With New York Comic-Con fast approaching on October 5th, nerds from all over the galaxy will be flocking to the city in waves to partake in one the most massive conventions in the United States. Attendance for the event reaches around 150,000 people each year, but New York City itself offers a wide variety of geeky things to do on a daily basis.
Here are the top 10 ways to celebrate New York Comic-Con in New York City:
10. Manhattan Barcade
Barcade is the perfect spot to socialize, game and wind down in or out of cosplay. The bar features dozens of retro games like Bust-A-Move and Mortal Kombat II that are hard to find to in the current climate of World of Warcraft and Minecraft.
The original Barcade was established in a former metal shop on Union Avenue in Williamsburg. Today, a chain of outposts can be found in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The other two New York City barcades are located on West 24th Street in Chelsea and in St. Mark’s Place in The East Village.
If you’re looking for a blast from the past — with the included bonus of a bar — the Barcade is the place to go after you’ve visited all of the panels and gotten in as many photo ops you can. The bar will be closed Thursday night of Comic-Con and from 5:30-9:00 p.m. that Sunday, but it’s open to the public with normal hours for the rest of the dates.
9. New York Philharmonic Star Wars Film Concert Series
One of the most iconic components of Star Wars has always been John Williams’ beautifully crafted score. The first few seconds into the opening crawl sequence is recognizable by fans and casual viewers alike.
Luckily for Star Wars fans in New York City, there’s a rare opportunity to watch a Star Wars film as the New York Philharmonic plays the accompanying score. Prior performances have captivated audiences, and it’s easy to forget that there’s a full live orchestra in front of the screen instead of a recording.
This unique multimedia experience was previously arranged for A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and upcoming dates will feature Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The series ends its run on October 7th and tickets can be purchased on the New York Philharmonic website. The first couple hundred people to arrive receive free lightsabers and there are sithishly fun photo opportunities with several members of the Dark Side.
8. Gotham City Lounge in Manhattan
For New York Comic Con goers ready to hang up their Batman mask and enter a bar just as dark and mysterious as your favorite angsty superhero, the Gotham City Lounge in Brooklyn is the place to go.
Located on 1293 Myrtle Ave, the bar offers cheap drinks and is stockpiled with memorabilia from DC Comics. Patrons lovingly refer to the Gotham City Lounge as a dive bar and appreciate the themed events it has to offer.
7. Pasta Wiz in Brooklyn
When it was announced that a Harry Potter-themed pasta restaurant was opening up in Brooklyn, many people didn’t know what to expect as the combination seemed fairly strange. The original Pasta Wiz is located on 60 N. 1st Street, and Pasta Wiz Express recently opened in Greenwich Village.
Patrons expecting to step right into Hogwarts will be sorely disappointed as the decorations don’t replicate anything specific from the Harry Potter series. However, there are stacks of books, essences of wizarding and other nods to the boy who lived with the sorting hat. Pasta Wiz is great for wizards and witches who want to try out a plethora of healthy and unique pasta dishes, but aren’t quite ready for pumpkin pasties and mincemeat pies.
6. Puffs the Play in Hell’s Kitchen
Get “back to witches and wizards and magical beasts, to goblins and ghosts and to magical feasts!” If you’ve seen and loved A Very Potter Musical on YouTube, the off-broadway play, Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School for Magic and Magic should be at the top of your New York Comic-Con destination list.
The play centers around the often forgotten Hufflepuffs of the Harry Potter books. A playful, spoofy comedy, Puffs gets around any potential copyright issues with witty and vague references to the Potter series. Whether you’re a Puff or a snake, Puffs is a great place to witness seven years of forgotten Hufflepuff shenanigans in one jam-packed night. The production has been met with acclaimed reviews since it debuted at the People’s Improv Theater and moved to New World Stages for its current run. Puffs has 8 p.m. showings on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as well as matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
5. Paley Center for Media in Manhattan
Paley Center for Media, located on 25 W. 52nd Street, began as the Museum of Broadcasting in 1975. Then in 1991, it became the Museum of Television and Radio before the name was changed one final time to The Paley Center for Media in 2007.
The other Paley Center is located in Los Angeles, providing a platform for cultural discussions and events about television and radio. The building stands 16-stories high and is home to a massive collection of video content that guests can view.
The Paley Center for Media is hosting NY Paley Fest during New York Comic-Con, which will feature panels with actors and creators of television shows such as Family Guy, Blue Bloods, and Star Trek Discovery.
4. AOL Build in Manhattan
Dylan O’Brien and Taylor Kitsch at the September 7th AOL Build Series talk
Like New York Comic Con, most paneled events take place on a massive scale with hundreds of people in the audience. There’s usually a very slim chance to get chosen to ask a question, but AOL Build Series provides a very difference experience. It invites actors, musicians, and other celebrities to intimate forty minute panel discussion, which generally have an audience of around twenty people. This allows guests to sit only a few feet away from the talent.
You can attend AOL Build panels by registering for free on the site. However, if an event is booked up, arrive early on the day of the panel to secure a space if someone doesn’t show up.
The sessions consist of an interview portion and an audience Q&A focused on topics that are relevant to the projects the talent are there to speak about. Upcoming events include Adrianne Palicki on the 4th and the Jigsaw panel on the 6th — both have remaining spots open as of now. (Note that autographs are prohibited inside the building to dissuade autograph sellers from taking tickets away from fans.)
3. Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is a non-profit disguised as a secret lair. The store sells everything your average vigilante would need, from grappling hooks and capes to deflector bracelets.
More importantly, the organization helps a lot of kids find their own superpowers in areas of school they struggle with. With thousands of volunteers, the 826NYC nonprofit provides after-school programing and workshops that help children with writing, ESL and other topics.
2. The Way Station Tardis Bathroom in Brooklyn
Photo by Gail Heidel via The Way Station
Located on 683 Washington Ave, The Way Station is a cozy bar that caters to a nerdy crowd. Named after a Stephen King novel, The Way Station offers reasonably priced drinks with a Sci-Fi twist, including beverages like Captain Jack Captain Morgan’s and the Shirley Temple of Doom Maker’s Mark bourbon.
The bar’s Science Fiction leanings aren’t surprising given that the bar’s most notable feature is its massive Tardis bathroom. Musical performances, karaoke, and comedy events are frequently held at the Way Station.
1. New York Comic-Con
The final must-see destination during New York Comic-Con weekend is, of course, New York Comic Con. The convention begins on Thursday, October 5th and runs until Sunday the 8th.
The event is taking place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which will play host to hundreds of panels featuring actors like Mark Hamill and Felicity Jones from Star Wars, and Peter Capaldi and Pearl Macki from Doctor Who. If you want to grab a ticket, Thursday tickets are still available for purchase.
When people think of large scale conventions, they usually picture San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest convention in the world. New Yorkers, however, bring their own special brand of individuality and passion to their event — and the quirky, nerdy locations around New York City make it even harder to resist.
Next, check out NYC Film Locations for TV Show Gotham on FOX and 10 Great Cosplay Moments at the 2016 New York Comic-Con. Get in touch with the author at @LitByLiterature