I was happy to meet you, though - but yeah, you're right about the bathrooms. I think a big part of it was the awful way foot traffic was managed (which is to say, not at all), but ... maybe there should be a ban on costume changes in there?
Me too! There WERE good things to be had over the weekend... :)
I don't know where else costume changes could really occur. A panel room, set up as a sort of dressing room, maybe?
I think the anime floor had a changing area?
I've been to other cons that had green rooms for cosplayers. I think that works a lot better than people in the bathroom; I noticed the same thing, and this year with NYAF there at the same time, it was much worse.
Otakon has a room set aside and they are strict about it. If you're found changing in a bathroom it can get pretty hairy (minor costume adjustments are different). It works out pretty well I think.
I was thinking the same thing at NYCC: designated changing areas for cosplayers! Wouldn't that make everyone happy?
oh I'm willing to be that there will be those who complain (you want me to get changed in public place?!), but those who will be RELIEVED by the fact we can get to the bathrooms will smite them hard.
Oddly I didn't have an issue getting a bathroom stall the five times I went (I was at Javits for like 10 hours drank a lot of water) its always after I arrived that the line began queuing badly.
I agree totally with what you area saying here. It seems like this con goes out of its way to make believe that it is the epicenter of geekdom like San Diego without realizing that they do not have the space to accommodate that sort of thing. The javitz is a horrible location. And this year was even worse when they got the bright idea of combining the Anime Festival with the Comic Con. I mean to put Artist alley in what seemed like a different building after walking through all the halls and tunnels to get there, C'mon, what is this simply a place to buy comics or a place to celebrate those that create them.
I met you at Heroes Con, and that by far is my favorite con that i go to, and i go every year, despite the 10 hour drive. I live in NJ and only go to my "home" con on Friday, and have no inkling of want to ever go for a second day.
As per the food, you kind of just need to know where to look, a simple walk over to tenth and there are a bunch of options, My wife and I ate in a little Food Depot Place this year that had pretty much everything. Last year we went to a small irish pub called o'farrells 9which we would have gone to this year but they were renovating). Plus the halal carts outside do offer some nice Gyros and kababs.
It is nice to read an honest appraisal of this con, becasue so many in the "press" act like it is the end all be all" when it is simply a con that has gotten too big too fast and in too small a location.
If you're having problems with dehydration, but don't want to go to the bathroom quite so often, you should try bringing a sports drink (like gatorade or powerade) along with you. For all the sugar in those things, the salts help you retain the water you're getting instead of peeing it all out. Really helped me this year dealing with long, hot waits in the subways and walking around Manhattan. A little goes a long way. :)
From what I've been reading and you've just described, I'm glad I didn't go to NYCC this year. I enjoyed it in its first two years when it was still relatively smallish, but it sounds like it's to big for its britches. I think I'd rather exhibit at MOCCA Fest or SPX where the focus is on cartoonists rather than licensed properties. Hopefully next year! (fingers crossed) :)
Here's the thing... for people like us, who have been to San Diego and other comic cons, we have a high standard, and we know what a good convention looks like. So our opinion of the NY one is going to take a dive (I think the show itself is fine... but 100% agree on the craphole that is the Javitz).
However... to most NYC-based geeks and/or their families and friends-- who have never been to a real Comic Con (usually the best we get is those crappy Big Apple shows set up in danky hotels), who can't afford to go to San Diego, etc-- this is HEAVEN. They love this show, it means everything to them.
And I don't think the biggest problem is the Con itself... I think the people who run are doing the best they can, and it will continue to attract more good stuff each year... the problem is that NYC has no place to handle a show bigger than this. San Diego's convention center is huge and centrally located downtown by the Gaslamp, and it can't handle that Con anymore. How can the Javitz be expected to handle a Con? Unless the city builds a bigger convention center, or expands the Javitz (neither is likely), NYCC will just have to make the best of a bad setup.
Yeah, I'm with you on this! I know it's just one of those it-is-what-it-is situations. And I know that 90% of attendees love it.
But people like me will stay away, and I'm sure I speak for others here, too. Dave and I both agreed that we would NOT recommend this convention to casual observers, especially those with children. Maybe that's not fair, but it just felt like a recipe for stress, and a potential turn-off for those new to comics.
"a potential turn-off for those new to comics. "
The biggest aspect of this Con-- and even San Diego and others-- that would turn off new comic readers is how little of the convention revolves around comic books. But if you like costumes, huge videogames booth, etc... it's the bomb.
On the plus side, the dealers section for comics on the far end had some great deals on trades and back issues. A smart comic shopper could have really cleaned up!
I have fun explaining this to my friends. We're mainly anime geeks, so we see a convention labeled 'Anime Convention' we can be damn sure that it will be chock full of anime. The first time I took them all to NYCC (last year) they were dismayed by the lack of comic stuff and the seemingly endless stream of video games and media.
One turned to me and said "But I thought you said this was a Comic Convention. Why are there video games everywhere?" (they are not video gamers, sadly). It was a disappointing experience for them (and something I continually warn them will happen at SDCC, but they brush me off saying 'Its so BIG of course it will!' >.>)
That is fantastic news. The site says parts of the center have already been renovated, though...and there certainly aren't more bathrooms in the north hall! :/
I feel like I'm beating a dead horse with this point, but it's a serious impediment to my comfort, so it's basically fundamental to my having a good time.
I found out on Sunday that there WAS a bathroom on the other side of the convention hall! I wish I had known that all weekend...
I too got by bringing healthy snacks to get me through the day without spending any money on or having to eat overpriced crap, and I was definitely thankful for my refillable water bottle when I saw how much they were charging!
Every convention has a different vibe and it took me till Sunday to figure out how to sell my wares to people at NYCC, but eventually I did figure it out and it ended up being profitable for me. However, if it hadn't been, I don't think I would even be halfway considering coming back next year. ESPECIALLY after finding out they charge for tables and chairs! WTF is up with that?
When Zane was able to come cover me on Sunday so I could "enjoy" the con, I had such an impossible time finding out anything about the programming I ended up never leaving the table anyway.
I wasn't at a table and I had a hard time finding out about the programming!
I was pretty underwhelmed this year, moreso than other years. I had mixed feelings about the fact that they put Artists' Alley in a different room. They didn't hand out programs when you got your badge, an they didn't have them out anywhere for people to grab-- you had to specifically ask for one, or at least I did when I got there on Thursday. Even though I was chiefly LOOKING for AA when I got there, I couldn't find it because it was in another room and not very well-labeled. I did two whole rounds of the main floor before I saw the sign pointing to "more!" Many people I know who aren't familiar with comic conventions never got in there because they didn't know it existed at all. The same was true for the Anime dealers' tables-- I didn't even find out they existed until late on Saturday. I felt like things weren't really organized in an easily-findable way, except for the book publishers being all together, and Artists' Alley had so much space between the tables as to appear unfriendly, while the main floor had not enough space and was hard to walk through, let alone navigate. And the autographing space seemed just like wasted space for a lot of the con, with those long aisles set up and no one in them.
I went to a lot fewer panels this year than I usually do; partly, I didn't see a lot of engaging subjects, and many of them were panels on subjects I'd seen before. I also had a hard time finding the ones I wanted to go to in the program. I spent most of the weekend at the convention, but most of that, I spent trying to find my friends who had tables so I could say hi.
I had quite a few panels I wished to attend, but getting into them wasn't happening. Since I had interviews in the morning I wasn't able to grab a seat first thing the convention opened like everyone else. >.> At one point I tried to attend a panel for a person I just finished interviewing--I was there 2 hours ahead of time and couldn't even get a spot on the 'waiting list' line! That annoyed and frustrated me more than anything else.
I found it kind of irritating that there was two 'artist alleys'. The 'professional' one--with those who are published artist/indy creators and the 'non-professional' one--for the fan artists/creators. Both labeled Artist Alley and both jack crazy to get to.
Oh, also, the 7 train is being extended to 11th ave (you could see the construction across the street :) )-- it's the 10th ave stop that's in limbo.
Sorry, I'm not really trying to be devil's advocate-- just pointing out a few things. Everything you say about NYCC is spot-on (particularly the bathrooms), and make it hard to enjoy the con at times. I love NYCC and I think at its best, it can be pretty amazing (getting to meet all these people, etc), but the Javits is just such a dump. It's remarkably smooth for what it is, but I sincerely hope it can deal with its growing pains fast and work on the organizational issues. Hopefully the renovations help as well. :\
No no, I appreciate it!! I'm glad to be proven wrong on so many counts. The city deserves these renovations; I can't imagine how many other shows happen at the Javits that wouldn't benefit from easy accessibility--not to mention the businesses and residents in the area. I hope the west-west side will gentrify as a result.
Just wanted to toss in my two cents and say I completely agree.
I think I've been to somewhere between 15-20 convention centers over the course of doing shows for the past few years, and the Javits is hands down the WORST. New York's a big hub for industry ... it's a shame the convention center is so poor.
I think the only thing I can add that you didn't mention was the organization in the lobby right outside the show. By organization I mean literally none - it was just a press of bodies trying to squeeze through the tiny gap in the cordon. Bananas!
This was the first year they folded NYAF into NYCC (I think), and I think it was experiencing growing pains for sure. Hopefully they can sort some of that stuff out next year!
I agree that the lobby chaos was potentially a bigger problem than the con floor itself. So many people going in different directions and having no idea if they are going the right way or not. And in the middle of it all people stopping to take pictures!
it was the first time and I think it suffered more than it benefited to be honest. The actual 'anime/manga' presence at NYCC/NYAF was considerably smaller. Two of the big names--Viz and Tokyo Pop--didn't hold panels (and if they had booths they weren't anywhere I could find them) and the others had the misfortune of being placed by larger booths--such as UbiSoft or SquareEnix--who had major demos for most of the weekend, attracting large video game crowds and making it impossible for the people who wanted to get to the anime booths to get there easily.
the lobby pissed me off. There was no one to know which way to go. Why they had one of the pre-reg lines cut across the already got a badge/press badge/professional badge lines is beyond me.
I've yet to make a NYCC (even though I was in NYC this past weekend!), but I was at the Javits Center last November for the NYC Marathon and I was seriously underwhelmed with it and its location during that trip. And I was only there for about two hours. It's a shame (and a little bizarre) there isn't better infrastructure inside and around. It seems like such a no-brainer.
I've never been to this con simply because I've been to the Javits before and it seems like an awful place for such a big con being in the middle of nowhere, etc.
I've never been to San Diego either, how do you think they stack up to each other? Exhaustion and location wise? I will probably have to go to one or the other next year.
I like San Diego a lot. But that might be because I'm on vacation there, staying in a hotel with a pool and eating at restaurants for every meal. Here, I have to clean my house, open up the bed for guests (which I don't mind at all, but it's one more thing to take care of), and travel to and from Queens every morning and evening.
San Diego has been around a lot longer, and most of their organization issues and crowd control have been sorted out. It still feels like madness, and I am prone to panic attacks while I'm there...but I can walk out the doors, onto the patio that has a view of the harbor, and chill out for awhile. Or take a little walk and go to a decent restaurant a block or two away and sit down and eat a meal. The little things, you know? :)
Also, the SD convention center has a LOT of bathrooms, many hidden or out of the way, so you can usually find one when you need one.
I was wishing for that open deck onto the harbor on Saturday...I had a minor flashback and forgot I was still in NY. The Hudson isn't quite the same!
I had a great experience this last weekend, but looking at my NYCC write up, I'm realizing I spent 90 percent of the time talking about NYC instead of the con. I mentioned you and dave too:
I only have one photo of the convention hall, and a billion of the city itself, ha ha.
Ah well. I had a good time and enjoyed saying hi to ya'll.
I got bumped into more at this convention (which I only visited on Saturday) than I do at any three San Diego Comic-Cons. It didn't matter if I was strolling casually, walking at a good pace or standing at someone's table, someone seemed to careen into me at full-speed every three minutes. I haven't even had that problem on the New York subway system.
Designated photo areas would be great. I know that's valuable real estate, but emptying out a couple of booths where people can cosplay to their hearts' content or having a room on each floor where you can snap all the photos you want without disrupting traffic would make the con so much better for everyone. People who want to see all the costumes could do so at their leisure, people in costumes aren't going to earn the enmity of the people who just want to get from Point A to Point B, and kids don't have to worry about getting decapitated by someone's giant anime weaponry.
A friend of mine got burned by the small print on the "tables and chairs cost extra" thing, which is a pretty obnoxious expense to build into a convention. Instead of making back $500, which he thought would cover his table costs, he suddenly found himself facing a $700 deficit (not counting travel costs and his hotel expenses). The Comic-Con International crew are always very up front about any costs that you're going to incur when using their services, but I suppose Reed gets everyone with that trick at least once.
o.o you were there? You know I wrote my own rant about what I hated about Saturday at the con (appropriately called 'Saturday of the Damned' if you ask me) and I haven't found any other truly unhappy reports? I mean the occasional negative comment, but it seemed to be something that everyone glossed over.
I honestly had a lot of issues with the staffing situation. I'm not sure how they ran things this year, but there was four different sets of staffers running things. The security people, the NYCC staffers, the NYAF staffers and then the Booth staffers. AND THERE WAS NO COMMUNICATION BETWEEN ALL OF THEM AT ALL. I would literally be in line for something, have a NYCC person tell me I was in the wrong line, a NYAF person tell me there was no line and a booth person tell me I was in the right line.
And I think its asinine of them to not clear the rooms out between panels. For those of us who had interviews to do and business people to meet it was impossible to get into panel rooms because we couldn't wait in line at 10am when the show opened.
or have friends who would sneak us in that manned the doors
I think I'm spoiled because I attend Book Expo America at Javits each year and that is run more efficiently. Granted, its professionals (mainly) and industry related folk not the general public and is only half the size of NYCC, but they also use only half the space of Javits.
This was the first year I've really gone to NYCC (aside from doing a Lulu signing for a few hours a few years back) and it was just as overwhelming as San Diego and with a much more complicated floor plan. I was glad by the time we even found Artists' Alley so I could hide out from the mayhem of the main floor on Saturday.
The main downside for me was the chances of randomly running into people on the floor. I was sorry to miss you, Dave and countless others that I didn't even know were there til after! But again, this is what happens when no one has a table for a home base and there is shoddy phone reception. Glad to know I'm not the only one overwhelmed by it all.
I've found that the best bet for restrooms was to go down a level to the long hallway that connects all the panel areas (A to E) across the length of the center. There seem to be restrooms for or between each lettered section or so? I was able to duck into those without having to wait on a line. Admittedly, it can be a long walk from the show floor.
I always bring a bag full of Chinese bakery goods, and can feed a handful of people for about $10/day. There's a branch of the Chinese bakery chain Fay Da right on 34th around 8th Ave. or so. I'm pretty sick of that stuff by Sunday, but it's still a better option than the crap in the Javits.
I had a friend who came up from Florida to exhibit (in a booth the con upsold her on) and was completely screwed by the placement. She was in that aisle next to the obnoxious giant Intel area where the Intel crowd blocked off foot traffic from one direction, the 40 foot screen hid the row from view and the food court across from her made the aisle look like an empty dead end. It was really awful and she was told that the booth was on the main show floor, which that annex definitely was not. That aisle shouldn't have been used and I know for a fact that the main floor had empty booths as of a few days prior to the con that were given away to avoid the appearance of unsold booths. She was completely screwed by the con and doesn't intend to return, and I can't blame her for that at all.
That said, I usually have a blast at NYCC because I try to avoid "working" there as much as possible. Without a schedule to keep or an obligation to stay put, I can wander as much or as little as I like, and with almost all of my friends attending, it's sort of like a three day party/hangout. I do dislike commuting to a con because it feels less like an escape from real life, which I get to enjoy at cons outside of NY.
Speaking of the commute, the crosstown M34 bus often still has seats when it hits Herald Square, but then I get to the con around 1-2pm. It may be more crowded earlier. I think the con also ran a shuttle bus last year, but I didn't see one this year.
I agree with you on all parts, I have only tried to go to NYCC or NYAF over the years just to try to catch visiting friends, other wise I would not have gone at all for the same reason. Nor would I ever table at either show. Which is a shame, but the javits center is just to terrible a location. it defeats the purpose of being in NY
I've been going since this con opened and I agree with all of this. Dumbrella was lucky enough this year to be placed right near a bathroom - and right near an entrance - but it was still a struggle to inch through the crowd every time. The cosplayer photography is kind of out of hand! Not to mention all the crowding big booths do with their obnoxious promotion.
Part of what kills me about NYCC is the unpredictability. We get moved around every year so we don't have a routine for dealing with everything. We don't know any of our neighbors and somebody is always annoying. The lobby is crowded with confused people. It's still new and I know big shows are a bitch to manage, but some consistency would go a long way for exhibitors, guests, authors... People who are there to work. :|