Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some Post NYCC Thoughts.....

NYCC. Was. Crazy.

I'm not sure what else to say other than that. I've gotten some more retailer numbers back and the total attendance number is now pushing 96,000. First and foremost I want to thank everyone who came to the show; all of the fans, the exhibitors, the amazing guests, the speakers, everyone. You were part of something pretty monumental this weekend.

New York Comic Con took a huge step forward in cementing itself as a can't miss international event this weekend and we also took some steps backward as well and I'll get to those shortly. This was a year of questions for us on NYCC, with 18 months between shows we simply did not know how the community would react. Combining NYAF and NYCC was a totally new wrinkle for us. Moving to permanent dates in October created a totally different profile for the con. The construction going on at the Javits Center was an unknown. In a sense, a very different team was working on the show as we created and launched ReedPOP along with 6 new events since we last had a NYCC. In short, the landscape, the show and the very group I helm were all quite different. However, the reaction was intense. 96,000 people. A nearly 20% jump in attendance. Wow. Thank you.

Now what we need to work on. I know there is a lot, there always is. I also know many of you will post comments on additional things we did not get right. I appreciate the feedback, all of it. Please know, as a general rule; we know we are not perfect as a team, we do not promise perfection, but we do promise to always listen and always improve. The fact remains that NYCC has grown so fast in 5 years, that we seem to always be playing catch up with the growth. Every year we have had a totally different space at the Javits, which means every year trying to learn from the previous year, yet craft a largely brand new plan. These are not excuses, but rather the reality of the undertaking the team faces. Our goal is happy fans, and I know not everyone was happy this year so once again, or commitment is to always, always improve and the first step in doing that is acknowledging where we fell short of your expectations.

Saturday was too crowded. No doubt. This crowding sometimes created confusion as we tried to move people into the building and create an organized system to get that many people into the con. I spoke with Milton Griepp from ICV2 on Sunday night and explained to him the inexact science of coming up with a capacity number. It truly is a moving target and a best guess, here is what I told ICV2:

We asked Fensterman what the maximum capacity of the con is at the current number of days. “That’s tricky to say because they don’t give you a number,” he said. “It’s essentially how it feels. So public safety simply looks at the show floor and if there’s too many people on it, they shut you down. It’s that subjective. So everything we do we have to do is by how many people could be in the building at any given time, because we don’t know how many people are in the building. We know how many tickets we’ve sold, we know how many exhibitor passes are out there, we know how many pro passes are out there. But we don’t know how many of them are going to show up at any one time. So we have to peg it to what we think is the top number that could be in the building at any one time based on the space we have. It’s an inexact science.”

Would I have cut off ticket sales a couple thousand earlier if I had Saturday to do again? Yes. For the future, we will need to determine how best to use additional space at the Javits. For us to grow further, create even more 20 foot wide aisles (perhaps a few 30 footers as well) we will likely need to expand the show floor to multiple levels of the building. This year, due to the construction, the space above the show floor (it's called the Galleria and River Pavilion) was not available. I see that space, or perhaps a hall downstairs as the best options to assure we have all the space we need for the show floor.

The lines to pick up your badge if you purchased online were too long, they moved quite fast, but we can still do a better job on this. An idea might be extending the deadline to get your tickets mailed to you. Another is better signage outside the building so fans know exactly where to go. Yet another is handheld scanner for the staff to work the lines.

I got feedback that staff and volunteers were not knowledgeable enough and did not provide good direction. We can ALWAYS do better in this area. Always. ReedPOP is a team of about 20, so we bring lots of additional staffers from Reed Exhibitions events, and they are amazing people, but do not know the show as well as we do. We will work to better orientate them. We also plan to hire additional security (we had about 100 at any given time in uniform and plain clothes) and additional temp staffers. Keep in mind, that as crowds began to form (Saturday was most chaotic as a vast majority of fans arrived in large bunches between 10:30 and 11:30) we have to change plans on the fly to do our best to keep a semblance of organization, this creates challenges in communicating those changes to 500 security, staff and volunteers. We need to improve our communication across all those folks on site.

I've heard from a number of Anime fans that they felt NYAF got pushed to the side and that's disappointing. We plan to do some meet up's with the Otaku to discuss how we can improve this in the future. I will say this, we had nearly the same number of Anime panels and screenings as we did at any NYAF, the same amount of space committed to panels and screenings and exhibitors from previous NYAF's were consulted with about having a separate show floor for Anime vendors, besides the artists (who we accommodated with a separate Artist Alley) they did not want a separate space. That said, we do know we can do better to create the environment the Otaku really wants and we'll be asking for your help on just how we can do that.

I share all these thoughts with you in an effort to show you that we care about always improving and we do listen to all of you. On balance (and I fear some of you may insist otherwise) I think NYCC/NYAF made tremendous strides forward as being a can't miss event on a national and international level this year and I'm proud of the amazingly hard work the team put in to create it for you. Will we work hard for the next 12 months to learn from our shortcomings this year and get even better? You are god damn right we will. We build this show for you. Our motto is Fans First. Always. And I promise we'll put you first as we craft plans for 2011.

Thanks again for making NYCC something special, even if not perfect.

No rest for me, I'm in Europe on business for the rest of this week, so if I'm slow to reply to emails or comments posted here, that's why, but know I am reading them.



Rich said...

Lance - it was generally a pretty well organized show, I felt. I was there all three days and it seemed to run smoothly from my perspective.

That said, the floor was a bit manic on all days but esp Sat and Sunday - we decided not to bring our child on Sunday as we thought it would be too crowded, and I'm glad we didn't.

The only comment I would make isn't even an organizational one, more a related to panels and media. It seemed like the IGN was under-utilized with some big downtime, and many of the panels that were in there were ones which weren't in previous years (such as Robot Chicken). Not sure if the reduction in TV and film presence is a result of the date shift because many shows are actually in production, but it was something that a few people commented to me on.

Then again, it at least prevented the show being overrun by people not really there for comics, like San Diego, I guess.

Anyway, great show. You and the team should be pretty proud.

Mel said...

This was our first time at NYCC, dipping our toes in the East coast waters after 3 years at SDCC and a trip to Wonder Con. It surprised me that people were getting cranky about the crowds considering the complete lack of personal space at SDCC, so I assumed you were experiencing some growing pains. We just hunkered down and got where we needed to go.

We were there with press passes and were pleasantly surprised to find areas cordoned off for us in the panels. The staff were all friendly and helpful, although we encountered a couple who gave vague or incorrect information. Minor glitches in an otherwise positive experience.

Steve said...

I thought the show was great overall. YES, it was crowded on Saturday, but that is to be expected from any convention.

My only complaint comes from Sunday. The 12:00 Romita Sr + Jr signing in Autograph Alley. These are your KEYSTONE GUESTS and they did not show up! That is unacceptable. It should be Reed's responsibility to get them there on time. I wouldn't care if it was just someone in Artist's Alley, but they were advertised as 2 of your top 3 guests. I wasted 2 hours of my time in line, and your staff was giving out false info just to keep fans calm. I would have been really pissed if I only had a 1-day pass. Luckily I was there for all 3 days.

However, that was just a minor annoyance and I am already counting the days until next year!

Kev said...

It's impressive how big NYCC has gotten in just a few years (I've been to 4 out of 5 now). But, this year was probably the most frustrating after what I felt were pretty good 2008 and 2009 shows. As you admitted, this year's show was definitely too crowded and there were just too many choke points and areas of gridlock. The density of the crowd really made it hard to enjoy the show floor. And for me, it showed by how little I spent at the retailer booths because it was too suffocating to actually try to do any browsing.

In terms of the show being an all around pop culture show - the move to October is a mixed bag. The previous shows seemed to have taken advantage of the film studios' promotion of upcoming summer films because the 'cons were in the winter. Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't seem to see as much of that kind of coverage this year. And with the crowding I lost any desire to try to find out. I attended quite a few panels the past 2 shows (anime, comics, video games, film, tv), but this year - zero.

I had purchased a VIP pass to last year's show and it felt like a decent value with store discounts (which I took advantage of) and swag. I didn't purchase one this year because there seemed to be less offered. Last year, the lounge was a boon as a place to store my coat, all the swag acquired, and things I had bought. This year, not so much.

Regardless, I'm still looking forward to next year's show. I hope you can improve with this year's experiences behind you and see you guys next year.

Anonymous said...

I guess i'm just good at shoving people out of my way, cuz the crowding didn't bother me at all. I've been attending these shows since #2, and this year was worth the wait. I mostly do comic stuff though, so I guess I'm not really sympathetic to the plight of the anime and entertainment crowd.

Connor said...

It was a good convention, and we're all surprised at how much you won.

But a few complaints/suggestions that I hope can be looked into:

1. The crowd needed to be better controlled, specifically upstairs. Maybe putting a variant stage of some sort in that empty hall that was used only for a line ("queue-con" as it's coming to be known) could disperse some of the crowd?

2. Hetalia could have filled the AA theatre and possibly the IGN theatre, it is arguably the most popular anime you were showing. Having it in the teeny tiny panel room was disappointing for me, as well as a slew of hetalia cosplayers in line behind me.

3. Perhaps having a dedicated anime section of the show, similar to the Cultyard. Even putting it near the Cultyard could be wise, as those products appeal to many Otaku.

4. The AMV line on saturday. Holy unorganized line, Batman! Firstly, the AMV screening could have filled the IGN theatre, but that wasn't my main beef with it. My problem was with the line. "Is this the line for AMVs?" "-yes" "Where's the line for Kanon?" "-this is it" LOLwut? Besides that, it was just a terrible line. Once the doors opened it became a mad dash to the door.

5. Can someone tell me why I had to wait in "queue-con?" It didn't seem to serve a purpose other than getting our con bags. Which leads me to:

6. Find a better way to hand out bags.

7. Javits Center North. Think about that for next year.

That's all. It was an extremely enjoyable con, don't get me wrong, I just wished those few things went smoother. :D



Loved the show...

Crowd was an issue....

Quick fix to that would be....

SEPARATE THE TWO SHOWS! There is no reason to have the Anime show attached to NYCC. The Anime people felt jilted like they were a step-kid and the NYCC folks looked at them with disdain & ridicule. Even the professionals who were in Artist's Alley that had to listen to the mess that was on stage next to them cringed....

I have enjoyed how NYCC has grown (been there since #1), but these two groups really should not be together.....

Jon said...

I agree with Brunowilis. I'd really like to see the two events completely separated again. I am actually a fan of both NYCC and NY Anime Fest. When forced to choose between the two, I'll go to NYCC. Due to the number of activities at NYCC, I literally spent no time at the NY Anime Fest part of this weekend and I was there all 3 days. It was a great weekend, but I just wish I had been able to have done both.

yamiangie said...

ok I know that some anime fans feel like they were pushed off to the side but I liked that all our panels were isolated from the main floor and the comic con panel rooms. And all that space in the middle to walk straight to the panels in the back was great.

It's not really your problem that there seemed like less dealers with anime merchandise.

my issues were really with the way all the information was organized online. I felt that what ever thing you were using was awkward to use so i didn't plan ahead what i wanted to do.
So I think having more traditional panel grids and maps of the convention center online would help.

I did notice a little confusion Friday about where things were but it's a very big building.

dr5who said...

I also got burned by the Romitas on Sunday. The worst part was that I waited in line for 2 hours with my 6 year old son. It would have been nice to know earlier if they were going to cancel.

The crowdedness was hard to manage but was do able with patience and proper planning. I think it will be better once the construction is over and more space is available.

I purchased a VIP badge and like the lounge better this year. It is awesome that there is a place for me to put my luggage on Friday and Sunday. Just wish the VIPs could get on the floor when the professionals do on Friday. That would make the price of the VIP ticket worth it.

I was there for all 3 days and I had a blast. My son and I can't wait to attend next year. Here's to counting down the days till next years NYCC

Tom said...

Like the other people here have mentioned, I thought it NYCC was great this year but it was not without some problems.

Of course, the crazy traffic on the show floor on Saturday has already been mentioned, but think there were some places that were far easier to navigate than others. In particular, the aisles in the Cultyard area seemed way too narrow for the amount of people trying to get in, and it was a pain just trying to move. Once I visited that area of the floor once, I stayed away from it.

I think one of the bigger issues was not having big enough rooms for certain panels. I understand that part of this was completely out of ReedPop's control, but I also think they might have underestimated the crowd for certain events. In particular, I really think the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 panel should have been in the IGN Theater. By around twenty minutes before the panel started, the line covered so much of the floor that I literally could not see the end of it. The line wrapped around itself at least seven or eight times, so there's no way everyone that wanted to get in there got in. There really, really should have been a cutoff for the line so people would at least know that it was worth waiting for or not. Plus, while the Con staff tried their best to keep the line organized, they were clearly shocked by the volume of people and ended up being overwhelmed. The fact that the lines for the MvC3 panel were such a mess dissuaded me from trying to get into the Marvel Games panel the next day. I didn't go to the other panels, but Connor's experience with the Hetalia and AMV screenings definitely makes it sound like this sort of thing wasn't an isolated incident.

Other than that though, I was really happy with NYCC this year. Being a huge gaming nerd I was also impressed with the increased gaming presence, since there really aren't any good video game cons in the NYC area (PAX East is too far for me, sadly). Of course, I also enjoy comics too, so I had plenty to keep myself occupied.

Also, while there were parts of the show that were a bit unorganized, I think you guys did a solid job keeping everything together as best you could. I've been going to NYCC since the beginning, and the organization in this year's con compared to the first was vastly improved by leaps and bounds.

I'm not a huge anime guy personally, but I can understand why the NYAF people were a little annoyed. The comics/TV/gaming presence at NYCC definitely overshadowed the anime/manga stuff. I don't think ReedPop can separate the two shows though, simply because trying to reserve show space at the Javits is apparently a frustrating process. That's why this ended up taking 18 months instead of a year.

So, yeah. Despite my "constructive criticisms," I still really enjoyed NYCC this year. Definitely looking forward to the next one. Keep up the good work, guys.

Miguel said...

Is the 96K attendence figure for NYCC alone or for both NYCC and NYAFF? Because many seem to think having both cons together caused the bigger crowds this year. But if that's just the number for NYCC, then it won't really make much of difference in seperating them next year. Last year's number sfor NYCC was 77K and about 21k for NYAF.

Charlie said...

It was great to have the entire Javits Center without having to get lost and realizing you almost went into the Travel Show or the Diabetes Convention.

While you mentioned that NYAF and NYCC were combined, it didn't feel like that at all. More like it was just NYCC with anime panels and stuff. And while you say that it had the same number of panels and space, it looked like the anime panels grew with the fact Comic Con had the entire convention. I did like the fact that comic panels and anime panels were seperated.

The other thing that wasn't clear was that Comic Con's Artist Alley was entirely different than the NYAF's Artist Alley. I knew a few people who had booths for NYAF that were being directed to the show floor by staff, only to be yelled at by comic artists saying they were at their table. Even I didn't know you guys seperated the two.

I really do feel like you should have NYAF and NYCC as separate cons because in reality it felt like just one convention (not two).

Despite it all I am still going next year. I mean compared to other cons it was pretty well organized overall.

Ian said...

Loved the show this year, Lance, even though I was only able to attedn on Friday and Saturday. I felt the combination of NYAF and NYCC was handled well, although I do understand the frustration from Anime fans on feeling segregated. Tat will happen when their Artist Alley and panels are on one side of the bottom level, while NYCC's panels are on the completely opposite side of the hall. This really cannot be avoided due to the current layout of the Javits, but I'm sure you'll figure something out.

I actually enjoyed the isolation of the panels, mainly because there was very little outside noise to deal with. Perhaps the utilization of Hall B as an Anime hall would be the ultimate equalizer for next year?

Due to the overwhelming size of the con this year, this was the first time I attended less than five panels. Not that there wasn't a wealth of panels to attend, but I needed to manage my time accordingly and the floor won out. I am thrilled that media has yet to take over NYCC like it had San Diego, as New York Comic Con continues to be, at its core, a comic book convention. Even when media panels occur, they usually tie into comic book's second cousins, animation and sci-fi.

Still, I see only one way to make the floor more manageable, and to make retailers happy who believe they are missing out of sales during Friday's professional hours: move the format to a four day con, beginning on Thusday and ending on Sunday. Similar to SDCC, make Thursday available to professionals and press for the first few hours of the day, followed by four day pass holders for three or four hours after that. If it it feasible to work this out with the Javits, I believe this would be beneficial to everyone involved.

Once again, terrific job with the expansion in 2010, and I cannot wait to see how you folks handle 2011.

Wallin said...

I'm going to start off with my biggest gripes so that it gets some attention...

My first complaint is that the staff generally didn't seem to know what was going on or even care.

I was a VIP member for buying a Chihara ticket, and I must say, I did NOT feel very safe keeping my stuff in the VIP room. The staff in there would just wave anyone through who was holding a ticket and not watch them, wouldn't even check if the ticket number matched the bags people rummaged through. I'm sure I could've gone back there and switched the ticket number on every item, moved items between bags, and they wouldn't have noticed... fortunately it seems every VIP was pretty honest since I never heard any complaints, and my own bag was never touched, but that was pretty sloppy to me. They only cared about the tickets when you removed a bag from the area, but I don’t even know if they looked at the numbers, and if they did, I’m sure I could’ve easily switched the tags as I said before.

After the Minori concert, which got out late, the VIP room monitors didn’t even care… they just wanted to leave. They told us (nicely) to get our stuff and go. Granted, I understand that it was late, but they didn’t even look at my ticket number that night, and didn’t even collect the one I had or the one on my bag from me… I tossed them both out when I got back to my hotel room.

Now, my biggest gripe... the one thing that pissed me off at the con was getting thrown out for Crispin Freeman's autograph. I'm almost positive I was one of the first 50 people in line - I was around the first corner from the Bandai booth - and yet there was barely any organization and no security until 10 minutes before the signing, at which point there were at least 300 people in line, and I was somehow pushed back to being around 150... and of course, they capped it at 100.

About 30 minutes before the signing, they moved everyone in the middle of the floor, between the booth and the corner wall... we were surrounded by people coming from six different directions, no one knew where the new line started or ended, and we went from facing the booth to facing the exit in the corner. They had a single booth rep standing at the "back" of the line in the hall outside of the vendor area with a tiny sign, people who were already sitting by the wall jumped in where ever they felt like it, other people kept walking through the middle of line... it was done extremely poorly. And then I found out that somehow that the people standing in the aisle near the booth (including myself) were in the middle of the line, rather than the front of the line, as the security guard who showed up 10 minutes before it started counted people standing by the bathroom wall, and literally and rudely told the rest of us to "go away and find something better to do." I couldn't even wait around just to cheer him on.

I was not pleased after that. I was even more upset since I left the con in the middle of the morning because I forgot to bring what I wanted Crispin to autograph, and ran 12 blocks back to my hotel room for it.

Luckily, the Minori Chihara concert and Masquerade made up for it.

I don't know if it's Bandai's fault or the con's, but I wish Stephanie, Cripsin, and Cristina had done signatures in the autograph alley. It worked to my advantage, but I don't think Stephanie didn't even get more than 20 people on the first day because it wasn't very well advertised... again, great for me, I got two items signed at once and didn't think twice about it. After Crispin though (I guess he got more attention for being who he is, and also because he had a panel there), I didn't bother trying to going near the booth for Cristina and Stephanie on Sunday.

Wallin said...

Continuing on - as you said, the con was WAY too crowded... like, draining and "I want to go home" crowded. The far right wall (as if you were facing the entrance side of the building) where there were several anime vendors, sword vendors, etc. was one hot spot for traffic. The artist alley downstairs on the far left was also really bad.

After talking to people in the artist alley on the first day, many of them I think felt ripped off that they had been cast aside to some unknown and unadvertised location, although if you went to the shows in the 1E rooms, you would see them, so when I talked to some on Sunday they said it went better than they thought.

I didn't see Square-Enix because the line was apparently WAY too long... I'm not even sure where it started or ended, I just know a nice staffer at the door pointed in a general direction and said they were at the limit... I was used to this after Crispin, but there were other lines that were just insane, and I don't even know what they were for.

Less money for you guys, but yeah, if you can cap the tickets lower, that would've been so much better. When I went back to my hotel room to get my autograph item, I was almost frightened coming back to see thousands of people still walking down the sidewalk headed toward the center and people waiting to get in through the doors, and that was at 12:30 so the con had already been going for over 2 hours.

The concert was great, so was the masquerade show. I know one table of artists that got tired because the alley was open until 10, but that was perfect for me since I was so busy on the show floor until 7, so the 3 extra hours I got on Friday to browse was very nice.

I've never been to the San Diego comic con, or any other massive con bigger than NYAF until this year, but it was pretty intense. I felt like I never had enough time, but it was still a great experience over all.

This is purely personal - I can't really say the addition of the comic book vendors or the extra company booths like Ubisoft was a bad thing, but they didn't really do anything for me either. But that's to be expected from merging with COMIC con, so it is what it is. :) It was nice in the massive room of people that there were attractions and tables I didn't need to see, LOL. I think it also brought in more comic cosplayers, so that was good.

I've been to NYAF twice before, and now the NYCCC/NYAF this year... early on Saturday I honestly asked myself if I would want to go next year since it was so crowded, but I still had a great time overall. Just lower the number of people, clean up the lines for things, and improve the staff a little... that'll make it a perfect event for me.

Michael said...

Lance, I'll send you a more detailed message via email later (my writeup is just too big for a blog comment right now), but I thought that a paragraph or two clipped from it are relevant to the current discussion.

I also was a person who was burned by the non-appearance of the Romitas for their noon signing on Sunday. John Jr. said later that day that they were never told about that event until 12:40pm, which was far too late for them to make it to the Javits in time. To my mind, anyone designated as a Guest of Honor really should have someone managing them the whole weekend not only to aid them in meeting their schedule, but to handle any extra needs that they may have. I was rather surprised that this did not seem to happen for these wonderful guys. Second-hand reports said that some ugly moments happened when John and John were at the Marvel booth later that day (mainly between Marvel booth staff and volunteers attempting to keep fans happy by trying to assure them autographs).

And while I personally had no interest in attending any of the NYAF events, I did feel that the energy from fans of that genre made the convention as a whole more vibrant and fun. Still, the merger did probably contribute to the overcrowding on Friday and Saturday. It is hard to say what would be the best way to address that problem without splitting the cons again, but perhaps moving some bigger draw events from Saturday to Sunday or Friday afternoon might help balance things out.

Overall, most things were done right and well this year. Still, as you say Lance, room for improvement remains. I plan to experience those improvements in 2011 as I certainly had fun in 2010 despite some rough moments.

Anonymous said...

Please please please do not listen to any of the people complaining about the queue room. They must not have been there for the first couple of years of standing out in the cold for hours on end waiting for the show to open. I love queue-con.

jeanebellini said...

geez, i forgot about this and have been posting over on the site.

Lance,i think we can all agree that you work really hard on all these cons throughout the year. I don't want to put any of these problems on your shoulders.
I've been going to the con since the very beginning (in fact, that was the first con i'd ever been to).
I remember the crowd from that first year. But this year was something else...really scarey. I spent Sat being pushed or pushing through crowds and spent not a penny that day. (I went home and made a list of what i HAD to see and get on Sun and i ran to those booths as soon as i got onto the main floor).

I might be in the minority,but i actually liked having the anime folks there. though,like others, believe it would be good to have it all in one space. I've never known much about anime and liked to learn more and see all the cosplay folks.
Mange was upstairs shoved almost to a corner? the arists were down stairs? give them some more space in an area closer together. I know there was a stage down in the anime artist alley..maybe there should have been two?

One thing that doesn't seem to be addressed in here is people getting in on Sat without passes. I've seen several posts about it and would like to hear about it from your end. Con urban myth or reality?

I didn't realize the forth floor was in construction....were there any other areas under construction? Cuz there were places on the first level that weren't used/had big roll down door closing them off.
And nothing was going on the street level. There always seemed to be a stage or two down there where the ST people did fighting scenes and the comedians did shows. A nice big carpeted off area with some chairs....it was a place i used to go to rest and get a laugh but it wasn't there!

Where were the Storm Troopers? They were always good to watch and they seemed to keep things a little more under control!

i'm going to do a break off here as well, want to say something and don't want it to get lost in the blog.

jeanebellini said...

okay...i might have this wrong but i seem to remember that you (Reed? Lance? whoever)put the word out earlier this year or last year for people to be on a panel or discussion group about the con?
I didn't think twice about it cuz i figured i wouldn't fit in (hey,i'm a chick who is (ahemmm...over 25+)and figured i'd just get laughed at).
But now i'm hoping you do something like that again. i'd really like to put my knowledge out there and hopefully help a bit. (I've worked as a volunteer at a booth at NYCC and have worked another comic artfest in NYC for 5 yrs).

If for nothing else here are a few thoughts...(I'll try to keep it to 'a few':) )

1)que-con? having the line up inside is a plus (yes,i was one of those who stood out in the cold for hours without a coat the first year).
Keep the line as one single line until it starts going into the second or third aisle.There's no reason to shmoosh people together before that. And please keep the line single going through the door to the escalator. Its just safer. (this year i was pushed so much the last three or four feet that i didn't even move my feet..i was just carried along).

2) train the volunteers. I don't know if the Red Shirts ('staff') are paid folks from Reed or regulaR volunteers. They seemed to have a better handle on things. But the Yellow Shirts just seem to wander around.I actually stopped and talked to some of them and found out they weren't trained at all. Just given a few minutes of what was where and that was it.
I'm not saying make them take classes...just give them a few hours training and make sure they have some knowledge before the doors open. Have them know what to do is someone gets ill,has a heart attack, or simple trips and falls! And, since there are so many small children there esp on Sun they need to know what a Code Adam is and how to deal with it.

3)strollers...this has been brought up in the site blog... i can understand that people need to bring the little kids and its safer to put them in a stroller than to have them running around the floor.(safer for the kid and safer for people walking around the floor)But those big strollers can take up the floor space of at least two or three people. How about making it manditory to only be able to use an umbrella stroller (ie the ones that are narrower,lighter and fold up to the size of a fat umbrella)

keep up the good work lance...i'm already saving up for my ticket for next year. in this economy its something that has to be done!

Myst400 said...

For me, it was just hard to find places. Also Anime stuff was stuffed all in the back with maybe only 2 rows while Comic had pretty much the whole floor. I know that my anime club from college was NOT happy, and if it's gonna be like this next year, pretty much everyone (around 37 students) are not going. What a waste of time. The lines for panels were confusing. 1 of my friends sat on the wrong side & got screwed over. Instead of once you got Comic panels/booths set up you DON'T go by who sent in their app. 1st & screw others over. And some INFO if people are there!! Like Stan Lee's events on Sat. Also the SHUTTLES were terrible... We only were able to use them ONCE... Then they never showed up... Very disappointed. I might as well save up & just go to AnimeNext in NJ instead cause this was a waste of time. I didn't even get to check out the chalk drawing this year, dealer's room, booth floors. The ONLY time I was buying stuff was just around the time everything was closing on Sunday. Very Sad, very sad.

jeanebellini said...

myst....did you find the anime artist and stage down stairs where the E panel rooms were? there was more anime than just the stuff over in the one side of the mail floor.it was just very hard to find. (i found it when i wised up and took the elevator instead of the broken escalators).

Lance,do you know what the deal was with the escalators? one was broken the entire three days, another broke down late on Sat or early on Sun.
On Sun when we were being yelled at to leave (I know the volunteers wanted to get home but the vendors were just starting to box things up and there were some of us who were trying to get things organized while we waited for the door crowds to clear) both escalators going down were broken!
Did they shut the escalators down on purpose or were that many broken all at once?

Jarod said...

My brother and I came all the way from Oklahoma just for the show and we had a blast. He came for the video game stuff, and I came for the comic book artists and writers. We both left very satisfied. He got to play the new DCUO game and I got to meet Joe Simon. How awesome is that?

The Artist Alley seemed hard to get around, and I think that it was mainly caused by people trying to get to the Autograph Area. You might want to consider moving that area farther away from Artist Alley for the next show. Perhaps even move it so a separate floor like they do in San Diego.

I think a lot of the crowding issues would be solved by adding a day or two to the show itself. Maybe even a Thursday-Sunday show with a Preview Night like San Diego? I think the fans would love it, the pros and exhibitors would make more money, and so would you guys.

Anonymous said...

The lowest point was asking one of the Red Shirt (official staff) people where certain panels or signings were only to be told "I don't know, somewhere this way?"
The absolute best was certain signings being capped off just when I found the room/area.

There was definitely too many people and the ongoing construction contributed to the lack of space.

Mixing NYCC and NYAF doesn't seem right as NYCC overpowers NYAF. I felt NYAF were the bastard children hidden in the basement. Hopefully next year they respectfully get their own floor.

Some suggestions:
Large informative signs posted everywhere: helps me understand where I am without having to go to only one congested info spot.

Train your volunteers or at least give them laminated schedules of panels and a proper map so they can help when there is no sign posted.

This one is directed to your marketing person: Why not get in touch with AXE or some other body deodorant company to sponsor the Con? Overcrowding and body odor do not mix.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I second Jarod's suggestion of a preview night. Definitely a cash cow and crowd pleaser.

Anonymous said...

Space was the biggest issuse. Not only was it a fire hazard but people especially fans who clash were intentionally trying to break other's props. Please give the anime fans and the comic fans diffrent entrances if possible. This way it will create the atmosphere of the two conventions and those who WANT to blend the others who reject either anime or comic will stay on thier side instead of bashing others who dont like what they like. I somone has to deal with this every year and for that Im thankful but if nyaf is still going to happen next year and you ARe going to attempt to blend it than please take this in consideration since ALOT of NYCC as well as NYAF were upset because of the violent vibe and animosty

Erika said...

If you wanted advice from an Otaku...

I won't suggest spliting the cons because obviously, there were strong reasons for merging them. I also understand that from a business stand point, comic fans made up a lot of the people attending, and therefore should be catered to. But, if you are advertising this as NYAF as well, it honestly needs more 'anime'.

For the venders you mentioned that didn't want to be seperated, I think they either didn't realize you were going to minimize their space so much, or they underestimated the amount of anime fans attending. The Artist Alley had the right idea, though placing them in the basement on the oposite side of the food court was not the wisest idea.

I found more or less that the anime fans and comic fans don't see eye to eye on everything. I'm not saying this to sound anti-comic, or otherwise, but we earned the title 'otakus' for a reason. Crazy cosplay. 'Glomping'. Random pictures. Common interests. The comic book fans did not seem pleased with our presence. Then again, for the most part, this wasn't a problem, all the anime fans when not in the dealer's section, were hanging in the hall ways of the basement together..

I think one of your acts, Uncle Yo said it best. He said the anime fans were crammed into the corner of the basement so that no one had to deal with us. I heard someone else compare us to the unwanted step child of comic con. More or less, that 'unwanted' feeling was what plagued my con experience.

Balancing out the con in some respect would be a HUGE improvement. I found that in most areas, crowding wasn't so bad. The cultyard section where Anime was located was awful though. You couldn't stop to look at anything because the crowd just pushed you along. Finding a much better proportion to the areas is a suggestion.

To point out something else, you mentioned that the panels and booths were the same amount as they were at the NYAF. I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that this was a reasonable size, because any people thought 'Hey! NYCC AND NYAF? For fifty bucks? Sweet!' attendance rose, and people who wouldn't have been inclined to head to animefest attended that section like they did comic con. It just wasn't a smart decision on your part.

I'm actually surprised the cwords didn't cause concern. You might have been teetering on the edge. I say this only because I think back to Otakon, when they had a fire drill. Had we have had a firedrill on Saturday, I believe that not only would many people be seriously hurt, but it could have gone farther then that. Especially with all the broken escalators, it would have become a stampede.

Over all I had fun, but it was the people I met there that made it enjoyable. Had you set up a bunch of the people from the con in a park and left us to ourselves, I would have had just as much fun, which sadly says something. Check cosplay.com also, there's an entire section in the forum dedicated to the feedback on the con. I can't say much of it was positive though. I'm sure you work hard on this, but it was really mismanaged and your calculations on attendance and proportion were seriously incorrect.

Viper764 said...

Just remember that 20k of that 90k were there for NYAF. Me and my friends don't even read comics, yet we went, cosplayed, etc. Felt like a complete waste of money and time compared with last year, and we won't be coming again unless the shows are once again separate or better managed.

Anonymous said...

Do you clear the room between events?

According to your website, you do not. So if media programming is your thing you can camp out all day.

Oh, the panels. I had half a dozen panels I wished to attend. Law of common sense should have been I arrive two hours before a panel I should have at least made the “waiting list” line. Not so at New York Comic Con. You have this rule that they don’t kick people out from preceding sessions.

Pretty much guaranteeing if you have anything else to do that day besides attend that popular panel–say interviews? Business meetings?–you are screwed, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t even bother complaining to the staff; they’ll tell you that you should have arrived earlier if you were that passionate about the panel. Actually don’t talk to me about the staff in charge of those doors; half the time I saw them sneaking their friends in.

This is pretty much the same situaton that erupted into that violence at SDCC this year.

This policy HAS to change.

Kathy said...

Last year I ponied up for a VIP ticket for my nephew. He loved NYCC, and since he's studying animation/cartooning at School of Visual Arts I couldn't resist upgrading to the Saturday Stan Lee VIP pass.

I am very disappointed in the level of service. It wasn't the crowds. Stan Lee was very gracious to my nephew. It is the failure for the staff to provide any of the additional promised perks - my nephew never got the lithograph, never got the tee shirt, never got a program. Nothing.

When he went back to the NYCC store on Sunday (as instructed where to pick up packages that did not arrive) he was told that any additional swag bags had been sold.

I find it hard to believe that something that was already paid for could be "sold." In my opinion, it belonged to my nephew as it was paid for, and part of the package we paid for.

Oh yeah, he couldn't find anyone to ask a question to, find any help, there was no special VIP concierge. Basically, a rip off.

William said...

Hey Lance,

I was so glad I was able to attend this years NYCC. When I saw you at Star Wars Celebration V. I told you I most likely wouldn't be able to attend NYCC to do spending my money on SWCV.
I was able to come Friday and Saturday. I really like the Que lines in the Hall C. It was better than waiting outside in those pass years in the cold.
I enjoy having both cons together. I did attend the concert and it was nice. I was able to achieve what I set out to do was score autographs from most of the celebrity's that the studios brought in. Which I was able to do except for the cast of Saw which I couldn't pull off because I was in the Adrian Brody line and he was half hour late and by the time I got done it was to late to race across the floor room in time to for the Saw signing. Otherwise I was able to score the autographs I wanted.
Here is where I was wondering what happen. Last year for signings to cast of Fringe and Robot Chicken. You had them taking place in Hall C. It was great because it had plenty of space and room to accommodate the crowd.
Where this year you had Robot Chicken, V in C105, a small room. I didn't go for the Robot Chicken autograph but I heard nightmares about where to wait in line and being told to move and not to move.
The V line was an almost Epic Fail because of the amount of people who showed up to wait blocking the doors to other rooms and clogging up the walkway. They eventually move the line as they should have done in the first place in Hall C room.
My suggestion for next year for big studio signings. Have them in Hall C like you did in 09.

Otherwise I am counting down already to next years con.

Thanks for a great con, William

Awakened One said...

Good event, somewhat poorly executed. did not live up to it's potential, and neglected it's roots.

I felt that the main NYCC floor was far too commercial, and comprised of too many corporate exhibitors selling their wares.

The Artists section was far more conducive to a fan-base platform.

Given that the door income alone for NYCC 2010 was just under $4 Million, and that the exhibition fees at least doubled that figure, one would have expected there to be an event that thought of things from the fan's perspective.

Giveaways, exhibitor type, placement and attitudes could all have been factored in more effectively. Instead, we were left with an event, ostensibly for fans, that was cannibalized by the larger entities, and simply pushed the real stars off to the sidelines.

Whereas the genuine contributors to the arts that NYCC is supposed to represent, all interacted and gave their time, autographs, and significantly reduced price goods away, most of the exhibitors in the main hall were selling anything they could, including cheap posters, hats, stickers and badges that would ordinarily be given away free.

Had the visitors to NYCC been anything but loyal and passionate to the arts, they would have done the right thing and demanded their hard earned exorbitant fee back.

Come on people, I've attended these events for years, and they are getting just a bit too money focused for comfort. In following the trend, you guys are sure to see a drop next time, and be forever designated corporate bullshitters.

Get real and make something memorable and NY proud, or continue pillaging the fans and get rich, but if you choose the latter, don't try to sell us the story that you're still doing it for the fans.

William Gatevackes said...

A couple things in response to what I've read.

Now, I don't work for Reed or the convention, but some of the things that I saw don't jive with some of the complains here.

As for the VIP Room and storage of bags, I had a Stan Lee VIP and spent some time in the lounge before the signing on Saturday. While there, there were two attendants who made sure anybody who went back into the room with the bags were supervised. As a matter of fact, there was a line of people waiting to pick stuff up and drop stuff off.

As for the Romita's excuse that they didn't know they were supposed to be at the Autograph Area on Sunday, they should have checked out the con's website. Their appearance was listed days in advance.

For the woman who wants parents to bring in smaller strollers for their kids, I wholly support that, after we make sure cosplayers don't stop for photos in the middle of aisles and big groups of people don't clog the aisles holding conversations. Because while I never had trouble getting around people with strollers, I was constantly being held up by those other two.

To the woman who bought the Stan Lee VIP for Saturday, I was at that signing. The staff was going from table to table getting sizes and handing out T-shirts. And it was a big process so there was no way that anyone could miss it. And they also clearly announced at the signing that the lithographs would be given out at the POW booth. So, I don't know why her nephew didn't get his swag. But it shouldn't be too hard to make sure he gets them now.

The only disappointing part about that Stan Lee VIP event is that we weren't allowed to take picture with him or shake his hand because he was ill. You can't fault a man for being sick, but I was looking forward to shaking the man's hand and getting my picture taken ever since I bought the $400 ticket.

Other than that, my friend, who' is a Anime/Manga fan from Las Vegas, had such a good time that she is thinking of flying in again next year to attend the show. So, you have that going for you, which is nice.

Myst400 said...

@jeanebellini: Yes, over where Maid Cafe/Panels were? I only had time to stop at 1 artist alley booth on Sunday directly after a panel [No time to even browse.] then had to rush to find DoctorWhoStore [Which talking to the people running the booth, they got moved from their listed spot on the floor & less biz]
I was looking for non-artist items, I'm just happy I bought my Larg backpack last year. I only saw 1 booth selling the white version. Didn't even see any drawing boards this time.
One of my friends from club said he was getting stares because he wasn't in comic costume...
The only time I ever had the escalators off was about closing time. What ever happened to the Sushi in a tube? I really wanted to try that this year! Didn't see much asian food or people selling food not just the basic smoothie/shushie/lemonade/ice cream. I miss the area we had last year where there were booths/stands selling just food. I only saw 1 dinky booth way, way in the back selling limited asian goodies.

Robyn said...

Personally, I liked the waiting area inside for people that arrived before the show started. In my opinion, it’s better than being left outside to wait in cold/rain/wind, etc. This year the weather was beautiful…but it is October in NYC, and the weather could get ugly at a moments notice. Better to be inside.

Also, I know that for the big studio booths that were offering celebrity autographs (FOX, etc), you are mostly bound by the celebrity’s schedule, but it would be great to space them out if at all possible. I, too, like a previous commenter, waited for Adrien Brody’s autograph and wasn’t able to maneuver thru the huge crowd in time for the SAW 3D signing. And speaking of the Adrien Brody autograph session, I think that should DEFINITELY have been a ticketed event, or had ppl line up downstairs like for the Nikita or Vampire Diaries signing, which was 100% organized. A mob formed for Adrien, and it almost got very ugly. Also, the information on the NYCC website on his signing was totally wrong and never updated. It said he would be there for 3 hours (12:30-3:30) on Saturday, but it was really only 2:00-3:00. A lot of people were complaining about the prevalence of wrong info on the NYCC site for that in particular.

I agree that the yellow shirt volunteers were completely & totally useless. Every time I asked any of them anything, they never ever knew. They would just tell me to find a red shirt person…and even then I was lucky to get a straight answer. I asked a yellow shirt volunteer when the V signing was, because I wanted to make sure I had the right info and they asked me when I thought it was… I said 6:30? And they told me then that’s probably when it is! Ummmm Okaaaaay.

There also need to be CLEAR signage around the con. I arrived at 7:30am on Saturday, waiting for over 2 1/2 hours to be one of the first people into the con, and when we finally got admitted, I almost immediately crossed over to one section of the floor…when suddenly I was told I had to go back to the END OF THE LINE to get right back in!!!! I told the volunteers I had just accidentally crossed over this invisible “barrier” and had waited over 2 hours and was one of the first ppl let thru the doors! It didn’t work, and 3 yellow shirts gathered around me and made me go back downstairs…I had to wait another 20-30 mins just to get back on the floor. Did anyone else have that happen??? That was the most upsetting thing for me. There was nothing saying “DO NOT CROSS” or anything. Please be more clear next year and TRAIN THE STAFF!

Robyn said...

Personally, I liked the waiting area inside for people that arrived before the show started. In my opinion, it’s better than being left outside to wait in cold/rain/wind, etc. This year the weather was beautiful…but it is October in NYC, and the weather could get ugly at a moments notice. Better to be inside.

Also, I know that for the big studio booths that were offering celebrity autographs (FOX, etc), you are mostly bound by the celebrity’s schedule, but it would be great to space them out if at all possible. I, too, like a previous commenter, waited for Adrien Brody’s autograph and wasn’t able to maneuver thru the huge crowd in time for the SAW 3D signing. And speaking of the Adrien Brody autograph session, I think that should DEFINITELY have been a ticketed event, or had ppl line up downstairs like for the Nikita or Vampire Diaries signing, which was 100% organized. A mob formed for Adrien, and it almost got very ugly. Also, the information on the NYCC website on his signing was totally wrong and never updated. It said he would be there for 3 hours (12:30-3:30) on Saturday, but it was really only 2:00-3:00. A lot of people were complaining about the prevalence of wrong info on the NYCC site for that in particular.

I agree that the yellow shirt volunteers were completely & totally useless. Every time I asked any of them anything, they never ever knew. They would just tell me to find a red shirt person…and even then I was lucky to get a straight answer. I asked a yellow shirt volunteer when the V signing was, because I wanted to make sure I had the right info and they asked me when I thought it was… I said 6:30? And they told me then that’s probably when it is! Ummmm Okaaaaay.

John Gomez said...

There needs to be CLEAR signage around the con. I arrived at 7:30am on Saturday, waiting for over 2 1/2 hours to be one of the first people into the con, and when we finally got admitted, I almost immediately crossed over to one section of the floor…when suddenly I was told I had to go back to the END OF THE LINE to get right back in!!!! I told the volunteers I had just accidentally crossed over this invisible “barrier” and had waited over 2 1/2 hours and had been one of the first ppl let thru the doors! It didn’t work, and 3 yellow shirts gathered around me and made me go back downstairs…I had to wait another 20-30 mins just to get back on the floor. Did anyone else have that happen??? That was the most upsetting thing for me. There was nothing saying “DO NOT CROSS” or anything. Please be more clear next year and TRAIN THE STAFF!!!

John Gomez said...

Whoops- I copied Robyn's last pert of her comment and wanted to say AMEN to the signage part. The same thing happened w/me. Went into no-mans-land by mistake and got sent to the back of the line. I got there around 7:45. Just dumb.

Dave Kelly said...

Yes- the yellow shirt volunteers were clueless. I asked so many of them something and never got any info. They always had a deer-in-the-headlights look, and either said they didn’t know the answer, or go ask someone in a red shirt. Not once did I get an actual reply to a question.

I agree with spacing out the major celeb signings. Couldn’t get both Milo Ventimiglia and Saw 3D since the times conflicted. I really feel like all the biggest signings on Saturday all happened between 2:00-3:00. That was a bit annoying, but not the worst thing.

I’m sure I’ll be the millionth person to mention the crowd, but it was almost unbearable on Saturday. If possible, please cap ticket sales before the day prior to the event. Yea, it’s less money for you ,but it will be sooo much more enjoyable for the fans not to be smothered by almost 100k people.

One more thing to the fan boys out there: please please please bathe before coming to the con! There were smells coming from people I never knew existed. Take a shower for goodness sake. That’s all!

The Duchess said...

I wasn't thrilled. I had more fun last year at Anime Festival when there were less crowds. This year, it was overwhelming and easy to get separated and lost from those you were attending the con with.

In addition, some of the anime screenings I went to definitely needed a larger space. The two Gundam showings were way overcrowded, as was Haruhi. They capped the line for the 00 movie. I think it could have easily fit into the bigger theatre with no issues of unused space. Plus, having us sitting on a flat floor with columns made it difficult to watch the subtitles. I walked out with a sore neck and back trying to see over and around the heads of those in front of me just so I could see what was being said.

The maps needed more information, and the complete lack of an Anime Festival Artist Alley/panel room map was extremely disappointing. Or, at least, if there was one, I never got it. All versions of the maps as well as the programs should have been in the giveaway bags instead of making attendees go hunt them down. I didn't get a program until late Saturday because I didn't know where to get them, and by then I had missed several things I had wanted to go to because I didn't know when and where they were. Most other conventions I've been to provide all of that in the bag with all the other stuff.

Please get rid of the gauntlet of card distributers outside. The food carts and having people shove flyers in my face on my way to the building was quite frustrating to navigate through, especially when you had the badge pickup line winding its way down 11th Ave and around the corner at 34th St. It just made it very difficult to get through because people were standing at the carts eating, standing around handing out their advertisement cards, and trying to pass in both directions... all on the same width of sidewalk with an entrance line. Badly done. I don't know if Javitts has any control over this or not, but it might be something to investigate about with the NYPD to attempt some crowd control and make it easy to pass through. If there had been an emergency, forget it.

The Duchess said...

Part II -

Out of the seven staff I interacted with, only three seemed to know anything. One I'm assuming was a ReedPOP Exec, considering he had a suit jacket over his staff shirt and was carrying a radio. Another was one of the info booth staffers who looked through all her exhibitors and artists alley and small press lists to find some information about a web comic artist for us. The third was the young man standing near the Comic Con Artist Alley directory sign. The rest were extremely rude. I staff a large con myself, so I know it can be frustrating after a while. However, a major cardinal rule in customer service is "SMILE AND NOD". I don't care of staffers wander off behind the scenes and call me every name in the book. As long as they don't give me attitude to my face, that's what counts. However, you could tell which staffers were there for which con, so to speak, by how they treated you. If you looked like an anime fan, the Comic Con regulars looked down at you. Very disheartening for future attendance.

Personally, I had wanted to attend Comic Con separate from Anime Festival. Unfortunately, I can't attend both at the same time. It's simply not possible. I missed a lot of things because it conflicted with something else on the 'other side'. I have this same problem with the current set up at another local convention, where it tries to hard to cater to too many different types of fandoms. Cons that focus on a single audience are more fun to attend. You don't feel overwhelmed, left out, or like you're missing anything for something else. I had a lot more fun at Anime Festival last year than this year.

For the entire con, I only had four highlights of the weekend. Meeting Stan Lee on Friday when he walked through the entrance line. Seeing Gundam UC. Seeing Gundam 00. For a massive con like it was, there should have been way more highlights. My initial lack of a program, complete map, and schedule made it terribly difficult for me to find anything, and, once I had them, I couldn't do anything because it was all at the same times.

I was also disappointed with how early things shut down on Sunday, and how the staff basically chased us out of the con center... almost with flaming sticks. The Bandai rep announced before the Gundam 00 movie that there was extra footage after the credits. Any Gundam 00 fan would know this is a regular thing for the series, as they did it throughout season two. However, con staff got up on the stage during the credits and were announcing we had to leave right away. If they had been paying attention, they would have realized why no one was leaving. Also, seating times were too short and often ran into panel and viewing times for the three showings I went to at the AA theatre. This often resulted in the end of the panel getting cut off, probably explaining why they were so anxious to kick us out of the theatre before the extra footage that came after the credits.

I don't know what kind of hours the Javitts center keeps, but they were too quick to shut things down at night. This could just be my perception as I'm used to 24 hour cons, but I think there would have been much more available time and less rushing by staff to keep people from lingering if we had more time to do and look at what we wanted. I felt unwelcome towards the end of each day as we were ushered to the doors and sent out into the streets without so much as a 'thank you for coming'.

Overall, I was rather disappointed.

The Duchess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isaac said...

I purchased an IGN vip ticket this year, and while I was very satisfied with the panels themselves, I was quite disappointed at the fact that the show workers were not keeping the front of the IGN theater reserved for said vip members. After the first panel of a given day, non vip members would flood the front and no one from the show made any effort to stop them. This made me have to stay in the theater between panels to save my seat when I assumed I would be able to peruse the show floor. I ended up getting very little time on the floor and I am unhappy about that. Especially given the price tags affixed to the vip tickets. The only time when people were asked to move from the reserved section was during the Walking Dead Panel when AMC showed up with their families and needed seats for them. I hope in the future that the con staff is not only working for the talent and their families, but for the regular attendees and the vips especially. Last year the reserved sections stayed reserved the whole day long. I hope next year this problem is able to be rectified.

devilishsaint1 said...

Greetings Lance!

Here are my few points:
I was one of those who commented on staff not knowing where various parts of the cons were. I asked for the Maid Cafe and was directed to the cafeteria.

Many of my friends and I are frequent con visitors and we all agreed this is the first time we had to use a floor plan map to figure out where we were going and we STILL got lost. I even saw Peter running around with a map and he's usually the first person I trust to know where everything is when I get down there.

Security was TOO tight. When I say this I mean specifically for press. I'm a press rep and many of my fellow reporters and I were closed out of rooms and other areas which should be press accessible. Even if the President of the US or the Pope is in there we should have a way to get in there even if it's simply one at a time for a few minutes. Most of us didn't even know or care who was in there and had no interest in interviewing them or taking their pictures. We just wanted to rest on the couches instead of the Press Room for a few minutes. On a side note to this: Keeping the Press Room open after 5pm on the Sunday is a good idea in case we have partners or other people we need to meet with before leaving the con.

Finding the Variant Stage was HORRIBLY tedious. Signs only went as far as pointing to the Intel booth, which was then fun to have the people at the booth say they aren't the stage and then not tell us where it actually is. Also due to the tables and chairs of the stage not being blocked off and secure many fans of the performers were left to sit on the floor or stand on the outside of the area because too many non-fans were taking up the seats to rest or eat or chat. The point of performing there is so people can enjoy the performances and fans can support the acts. Not enough people were able to at the full potential of that stage.

Ok I think everything else has been said in the original post (widening the aisles would be great!) so I'll stop here. Thanks for a good con and can't wait to see how it's improved next year.

Jason Linetsky

Chilmark said...

- We were promised two cons at the same time, and I was expecting just that: NYCC occupying its huge main-floor area, and NYAF down in the basement. It was confusing with some of the big NYAF vendors up in the NYCC area.

- For NYCC, maybe not put the HOLY CRAP HUGE booths right near the entrance of the dealer's room? I had a hard time even getting into the hall when demos were happening. If they were near the middle/back, people would be more inclined to keep moving once they got in, instead of clogging the entrance. Because they have huge overhead signs, it'd be easy to find them, and it'd give smaller booths some more exposure.

- None of the volunteers I talked to, or whose blog posts I read, knew what was going on. It upset them. More orientation? Also, maybe give "end of the line" signs to volunteers working the big panels/screenings.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the staff wasn’t very helpful…they need to be much more well trained. I also never got a reply to any question. I’d try asking them, get a non-answer, then just show up at the event and ask the people waiting in line. They always knew more than the staff did.

jonathan said...

Please please please try spacing out the major signings throughout the weekend. I had to choose between 3 signings I was really looking forward to, b/c they were all scheduled at the same time on Sat. Plus the crowds made it impossible to get anywhere quickly.

Next year make one of the bullet points for con etiquette be to take a shower before coming. Nothing worse than waiting on line for 2 hours with a bunch of smelly fans. I’m not trying to be funny, but I think there should definitely be something somewhere telling fans to be considerate of others. I heard tons of attendees mention the BO smell during the con.

Louise said...

This has all been said, but here's my top 6 suggestions:
1) TRAIN THE VOLUNTEERS. It was so frustrating to get a slack-jawed look whenever I asked anyone a question over the 3 days.
2) Cap ticket sales earlier. God forbid if there had been a fire alarm or real emergency during the weekend...people would have gotten seriously injured in a stampede.
3) Separate NYCC and the NYAF. That would reduce numbers by a whole lot and made the convention much more enjoyable for all.
4) Have clear signs closer together. I saw a bunch of huge signs with arrows pointing in either direction for different sections of the con. Then when you passed that, it was total confusion as to where anything was.
5) I agree with the b.o. thing (it was awful in some pockets of the crowd) but theres prob nothing anyone can do about it. Cant force geeks or anyone to have proper hygiene.
6) Overall, it was a great time. I enjoyed it and will be back next year. Just hope there aren't 100,000 people pushing me across the floor.

Anonymous said...

Due to the incompetence demonstrated at every level of this show, from floor layouts, to event planning, to staffing (volunteers untrained, rude and generally unhelpful. Hired security utterly ineffectual, not checking badges, unknowledgeable, not controlling crowds or having any effect on the con whatsoever. Senior management, Directors being unavailable for event handling, schedule and completely uncommunicative), the lack of accommodations for Press, Professional or Vendor badges hampered even simple business operations, be the reporting, representation or monetary transactions, as well as many other gripes and observances, we will not be returning to your convention next year and we will caution others to be wary of NYCC/AF until the conventions go through a major overhaul.

Tiffany said...

Staff and "security" were horrible. I got yelled at by a security guy while waiting on an autograph line for Saw 3D after I asked him a polite question starting off with "Excuse me, sir, ...." I was 100% polite and he yelled at me saying he didn't know the answer to my question and that I needed to go to the back of the line! I immediately went over to the studio rep who was organizing things for that booth and had them speak with that guard. After I fully explained what happened, they walked over to the guard with me, and flat out told him he needed to let me in. This was the actual studio rep who assisted me, since the con staff was a total waste of space.
You need to make sure you screen your security staff more. This guy was way out of line and a huge bully with me (a 104 pound, 20 year old female)

Anonymous said...

Make sure your info on autograph times is correct on the nycc website! This is a big part of your con. There were a few signings that were wrong in terms of times the autographs were happening. Specifically for the Stephen Lang and Adrien Brody signings. Those were 2 of your BIGGEST celebs there, and the info on nycc was totally, utterly wrong in terms of the signing times. I went to the FOX booth to ask what the real story was, and they told me everyone was coming to them asking the same thing. Some fan who tried to get in line cited the wrong info and I am not sure he got the autograph for Stephen.

Also- make sure to stop selling tickets before it gets out of hand. I actually think Sunday may have been worse than Saturday! I wasn’t able to go down several aisles at all due to the volume of people. It was a literal wall of people. Just horrible.

Anonymous said...

Broken escalators, lack of signs, huge crowds, and jerk staff members. I got to the con in the afternoon on Friday. It was my first con, first time in NY, and due to communication issues, my friends didn't get in till night, so I was alone. Get in the door and try to find people to give me my lanyard for my weekend ticket. After wandering for a while, some yellow shirt stopped me from going down stairs into another receiving area, not the floor or anything. Was a huge jerk and wouldn't let me go down the stairs even after showing him my ticket. Asked the one guy when the line for the 00 screening would start forming. If we would have waited till when he said, we would not have been even able to get in line. Then trying to kick us out during the credits even after being told to stay through them since there was more after, that was the only time I really felt there would be a riot. Couldn't even find lines for some of the bigger shows, so we just skipped them. Severe lack of anime related booths (not talking about artist alley, but general merchandise, like shirts, models, figures, DVDs). What was there was almost inaccessible due to the crowds. Couldn't stop and browse without being crushed and pushed away.

That aside, it was a fun weekend! Made some good shows, bought some stuff, and just mingling with all the fans where you could just let your inner geek that you keep bottled up out was fantastic. Suggestions for next year: Make it longer, get a bigger space, and seperate the floor more into themes.

Anonymous said...

personally i think the whole vip tier should be eliminated. i understand that this is a for profit operation, but couldn't this con be run more like say, the other biggest convention on the east coast?

i thinking joining nycc and nyaf was a great idea ... but separating them into different space was not. being that this is nyc and being that there aren't that many close hotels ... attracting cosplayers is a bit hard to do ... and nyaf brings a lot of cosplayers in.

and then there's the using a whole hall for line queue into ign ... seems like a waste of space. could some of the stages be moved there ... that way, they'll have a captive audience. heh.

TheDigitalBug said...

I am surprised no one mentioned this. I can live with the fact that NYAF was shoved into a small space in the basement, but there was absolutely no cell signal there. This means that I can't communicate with my friends while I am at panels or check out any updates on the web. In addition, this also makes the NYCC app absolutely useless. Furthermore, 70$ for 128kbit wifi is ridiculous.
There has to be a better way for spacing out the showroom so that the anime-centric dealers are impossible to navigate to due to the crowding.

Anonymous said...

If I had known the NYAF's artist alley would be in the boondocks I might have not come. most people only made 35$ on friday for a 200$ booth..

it took me over an hour to find the alley because most staffers thought I was talking of NYCC's AA, one even said 'I don't know, I think everything is in the one big room upstairs'.

course, I wouldn't even ask staffers for info since most cons dont have trained staff but most have maps. you did not have any maps for the NYAF area at con nor online. why was it not included in the con booklet? the same one as nycc? if you're going to 'combine' the con then COMBINE the cons. the maps/conbook should be 1 book with every info in it.

The signs should be better, more of them and actually be better designed for better reading at far distances.

I was envisioning that the 2 cons would have been to different wings in the convention with a path way. I didnt expected to be shoved in the bottom floor far from everyone with little to no signs directing fans.

Actualy, nothing really was easy to find, saturday was crazy but I think it was more annoying that the main entry is where the big exhibition flow and ticket pick up. That was a really bad idea, I think you need to find a better area for registration. hopefully they are done with construction. Also, I know you dont control the side walks, but for safty, you might try to pull some strings and keep flyer passers and carts away from the front of the doors. They could be on the other sides but not 'right' in front of the doors. Its a safty hazard.

If I have the money, I'll try, to go to NYCC again since I missed out so much. I know to do everything I need to do early friday cause for the rest of the weekend, I might not be able too.

jeanebellini said...

two things to help out on the funk from the crowd...free samples of deodorant(scent free...some folks might be allergic or offended by extreme scents (Axe is fine but something unscented would make less folks sneeze;) )
Another thing....i saw a table down in the anime artist alley that had one of those Renuzit/Air Wick solid air fresheners on it. I think they even had something cute on it to make it blend in with their table. (just an idea if there's any exhibitors out there reading this stuff).

As for the guy who said strollers weren't a problem compared to people in costumes taking pictures. Well,those folks paid to get in...kids got in free. As you can see on the main site's posting area people LOVE to take pics of people in costume. How many people like to get bashed in the back by a stroller or have their knees banged by the same?

This is just a question..about the autographing area. Its been said that it needs to be in another area on its own instead of crowded in with the artist alley/varient stage. But i had a problem wondering what autographs were something you had to pay for or get tickets for and which were plain old free get a book signed type autograph. Did anyone else have this problem?

jeanebellini said...

forgot to mention....someone (days before the con opened) actually suggested food carts or trucks at the con so folks wouldn't have to shell out something like $5 for a Coke and gee...i think it was close to $5 for a mere soft pretzel?
Maybe the carts were just too close to the building and should have been over nearer to where they were doing the demo of the new cars?

Ya know, if they put those greasy smelling food booths off the con floor (why not have them on the floor level with the Starbucks etc?) there would have been more room to move or to put a rest area. Just an idea for next year.

William Gatevackes said...

I'm sorry, jeanebellini, I was referring to your original post, where it seemed your issue was with the strollers was due to them clogging up the aisles ("some of those strollers are the size of two or three people"). Now it seems your issue was with someone smashing you in the back and/or knees with a stroller.

Did you talk to this person/people? To you tell them that they hit you and to be careful? Because I'm sure that they did not mean to hit you. There could have been extenuating circumstances, like someone not watching where they were going, bumping into the stroller, which caused it to bump into you.

That being said, I don't see where buying a ticket gives you a right to inconvenience people but being brought in free makes you a villain. I was stabbed in the chest by a cosplayer's fake wooden sword trying to negotiate the con floor on Sunday. It didn't break the skin but it hurt like heck. The guy didn't even apologize. As a matter of fact, it looked like he was angry at me for being hit by his sword. But, hey, he bought a ticket, so he's entitled right?

I'm not saying that cosplayers should be banned or photographs prohibited from being taken. I know people love taking those pictures. Like I said, I was stuck behind them a number of times during the con. I'm just saying if you are going to mandate the kinds of strollers that could be used in the convention because they block up aisles the other things should be mandated to.

My advice to you for the future would either be mor assertive when a rude person deliberately runs their stroller into you or avoid the con on Sunday's when kids are allowed in free.

I do agree with you on the b.o. Thing, however. Showers, whether they think they need it or not, should be mandatory before anyone enters the convention floor. It is hot and muggy enough in there the way it is. You don't need to get a head start on the stench before you get there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, showers are good. Deoderant is good. I kept a stick with me. The problem is, with tens of thousands of people crammed into a room, no where to sit down and rest, and little AC in some areas, people are going to sweat and stink. Just saying. As for the stroller issue, I personally think they should be banned. If the kid is so small and you are so lazy that they need to be pushed around in a stroller rather than carried, should they really be there? They are bound to get hurt in those crowds, unless the stroller is reinforced steel.

Anonymous said...

well, multiple vip tiers should be eliminated. reserved seating should be eliminated. everyone seems to be complaining about those year after year.

eliminate saturday only passes. make them buy the full weekend (better value).

later pre-reg pick up on thursday ... say 6pm-11pm (and then encourage people to stay around and eat out and spend money, good for nyc economy).

SerialBeggar said...

My main issue with the Con was signage. Outside, all I saw was some paper taped to a few doors. Inside, there some floor signs, but they all looked alike. After a while, I subconsciously tuned them out as irrelevant. I found the Anime Fest section by accident while looking for the mens room.

During the days prior to the Con, I was looking all over the main website for a layout map. However, the only map was in the My Show Planner app and it only showed the main floor. What I really wanted to see was where the panel rooms were, which of course, aren't on the main floor. The Anime Fest room was again, pointedly dissed. It was only by chance that I came to this blog and saw your small screenshot of the full Javits Center floor plan, but the text were too tiny to read.

Back to the Con. The room numbers for the panel rooms were hard to see, especially when there are people lined up 4 deep. I'd suggest the room numbers be a large sign placed above the room door for easier viewing. Also, I would like to suggest that you install several large "you are here" type maps with clearly marked major points of interest landmarks and place throughout the Javits Center, particularly at intersections.

Another peeve I had was that the lighting was insufficient. I don't know if it was on purpose, but I thought the main floor seemed particularly dark. The panel rooms were also pretty dim. At times, I'd like to not be distracting as I take a photo of, for example, the speaker at a panel, but it just wasn't possible not to use the flash all the time with those light levels.

Juri said...
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Rishard Chapoteau said...

I'm probably going to have to make multiple posts to remember everything. Overall I loved the con and had a great time. I only have a few complaints.

I like the joining of the cons, but there needs to be way more signage for nyaff. You couldn't get proper info for nyaff either from any staffer. The fact that it wasn't on the map was a huge insult to the anime artist alley. Those guys really got shafted and should receive money back for the tables they bought.

It would also help if the anime dealers were also separated with the rest of the anime section. There weren't many of them so it would have been easier to identify them.

Keeping the anime signings in the anime area would have been nice as well. The crispin Freeman signing was a nightmare due to it's location to e erything else.

This isn't in your control but on Friday Frank Miller was supposed to show. I got a wristbands at 1 for the signing that was going to happen at 4. At 4 I go for the signing and he was a no show due to sickness. It doesn't make sense that they coolant have found out earlier that he was going to be sick so people didn't waste time trying to get wristbands at a specific time. Guests should be contacted in the morning to make sure they can make it.

On Saturday I was doing the Jim butcher signing and he was listed at being at table 4 on the website. He was moved to table 18 FAR away from where he was supposed to be. There was nothing by table 4 to tell me he was going to be.

On Sunday for the walking dead panel I had a friend that couldn't get in because everyone wanted in. That's understandable. The issue he had was that throughout the panel upwards of 200+ people left, but security wasn't letting more people in to replace them. So people that could have gotten in were not being allowed in.

Juri said...
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Juri said...

I think the fact that you've only used "NYCC" when referring to the event as a whole is a good representation of the point many anime fans/attendees have been trying to make.

I really appreciate your post's open-mindedness in receiving criticism and your expression of concern for fans' concerns. I realize organizing events even a fraction of the size of NYCC/NYAF this year is difficult and a lot of hard work. Rather than rehash the list of problems I and fellow fans, anime and otherwise, had experienced during the weekend (and there were many), I will try to focus on what I feel are the bigger issues that can be considered and improved upon in the future.

Being mostly anime fans, when my friends and I first heard that NYAF and NYCC would be merged as a single event, I was not looking forward to it. At all. I didn’t want the event and my experience diluted in such a way. I was actually glad to see that there was an attempt to hold NYAF activities and NYCC activities in separate areas. However, I did not even realize it had been organized this way until the END of the con, it was that confusing and disorganized.

It doesn’t sound like having NYCC and NYAF back as separate events again is an option you guys will consider, so here are some other things I hope you will consider and keep in mind for future cons:

I was surprised to see all video game events lumped in under the NYCC umbrella. Many of the popular game companies are of Japanese industry, such as Capcom, SquareEnix, and Konami. Not having many game-exclusive events themselves in the U.S., video games have always been a large and very integral part of anime conventions and J-pop culture in general in the West. They have had much more of a presence at these cons than comic cons. So why keep video game panels exclusively to the NYCC area? Even as fans who attended solely for the NYAF aspect, we could not take advantage of the separated areas because we constantly had to travel all the way across the level between Hall A and Hall E to get to all the things we wanted to see.

While I think moving video games back with NYAF would do much to help balance out the focus between the two, I realize it’s complicated because you may end up upsetting exhibitors/vendors (who want the largest market) and a good number of comic fans who are also interested in video games. There is probably the biggest overlap in this area between the two fan groups. Because of that, I would suggest having video games as a “middle ground”:

- In the showroom, place video game exhibitors/vendors between the comic and anime vendors, don’t just mix them in together with comic vendors and shove the two short anime aisles to the side.

- Have video game panels closer to the anime panels or between the anime and comic panels, if you won’t move them into the anime space.

- On the PDF schedules online (and you should really make these available in the handouts as well), I really appreciated the division of NYCC and NYAF events (trying to scroll through that complete and untagged list on the website figuring out which were anime events was a nightmare). But you should also divide the video game events/panels, or color code them differently at the VERY least, not just lump them in with everything NYCC. The NYAF schedule, at first glance, looked just dismal, until I realized SquareEnix and other panels were buried among the NYCC events. At that point, it actually felt like video games were “stolen” from us, as petty as that sounds. As if NYAF and anime fans would somehow have less interest in or provide less value to those panels than comic fans.

(continued on next comment)

Juri said...

(continued from previous comment)

While on the subject of the organizing of space and the showroom, please don’t have the anime vendors located at the opposite end of the level from the NYAM panels/artist alley, and PLEASE allocate more space to that section. There may be a lower number of anime vendors compared to comic, but there were a LOT of anime fans packed into those two short aisles stuffed up against the wall. Consider attendance and increase aisle space to accommodate.

I realize there are probably many factors you must consider that I’m unaware of that makes this more complicated than I’ve described, but I hope you’ll take my perspective on what I’ve experienced this past weekend to help improve for next year.

I really want to see how good it can be. It’s *New York* AF/CC - our con. Because, honestly, I’m not sure the energy we invested was worth the return we got to keep coming back year after year, even though it’s the only anime/comic con in our city. We travel to other cons in the Northeast every year and have a great time. But I hate to imagine how the fans coming from out-of-town feel when experiencing NYAF the way it was this year.

William Gatevackes said...

I find it rich that the guy who called parents who use strollers lazy was too lazy to sign his own name to the post. That is just beautiful.

It's not a matter of being lazy. It's a matter of safety. Usually carry more than my daughter weighs in comics every con. However, if some yahoo in a rush to get somewhere and not looking where they are going so they slam into me and the comics fall to the floor where they stepped on, that would be bad but they are replaceable. The same thing happening to my daughter would be tragic.

Strollers provide safety and support for these kids. And the bigger the stroller, the safer. Which is why parents don't use those umbrella stroller--too flimsy.

Yeah, calling parents who use strollers lazy is insulting. But guess what? The con has kids day for a reason. Because if a family can come to the con together, they spend more money. And strollers just make sense. So, you don't have to like it, but you really can't do anything about it.

Rinaldo said...

I agree with both people that posted here re: the stroller situation and the cosplayer costumes situation. I got hit in the shins and lower legs by some strollers during the con, but also had to duck out of the way of a cosplayers sword, mallet, sythe, etc. People just need to be more courteous overall. I think the issue was just the sheer volume of people there! It’s hard to move out of the way if you can’t move at all!
Also, I think there should be a mandatory shirt policy. I saw some guys in “costume” walking around shirtless and sweaty. Gross. I tried to stay away b/c the last thing I want is to be pressed up against a sweaty, hairy back. Plus it just looks sloppy.

Anonymous said...

I wish that there were clearer signs…I also stepped over an invisible barrier on the lower level, when suddenly I was banned by volunteers from crossing over again. I just totally made a mistake by walking over to one area (which no one warned me from doing even tho volunteers were all around) and then I had to go back to the end of the queing line to get back into the con even tho these people saw me just step over to one side. WTF! Just ridiculous!

Also, don’t have NYAF at this same event. I know a lot of people disagree, but next year the attendance will be even bigger and every inch of space is valuable. NYAF can be held separately and still have a huge turn out.

Rishard Chapoteau said...

For those that believe the NYAFF should be seperated again, I can't say you're wrong because its your oppinion, but I can ask that you think things through logically.

First off yes there were 20k people at NYAFF last year, but a lot of those people also went to NYCC previously. It makes sense to have them at both since so many will attend both. Sure Reed could make more money out of us by holding 2 separate events but for the fandom having one just makes sense.

Second, the Anime industry isn't growing in America, its crumbling in on itself. The con might get more people to attend, but less people to sell/show things. Think about how much Anime stuff was there this year at the con vs NYAFF previously. A lot of companies have folded and there wasn't much left to take there place.

Last year when I went to NYAFF we walked through the entire floor and artist alley and were pretty much done with everything on Friday. There just wasn't enough to do to warrant a 3 day con, and this year there were even fewer anime booths to see. Thats just not because of the joining. Its because they don't exist anymore.

The best we can do is tell them where they went wrong, and hope that they correct it for next year.

One other suggestion for the con. Please don't put so many big booths so close to the entrance. The Michael Jackson and Bandai booths being right there caused a major walkway problem at the front door because everyone stopped to stare. I bet they payed premium to be by the front door or something, but this is one of those situations thats just not cool. Don't do it!

Petrina said...

@Rishard Chapoteau

I'm just a big stickler for abbreviations, so I apologize for this beforehand.

There is actually an event known as NYAFF -- the New York Asian Film Festival (not affliated with Reed at all, but the Japanese pulp films at NYAF were because of these guys). So when you keep saying NYAFF when you mean NYAF it kept confusing me.

NYAF = New York Anime Festival
NYAFF = New York Asian Film Festival

Anonymous said...

I was a press member this year and I have to say that it was indeed way too crowded. Even the press members had to wait like 20+ mins on friday to get their press badge. Definitely a first for me. Not only that.. after we got our badge, the staff didn't even give us the insider guide or the other booklet that showed us all the events.. we had to open a box ourselves to get it.

I guess i don't have to mention much about how crowded it was. A lot of people didn't even bother to check out most of the merchant due to the crowd. And is it me or is the smaller panel rooms hard to find! The map didn't even include them. I thought the map was useless. Any like other people i felt that NYAF was pushed aside. It should definitely be two seperate events again.

Raúl Carrasco said...

Travelled from Spain to visit the NYCC, moved mainly by the presence of Romita Sr., from who I am a big admirer since I was a kid.

It was AWESOME!! I enjoyed the event a lot from start to end!! Thanks a lot for all your efforts.

The only points I would try to improve are:

1. The line for Romita Sr. was suddenly moved to other place. I was one of the first persons in the line and lost my place in it. No one in the organization tried to organize the line so the people that was waiting on the first place had preference in this new line.

2. Saturday, as you point, was really overcrowded. A bit oppresive.

Despite of these points, I take a VERY sweet memory to my home.

Thanks again. Kind regards.

Rishard Chapoteau said...

@Petrina yeah I got used to saying NYAFF because I was helping out a lot during that festival. NYAF just feels too short :-).

Anonymous said...

The NYAF Masquerade should have been run much better. If you ask people not to record the Minori Chihara concert, then have staff patrol the aisles and actually enforce that request. There were people blatantly recording the concert (there were people near the center camera doing so). And where was the con staff during the masquerade? Why were several young, inconsiderate girls allowed to stand up (near the center camera) for the entire duration of the event, essentially blocking the view of some of the people behind them (who asked them to sit, but they refused). Wasn't this some sort of violation of the fire codes? And I know some events start late, but since it's late in the night/evening, the con should have been considerate in the attendees' having to travel from the Javits to catch a subway/train/bus afterwards. There aren't as many scheduled transportation leaving from the city at night; and the time/distance it might take to get to said transportation.

Anonymous said...

Something Reed Pop should look into: Whether or not it's a good idea for the some of the food vendors inside the Javits to be able to sell bottles of beer (via the open refrigerator displays). While I HOPE the cashiers were checking IDs, having alcohol 'around in the con area' creates problems... with the underaged attendees possibly getting a hold of it; or con attendees having one too many, then their actions are 'felt' inside/outside of the con.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious many people felt the NYAF aspect got overlooked/neglected in many areas. The lack of NYAF signage (either pointing out where to go or the fact that it's a 'joint' event) is not cool. What's the point of having a contest for the NYAF mascot if she's barely used (other than the website and the t-shirts?)? Better yet, why wasn't there NYAF logos in the IGN theater? That took away from the uniqueness/NYAF aspect of the masquerade. If certain parts of the Javits was closed off for construction and stuff, was it really such a good idea to use said areas/rooms *just* for line-ups/line controls? It definitely wasn't fair for those in intricate/delicate costumes to try to get around the crowds, especially on Saturday... where they can get ruined/wrecked easily. I felt the amount of aisle space that the NYAF specific vendors~dealers got was smaller than the NYCC specific vendors~dealers (who weren't industry/the bigger companies). And was those tables around the variant stage really necessary? I suppose you were going with a coffee house/cafe feel, but with the gaming/reserved tables hogging up space nearby, and other just sitting there not for the event, it felt squished at times to attend the event, and several were forced to sit on the con floor. More seats there could have helped.

TheDigitalBug said...

Lance, you're wrong. NYAF this year had no where near as much programming as last year. Not only were there fewer panels due to screenings being put in panel rooms, but also about half as many screenings. In addition, NYAF usually has workshops which were nowhere to be found.

BruceMcF said...

What Juri said, basically. Make it possible to get from the NYAF wing/floor to the manga and to the video games without having to fight past throngs of comic book fans.

Of course, no VIZ and Tokyopop naturally weakens the appeal a bit.

Ben said...

Most of the negatives have already been pointed out. I definitely would love to see NYCC and NYAF as two seperate events again. Sometimes there is too much of a good thing. Two huge events = too much going on. There was a few panels that i would have loved to attend but another just as good panel was going on at the same time.

JJ said...

Well, this was my first convention experience and I had a blast! Grinning from ear to ear the entire weekend... although I admit to having nothing to compare it to.

While it was an amazing weekend, I have to agree with many of the commenters here that the crowds on Saturday were somewhat oppressive. Although I had spent the prior week being a tourist in New York and so it was hardly my only experience with oppressive crowds that week.

One of my main issues of the weekend was with the NYCC app. I downloaded it for my ipod touch thinking it would be helpful to have at the con, but it turned out that the app basically did nothing without an internet connection, and I in no way wanted to pay 70 dollars for wifi for the weekend. I know that the schedule of the con changed a lot but it still would have been nice if that app was something that could be used offline (and updated when you have an internet connection again). This probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue if the con had been easier to navigate (ie: more signage, etc...)

Another issue I had, while small, was that I had wanted to buy a VIP ticket, and for a while was checking the NYCC website ever day to see when they were on sale. Then one da I noticed that I could sign up for a newsletter, so I did, thinking that I would get notice when the VIP tickets went on sale. As the con drew closer I started to wonder about those VIP tickets so I went back to the website only to find out that they had in fact gone on sale and were all sold out. I still had a great time, but it would have been nice to get the VIP tickets I had planned on, or at least to have gotten notice about it.

All in all though, I had a fabulous time. I thought the lines to get inside were long, but honestly I didn't have a problem with them -- much better than lining up outside, and the lines actually moved pretty quickly once they got going.

Thanks for a super fun weekend!

jeanebellini said...

rinaldo(hope i'm spelling that right!)i'm glad i didn't see some of the dudes you did. the only shirtless guy i saw was dressed as the "Old Spice" guy...he had a towel wrapped around him and carried an Old Spice Deodorant! (hmm...maybe Old Spice needs to hire him next year to hand out samples;)).

Something was mentioned on the NYCC page about making water more readily available.(not just the stuff for sale)
A few years ago there actually was a cooler of water around one of the panel areas. It was just sitting out there with little cups on a table for anyone who needed it. It would be great if that could be brought back but to have several and have them where people can find them easily. Like next to the info booths on each floor.It doesn't have to be fancy water...just plain ol' NYC water (rated one of the best in the US:) )with some ice! When the cooler gets low one of the volunteers could refill it. Shouldn't cost much if anything at all and would save probably heat exhaustion!

as for the stroller issue i stand by my idea of limiting them to umbrella strollers. safer, smaller, and if they run over your feet or hit you its a lot less weight.
Another option would be for NYCC to limit the base age being allowed into the show. Can anyone under the age of 5 or 6 actually appreciate a loud, noisy, hot sales floor?

Anonymous said...

Three things:

1) I'd like to suggest that anyone charging for autographs - be they celebrities or comic book people - be required to have PROMINENT signs indicating that there would be a charge, to avoid potential awkward moments. I was at Gene Colan's table in Artist's Alley on Sunday, and I approached with a blank index card to get signed. One of Colan's people behind the table said I would have to pay $10.00 for an autograph, which I did not want to pay, so I sheepishly said "thank you" and went away. I wouldn't have had to feel embarrassed if there was a sign.

2) I agree with others that there should be a separate area where cosplayers and other costumed people can pose for photographs. Many times foot traffic was blocked by people taking pictures of cosplayers, and in these situations I'm not sure who has the right of way.

3) Marvel advertised ticket distribution for their Saturday Stan Lee autograph session as being first-come, first-served, but instead it turned out to be a raffle. I made it my business to get to the Marvel booth ASAP when the show opened Saturday morning and felt cheated when I learned it was a raffle, and of course I was disappointed that I didn't win one of the Stan Lee autograph tickets (although I did like the "consolation" prize - non-winning tickets, which you were allowed to keep, had genuine autographs of Marvel creators).

I love the NYCC - I've actually one of the volunteers, I've been volunteering at NYCC for a few years - and I appreciate that you're open to comments and willing to actually take them seriously.

Anonymous said...

Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

Anonymous said...

It's been pretty much said:

1. Way too crowded.
2. PLEASE separate the two conventions.

bleachfan429 said...

I might recommend keeping NYAF and NYCC separate I understand that even if they are on the same day I think I speak for most Otaku attendees when I say the NYCC goers swallowed us whole and I see fit that we be separate like maybe seperate floors which you did come quite close to but not exactly plus my friend and I missed part of uncle yo due to confusion thinking he would be down in the NYAF section. I know this has already been said but I felt obligated to state my opinion. Thank you for your time