer that. There weren’t as many corsets as in previous years this past year. Sucks for me, but really for the best since between sick animal and the move I didn’t have a lot of cash to blow. However, there was a TON of great stuff. So much beautiful art, so many fantastic handmade items. I, personally, went a little nuts at the Sanshee booth buying Dragon Age swag. NO REGRETS! There was Avengers hot chocolate at another booth (super tasty) and, of course, various booths were giving out caffeine samples in various forms. Because they know their audience.
I just can’t see this as a cosplay friendly con. Does that mean there wasn’t cosplay? Of course there was. Does it mean the cosplay was bad? No, it was amazing. Jaw droppingly breathtaking.
What it means is that costumes are getting ruined by the crowds. It’s harder to bring props and there doesn’t seem to be any logic behind it. In theory, they are not allowing any weapons made of wood and other dangerous materials. However, this depended solely on who happened to check you and if you were honest.
My wooden mage staff was not allowed in, but I saw others with wooden staffs. This I can understand though. There will always be lying assholes.
What I can’t forgive is that:
- A) battle-ready but technically plastic light sabers were allowed, which posed as much of a problem as wooden props,
- B) giant mech suits are allowed into the dealers room*, which DEFINITELY created massive crowd control issues, and
- C) you were allowed to buy and then carry edged weapons. When I say carry, I don’t mean ‘tied up in a box or secured’. I mean I personally watched people buy swords and then run around with them, able to freely draw the blade.
I saw people walking around with Wolverine blades they had bought at the con. I listened while my boyfriend bought a sword and the vendor told him that they didn’t want to wrap it up cause ‘it’s a bother and you might need it before the day is over!’ and laughing.
The prop policy needs a lot more tweaking. I’m honestly ok with just not allowing any staffs, prop weapons of any kind or large costumes. Even if that means getting rid of the ballgowns. Which yes would suck but would make moving through the crowds easier. Or creating a policy of only cosplays smaller than X are allowed in the vendor area/artist alley. Whatever is done though, it needs to be enforced fairly and across the board.
Also, heads up, next year they are going to charge you for them to hold onto your props if they aren’t allowed in. Hence why parking in the city may be reasonable. This is what a staff member told me when confiscating my staff while I scrambled to get the keys so I could safely put it back in the car. I did ask if, since we would be paying next year, if they would be liable for any damage done to props. The answer is no.
Does this make NYCC bad? Of course not. It does mean that I will be a lot more careful what props and cosplays I bring next year to avoid this situation.
*P.S. Dear people in giant suits, I love you. I seriously freakin’ love you. Your stuff is amazing. I just want everyone to be able to enjoy your work without squishing other folks.
This is a con everyone needs to do once. With friends and some preplanning, this con can be a blast. Pace yourself – you aren’t going to see everything in one day. Trying to fight the crowd will just frustrate you and wear you out. Browse the information online and if there is something you really need to see right away, head for it right off. Otherwise, meander through the offerings in a casual but methodical way so that you see everything in your own time.
Just please stay aware of the people around you. I know this is a giant bag of awesome with shiny sauce on top but please stay on the lookout so that you don’t crush kids or trip over folks with mobility aides.