NYCC 2015: Tips from a First-Time New York Comic Con Goer

Joey Sack ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
New York Comic Con is massive; it’s the largest convention of its kind on the East Coast, and the second-largest in the country. There are things for people of all ages to look at and enjoy, from panels to vendors to cosplayers; but if you want to get the most out of your experience, here are a few tips, accumulated by this writer after three times going to Boston Comic Con before stepping up and going to New York Comic Con for the first time.

Take a moment to let it all sink in, then explore everywhere you can:

This is important for all Con-goers, but especially important for those going from a convention like Boston Comic Con (a large convention in its own right), to a significantly larger convention like New York Comic Con. Do not be surprised when you walk in and you say to yourself “I think I need a minute,” because that is exactly what this writer did this past Thursday. And it’s perfectly natural; NYCC is huge, filling up every possible space of the Javits Center, so much so that it’s possible to go through all four days of the convention and not even know where some events are. Study the map carefully, and if there’s an area that looks interesting to you, check it out; you’ll be surprised what you come across.

Get in line for panels early:

This tip should be a given, but things happen and you forget to get to where you need to go; then if you get in line early (but still late), the staff on-hand at the entrance to the line will say something along the lines of “from this point in the line, you have a 50/50 chance of getting in.” And if you’re near the middle of the end of the line, you’re not getting in. Bottom line, it can be tough to decide how early to get in line. As a general rule of thumb, 25-30 minutes should be alright for a typical panel, but also consider the popularity of the panel’s subject matter. If it’s something relating to Marvel, Star Wars, Batman, or a TV show that aired a long time ago, expect swarms of eager fans who are just as excited as you are to get into the panel in question. In these cases, 45 minutes to an hour might be a safer bet for wait time. But this, of course, leads to tip number three…

Plan ahead:

Events are scheduled months in advance; small things may change, a few guests may call in sick at the last minute, but the overall structure will remain the same. Once this information is available online, you can get a pretty good idea of what you want to see long before you end up at the Javits Center. And while this might seem like a plug, a lot of the bigger conventions have a mobile app for smart phones that helps people plan out their time, so definitely use resources like these to get your days planned out.

Ask cosplayers if you can take their picture:

Again, kind of a given, but taking pictures of total strangers on the street is quite the unusual practice, so it can be nerve-wracking to ask people dressed up in costume to take their picture. But one of the biggest reasons people dress up is to represent their love for a specific fandom; if you happen to like a character someone is dressed as, ask them for a picture. Nine times out of ten, they’ll say yes, so go for it; ask away. But at the same time, don’t be offended if they say no. A lot of cosplayers are dressing up for the first time, and that can be just as nervous as you are asking for a picture. If they say no, just tell them you like their costume and to have a great day; they’ll feel better about their costume, and you might encourage them to have their picture taken in costume in the future (And if it’s a cosplay of a popular character like Harley Quinn, Deadpool, or Darth Vader, there will be another dozen of them right around the corner).

Bring a bag to carry souvenirs and other must-haves:

This might not help with posters, but always have a bag to carry stuff around in, whether that be merchandise or small pieces of artwork or a water bottle and other such necessities. While it’s true there are places that will sell you small tote bags, if you bring your own bag from home, you’ll have more money to spend on autographs, photo ops, and more merch to fill up that bag of yours. Also, for posters, purchase a poster tube before the convention, so you’ll have a safe place to roll up and store your cherished purchases.
Also, going back to a water bottle and other such supplies, bring a water bottle and/or some snacks from home; drinks and food at conventions are notorious for being overpriced, and the long lines to pay for said refreshments make getting a quick snack or meal a real chore. So, bring water to stay hydrated, bring a granola bar to keep from starving, and this will help you limit the number of times you may need to get convention food over the course of the weekend.

Finally, you’re among friends:

Again, goes without saying, but a good thing to remember; very few, if any, people go to these conventions and not want to; from the cosplayers and vendors to the press and panelists, they are there because they love what they do and love celebrating all things pop culture.
For more New York Comic Con coverage, be sure to stick with Emertainment Monthly.

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