Wizard Word NYC: The Pros And Cons Of The Con

By Cecelia Gray

Wizard World NYC took over Pier 36 June 28th through June 30th, bringing with it a long caravan of stars to see, comics to buy, and cosplayers to envy. While there were many highlights of my visit, there were also many lows of my visit. Here are the pros and cons of the con.

Pro: There was some genuinely interesting programming, and a wide variety of artists, vendors, and celebrities.
Con: The organizers lost their focus in an attempt to please everyone.

I applaud the organizational staff for taking on the task of handling that many special guests but would like to let them know that they really don’t need to do that. What they do need to do is narrow down their list of celebrities so the avalanche of entertainment guests doesn’t bury everything else. A larger variety of activities would have been appreciated as well, and I’m not asking for active involvement from staff or more panels, just an area indoors where fans could sit and play board and card games together and maybe set up a little area for photos.

Pro: There are so many celebrities!
Con: There is little else.

The con was so focused on celebrity appearances it wasn’t really designed for repeat visitors, if you weren’t interested in the Celebrity Q&A or panel happening there was nothing to do but wander around the floor or go outside to eat something. On the first day of the con when you haven’t seen all of the vendors already that’s fine, but the second and third days can get boring and rather tiring very quickly.

Pro: The con wasn’t packed, you actually stood a chance of getting near your favorite celebrity.
Con: WHAT DO I EVEN SAY WHEN I GET UP THERE?!

This was a major benefit, the convention was just small enough that getting close to someone like Patrick Stewart wasn’t difficult at all. Not embarrassing yourself in front of him, well that’s another story entirely.

Pro: There was a lot of stuff to spend your money on.
Con: There was a lot of stuff to spend your money on.

Usually when people complain about the costs of going to a convention I let them know that no one is forcing them to do all of the photo ops, and this was kind of the case at Wizard World. People were spending a lot of money because they could, not because the tickets themselves were outrageously priced.

The only problem was people felt a little tricked. Wizard World has a good reputation and the assumption was made that the VIP packages would be worth the money. In reality paying for 3 days was really not worth it unless you enjoy aimless wandering and impulse buying away next month’s rent. Next year, unless there are some big changes to the way Wizard World runs the NYC event, go for one day and pay for signatures and photo ops separately from your ticket if you really decide you need them rather than springing for a VIP Package.

Pro: The space was large enough to house nearly everything without being too crowded.
Con: The space was not in the best neighborhood.

If you were from out of town, in a costume, with children, or not very good with public transportation, you might get a little anxious navigating the neighborhood around Pier 36. It’s a little seedy in spots and is half a mile from the nearest subway stop. There was parking available (for those crazy enough to drive in Manhattan) and the website provided (slightly difficult) directions for those taking public transit. On my way out I decided to catch a bus that was fairly removed from Pier 36 and ran into four people who got lost on their way and needed directions. Perhaps they should put up some signs next year.

All in all, Wizard World NYC needs some work. It’s unfocused, though well organized, and built for a consumer rather than a community. Unless there are some radical changes, it’s not worth traveling very far for but is still worth your time and money if you’re in the New York metropolitan area and have the day off.

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