After 10 years of attending NYCC, we’ve seen the Manhattan-based convention grow exponentially in popularity and most especially in attendance. Unfortunately, that is what we have also seen foster in other long time con attendees of NY Comic Con… the growing resentment with the fact that, as large as the Javits Convention Center is, it has simply become too crowded over the years.
While most popular “big” anime, game and geek-related conventions in the USA average about 30,000 attendees in size, the difference of the experience when attending gigantic cons like New York Comic Con with nearly 200,000 attendance is immediately noticeable.
The densely populated floors and showrooms severely limits time and space for anyone trying to enjoy the usual “con-experience”.
Imagine being dazzled by the bright lights and larger than life exhibits of entertainment product company booths (seldom related to comics) competing for your attention only to have just a few milliseconds to stop and look because the tidal wave of people pressing shoulder to shoulder next to you is moving with its own unstoppable current and you can begin to understand why it becomes difficult to do pretty much everything else, such as asking Cosplayers to stop for a photo or video, or let alone be the actual Cosplayer.
This overcrowding has also been a tremendous problem for anyone interested in attending panels they are interested in. The sheer volume of people competing to line up demands that you sacrifice a good amount of time just to have a shot at making it at the end of the line.
Kind of like lining up for your one favorite roller coaster, knowing full well you will only have time two other rides if you’re lucky by the day’s end.
Still. People find ways to enjoy this extensively packed community gathering of nerds. For those of us in the Press Industry, adapting to high-pressure situations is not a new trend. Networking is hardly done at the allocated “Press Lounge” area, but is instead proliferated in after-Con parties where we have a much higher chance at meeting random celebrities inside a more relaxed atmosphere.
Judging from the dozens of non-NYCC sanctioned Meetups and private parties that were organized outside the Javits Center, it’s very obvious the Press aren’t the only ones adapting with this idea.
While this may sound discouraging, attending NY Comic Con still has plenty going for it that makes it worth trudging through its populated difficulties. The show floors feel like an amusement park where current and upcoming shows, games, and products are there for you to see first hand before anyone else.
The Artist Alley most notably expanded as well, or perhaps they just found a way to cram smaller booth tables in the allocated space because it seemed as though there were a ton more exhibiting their works there.
Lastly, no doubt due to it reaching maximum capacity of attendees, people who left the Javits Center for a quick bite outside after 8PM (some even reported as early as 7PM) were no longer allowed to go back in.
Which is also the same time as when the show floors closed Thusrday-Saturday. With the exception of some panels still going on, the convention was already considered over for the day.
We have been attending NY Comic Con for a long time and would still love to recommend people to attend it, especially if you have never before just to experience a convention unlike any other. However, for veteran NY Comic Con-goers, the thrill and excitement of attending next year again is going to be strictly for the joy of meeting up with friends and networking for professionals more than what the convention offers itself.