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My Declassified NYCC Survival Guide

Well, it’s getting to be that magical time of year in the city again where people from all over come in droves to take a break from the ordinary wearing their best masks, capes and cowls. No, I’m not talking about Halloween, I’m talking about our annual New York Comic Con! And whether it’s your first time or fifteenth time, the experience can be overwhelming. So before embarking on your quest to let your inner fangirl run wild, here are some guidelines to have the most fun possible.

1) Bring lots of cash, because you WILL be spending it on t-shirts, action figures, comics, or other collectables. The price of food alone is ridiculous (more on that later). Keep in mind that many vendors don’t accept debit or credit cards. If you plan on buying the more expensive items, go on the last day because vendors are more willing to cut prices. You might also have to pay for autographs and photo opts, depending on the person. Usually the more famous the guest, the higher the price (and waiting time), so choose wisely.

2) If there’s a popular screening, panel, or con exclusive you really want to get in and actually be able to see what’s going on, get on line early and stay there because it can fill up quick. TV panels are especially crowded and tend to waste most of the day. When in doubt on which events to attend, pick the ones where free stuff is provided, because free stuff.

3) Wash your hands and bring hand sanitizer. Con flu is not fun.

4) Going on a Friday or Saturday? Then good luck getting a table in the food courts before 6PM. And that’s after waiting on line for half an hour and paying $20 for food you could’ve just brought from home anyway. If that’s not possible, there are always a few food trucks parked right outside: the lines are shorter and the prices aren’t as steep. You can also find vending machines and pretzel stands around. At the very least, have some snacks and a bottle of water handy. Trust me, you’ll need the energy.

5) If you’re going with a group, pick somewhere for everyone to meet up outside the convention and go in together. Then establish a home base in the building in case anyone in the group gets lost in the chaos. If you all need to call or text each other, make sure your phones are on high volume or vibrate. Javits Center can seem like a maze to first timers, and you don’t want to waste precious time looking for your friends when you could be enjoying the convention.

6) Maximize your time. Look up events and panels ahead of schedule. The NYCC website will usually keep updating who and what will be there until the week of said convention. Have a planned itinerary of what you’re going to do when you get there and again, if you’re going with friends, make sure everyone’s on board with it. Even one person that doesn’t want to do something can bring the whole group down.

7) New York Comic Con comes just once a year, and there’s so much to see. You’ll want to take lots of photos, but remember to always ask permission before taking pictures of cosplayers. It’s just common courtesy. And for the love of God, don’t touch any of them without permission either (though that should go for everybody).

8) Wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a copious amount of walking, not to mention the hours you’ll endure standing in line. I don’t care if the character you’re cosplaying as wears high heels or platforms or what have you, it’s not worth the accuracy if you’re just going to be in pain all day. Most importantly, just like anywhere else in the city, if you need to stop for whatever reason…GET OUTTA THE WAY.

Honestly though, the most important tip I can probably give on Comic Con is to expect some disappointments. Even if you follow all the other tips down to the letter, you won’t get to do everything you want to in one day (or four) and not everything will go according to plan, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the experience.

So what’s in your NYCC survival guide? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

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