Despite living in Manhattan and DC for 12 years of my life, crowds have always made me nervous. Specifically being trapped in giant crowds of shuffling people who are brushing up against me and stepping on me.
Which is pretty much a constant at NY Comic Con.
So how did I go and have a great time?
- Plan Ahead
I read the emails from NY Comic Con and followed their advice on prepping. I brought my own food to avoid the crazy food lines (which snaked all over and looked to be an hour each). I brought water to stay hydrated. I downloaded the NY Comic Con app and planned out a possible itinerary. I dressed in what was comfy for me. The temperature inside ranged from cool to warm so layers are key.
2. Bring a Friend
My buddy Ant met me on 10th and 38th and we walked in together. It’s always easier to face a crowd with a wingman. It’s also less overwhelming when you’ve got a buddy to consult with and help navigate three stories of crowds.
3. Select Panels That Fit Your Interests and Your Personality
To avoid constant crowds and long waits, I picked the writing panels which tend to be less crowded at comic cons and are also where my interests lie. Win-win. Sitting inside the panels is also a great break from the crowds.
This panel was about creating story in comic books. What was most fascinating was how much of it translated to novel writing (for me) and play writing (for Ant).
My favorite take aways?
*Start close on purpose to create unease.
*180 rule switch angle in comic is jarring to reader. Avoid interruption. Engage in stream of consciousness storytelling and don’t knock them out of it.
We even got a free comic book from Valiant and it’s gorgeous!
*I know that’s ghosts aren’t real, but the ghosts are in my brain.
*Horror confirms secret truths.
*I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of what’s in the dark.
*I have a fear of bad situation with no good choices.
4. Get The Lay of the Land
Give yourself time to figure out where the panels you want to get to are and where everything is. It’s a little disorienting at first. So arrive with an hour before anything you are dying to do. Keep in mind there are always lines for the ladies’ room, especially when people are in costume.
5. Budget Lots of Time to Get Around
Everyone shuffles around because there is so much to do and see. There are people in cosplay posing and taking pictures. There are lines and freebies. It’s like a casino on crack.
Between panels, we wandered around the exhibit hall area. It was amazing and intense and massive. I got a few free books from Del Rey. Woohoo!
Main Entry Level
Then we checked out Artist’s Alley.
6. Be Nice
I said excuse me and sorry more in one day than I do in a month. Why? Because it lets people know I had no intention of bumping or stepping on them and also reminds me that as many times as I get bumped I’m bumping someone else. Being nice makes it easier on everyone.
I even gave a girl a tampon in the bathroom. Because no one should have to use those horrible machine ones.
7. Have an Exit Strategy That Fits You
I knew I couldn’t last more than 6-8 hours there, so I planned my arrival time accordingly and also had potential panels only for that time frame.
8. Schedule Time to Decompress Afterwards
All the people and noise get me really wound up. I needed time with close friends to decompress. Ant and I met up with Brett in Chinatown for dimsum. We’ve known each other decades so it was the perfect way to end the day.
Lychee martinis for all of us. Steamed pork buns, steamed shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf.
This is the hardest dish to get in Chinatown at dinner time. For years, Brett and I would order it and be told, “Sorry, we sold out.” We ordered two servings! It’s shrimp wrapped in a gelatinous rice noodle. Num num.
After dinner, we of course needed dessert.
So we headed to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I got Pandan–my favorite. Ant got Chocolate Oreo. Brett tried Durian. It starts out tasting bitter and then the scent of garbage fills your mouth. I’m not kidding, I tried it.
Worst dessert ever!
After a few bites Brett gave up on it and tossed it.
Then we went in search of a palate cleanser. None of the Chinatown bakeries were open. We ended up at Ferrara’s in Little Italy.
As Brett savored his cream puff, I decided I didn’t want our food crawl to end and we went in search of bubble tea something I hadn’t had in a decade!
Brett and I shared Taro Milk Tea at ChaTime. Ant just came along for the excitement.
Here’s all my goodies from NY Comic Con. So that book in the middle was the best surprise ever–Stephenie Meyer was there on Thursday and the bookstore was still selling signed copies of her 10th Anniversary Edition of Twilight. Squee! I got a signed copy.
Twilight was one of my favorite series and taught me so much about writing a compelling story. I never thought I’d have a signed copy of her book. Thanks NY Comic Con!