This was my first Winter Con and my initial concern was that it was in the middle of nowhere, sort of. It’s pretty deep in Queens and I never been at that area. I did look up the location, and it is located in a casino. Next was trying to figure out HOW to get there.
Unlike the MTA, the casino’s shuttle bus service does not have proper signage at their stops, so I had a difficult time figuring out where I should actually wait for this bus. Luckily, before the day of the con, I spotted a casino bus and ask the driver where I should wait for the bus tomorrow. So on the day of, I waited 10 minutes prior to where I was supposed to stand.
Ladies and Gentlemen…On Saturday, I was in cosplay standing outside of Grand Central with a 6 foot tall prop; great spot to be in costume amongst tourists, suits and security. The ride wasn’t terrible but my friend who took the train there…SOMEHOW…beat me to it! He already walked around the whole con! I got off the bus and followed everyone else’s path to enter the con. Unfortunately, we were walking the wrong way, so we had to turn back. On Sunday, I learned my lesson and took the train, but I was not in cosplay and knew which way to go.
Since this is my first WinterCon, I didn’t know what floor to go to. There weren’t any directional signs at the lobby nor was there someone standing there to guide us. I, like everyone else, followed the up escalator and a random elevator until we encountered someone who told us to go to the 3rd floor I think. I don’t think there was a guide on Sunday either to direct attendees to the correct floor.
As I entered the correct floor, there was already a line of people trying to get in with staff members ready to scan our QR code print out. Now here’s the thing with the ticket print out, I brought a weekend pass, but the print out didn’t include the dates for the whole weekend. It printed out as if it was a day pass. However, at least the QR Code showed up as a weekend pass. I received a wrist band, the one where you tape it over someone’s wrist, and went through a metal detector. There was no bag check, so I walked around carrying my backbag…plus a 6 foot tall sword! If you were wondering, I had to reuse the same wrist band I received on Saturday for Sunday. Some people kept it on their wrist until the next day, but I was able to slide mines off. I rather not wear it in the shower. :P
Everything from dealers to artists to celebrities was all on one floor. It was a quick and easy browse. When I walked in, it was mostly dealers like retail shops. As you walked further, you encountered many artists promoting and selling their work. Following this more or less in the middle of the room was the stage area that held panels and performances. Also in front of the stage area, there was another curtain and in front of that was another entrance into the event. Next in the last space of this floor were the guests of the show such as Neal Adams, Nakajima, Yaya Han and Austin Saint Johns. Also, there was food and other dealers in this spot. Let’s not forget that the restrooms were on this floor too.
Just like any convention, some of us attendees browse, shopped, attended panels and shows, and met and greeted artists and favorite guests. That was pretty much what I did. Then as the day went by you got hungry and thank goodness there was a food court on site! Only one problem...if you brought your children, you were told to not enter. Yes, you couldn’t enter the FOOD COURT. Casino, I can understand, because of the gambling age, but the FOOD court? Where were the attendees going to feed their children?! The convention designated Sunday as Kids Day, so kids would come. They needed food too, so there should be an exception.
Overall, I was pretty comfortable with the convention. It was small, but provided a variety of things for the attendees. Personally, I wanted to see more vendors cater towards the anime and manga fans, but that was up to such vendor to submit an application. Spacing was walkable and the layout for where everything was placed on the floor was pretty organized. I will most likely make a return to the convention for a day.
© 2016 Linda Thai
Photography by Linda Thai
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