Ask most pop culture nerds nowadays what one of the biggest gatherings of concentrated nerd in the world is, and chances are good they will say either San Diego Comic Con, or its sister-con, New York Comic Con! I had the great fortune of being able to attend this year for the first time ever and can happily say that it was definitely an experience . I have never been to New York City itself so this was a learning experience for me. Here are a few of the lessons I learned that will make our trip go smoother the next go-round, as well as my general impressions of the Con!
Firstly, it is very important to consider what your costume is going to be, if you choose to wear one. If you are going to fly, it probably won't be a good idea to go as a 1:1 scale Optimus Prime! I chose a simple soft costume but I did a little more advanced makeup on my face to compensate for its simplicity. Also, as with any con, check the prop policies ahead of time so you won't have to throw away a project that took hours to build because it's not con-safe. AND think real world safety as well! Most cities don't take kindly to someone walking around with a rocket launcher, even if it is just a replica. Same goes for airlines as well; certain things will not get through TSA. That is why on the way up to New York, I checked my costume bag so I wouldn't lose anything going through security. New York Comic Con was very generous on the prop rules, and I was able to bring my lightsaber in with me.
I am on the left; I stole some parts from my Mandalorian kit as well as some new parts to make a pretty darn good custom sith character. There are some things I wish I'd had time to do differently but hey, that's the common cry of cosplayers everywhere!!
Another big thing to consider is where to stay. We chose to stay at AC Hotel New York Times Square It was within a short walk of the convention center (a short walk here meaning only about twenty minutes, as in New York sometimes it is quicker to walk than to drive). And we didn't focus on just the con either; our hotel was close to Times Square as well as some general tourist areas, so we could explore some while we were not nerding out! There are several hotels close to the convention center, but it is a good idea to reserve the room a few month out to both guarantee there are rooms available and save up money so you don't break the bank during the weekend!
Now onto the fun stuff! New York Comic Con was open for most of the day, ten a.m. to eight p.m. We were fairly close to the convention center, and in general I wasn't concerned with getting there as soon as the door opened, but if I was, it is important to set aside your prep time! Below is what I did the night before. The soft parts of the costume had gotten wrinkled during transit do I ironed it out and pre-painted some of the face pieces so that I wasn't rushed the next morning; this was a good thing, because just the makeup along took about an hour!
The morning of was reserved for final fitting and makeup. Again, I kept everything basic and even the day of I changed some things; I was there for a good time not, a stressful time, and as long as it looked good on camera I was fine. And boy did it!
After that, it was time to roll. I'm not going to lie, at first I had to build myself up to step outside our hotel room. It felt really weird walking around a major city looking like this. But I spent a lot of time and energy creating it and I wasn't going to just sit in the room embarrassed! It was a quick walk to the con and once we got there, it took all of ten minutes to walk through security. I was finally at NEW YORK COMIC CON!!!!
The con floor was definitely a lot more crowded than most that I had previously been to. But it was amazing; there were some fantastic cosplayers showing off their craft as well as the official booths as well. I would definitely recommend picking up one of their hall maps to help figure out what you wanna hit and where it is. We didn't do any of the panels, but the times and locations were all clearly marked and the reviews of them were all fantastic. The biggest challenge I didn't even think about was eating! This goes back to costume prep as well. I had fake nails on that made it hard to grab my food as well as the face appliances that made it difficult to open my mouth to chew. But hey, you gotta suffer for art. The coolest experience I had was being invited to participate in a group photo shoot with some of the other Star Wars cosplayers at the convention.
It was an awesome experience I believe it was members of the 501st Legion, Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, and Dark Empire. I myself am part of the 501st and Mercs, so it was fun to talk shop with some members from another state!
Overall, this was a very fun experience for myself and my wife. It was very fun to get to explore a new city and be able to go to one of the biggest concentrations of pop culture in the United States, if not the world! If I can, I will be going again in the future, and I would encourage anyone who can to do it as well. It can be intimidating, but I quickly learned that most people there were very friendly, and we all were coming together to celebrate our passions as fans.