Going to New York Comic Con? Hoping to see some panels and screenings? If so, here’s some advice to help you navigate everything from the schedule and the lines to the crowds.
I know this sounds like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many people I saw just wandering around asking people what was going on in a room or what was coming up next. Now I’m all for leaving some time to fly by the seat of your pants, but if you seriously want to see something you need to know in advance when it is and where it’s taking place. This is especially true if there’s more than one thing you’d like to see or do.
The official schedule is usually posted about a month before the event, check it out. I even recommend periodically checking back since they usually add more events as the weekend approaches. A NYCC app is also available to help you plan your time. I’ve heard good things about it, but it’s never seemed to work on my phone so I stick to the old fashion method of grabbing an official guide book once I get into the Javits center. They are free and you never have to worry about battery life.
In this plan of yours, don’t try to do too much. You’re going to be standing in line a good portion of the day so doing eight things in one day just isn’t reasonable. For reference, I managed to see three panels a day this past year at New York Comic Con and I was there from the time the doors opened to about 7pm each day (and I barely stepped foot on the showroom floor).
You can bring food and drinks into the Javits Center and I highly recommend doing so. While there is a food court and a lot of it looked pretty good, like everything else the lines were insane. Save time and money and bring your own provisions. There’s even water fountains that you can use to refill your own water bottle.
Doors open at 10am, and what that means is they let us loose on the con at 10am. Around 8am or so they typically seem to start letting us into the building to enter the queue hall. This is where you want to be if you want to get a wristband for a main stage panel or be first in line to get to the showroom floor. I was there before 8am both mornings this year and managed to get a wristband both days, but a lot of people were in line before me.
Being early extends beyond just showing up in the morning. For any panel not being held on the mainstage you need to be present prior to the start time. Since there’s no room clearing I suggest being there at least one panel in advance, maybe more depending on how popular it is or how much fan overlap there is between the two. For instance, if you have two Marvel panels in a row, it’s likely that a majority of people will stay in the room for both.
Unless the thing you want to see is supremely niche, chances are you cannot just show up at the start time and get it. Overall, just be patient and flexible, most things are worth the wait.
You know what you can do with all that time spent in lines? Talk to people. Chances are if you’re waiting in line for the same thing, the other people around you share your level of enthusiasm for that thing. This past NYCC was my first one flying solo and I had a great time. I talked to a lot of cool people in line and in the panel rooms. I even chatted with the con staff.
In one of the morning lines someone actually thought I came with the person I was talking to, in reality I’d only met her like 15mins earlier, it’s just that easy to make ‘con friends’.
Don’t be afraid to ask fellow con-goers or NYCC volunteers questions either. Whether you’re looking for something, need help finding a room, or simply don’t know what people are standing in line for just ask. It’s really that simple.
This is another obvious one, but NYCC can be a bit stressful. From the large crowds to the long days to even longer lines it’s easy to get in a bit of a panic about making it into a panel or getting your hands on an exclusive item. But the weekend is suppose to be fun and keeping that in mind can make all the difference. Just go with the flow and make sure you leave yourself time to just wander around and take in all that the con has to offer. I promise you’ll stumble upon something really cool. By the same token know that you will miss out on some things, be okay with that. You can’t do everything, and that’s okay.
For all my fellow female con-goers, from my experience, the line for the women’s bathroom is shortest in Artist Alley.