Okay, the professionals at Reed Pop have posted their survival tips, and it’s pretty good, covering most of the particulars.
As you can see by the map above, once again there are colored entrances. (No, not like that… well, kinda.) Pros and VIPs enter through the Blue Entrance, and line up right outside Hall 3E. If you are one of the regular attendees and have your ticket, you enter at the Green
Door Entrance, and immediately head downstairs to Hall 1C, just like Jack Dawson on the Titanic. If you need to pick up tickets, enter through the Yellow Entrance, wait patiently, and let the wonderful Reed staff help you. Congratulations! You have successfully experienced the “New York queue”! Award yourself by doffing your membership badge like an Olympic athlete, then join your fellow pop-cultists down in Hall 1C.
You can get in line as early as 7 AM, but I suggest instead having a hearty, leisurely breakfast, strolling into the building when the halls open (check the back of your badge for hours), and heading to a panel or Artists Alley. An hour later, the crowds should have been transferred to the show floor, and you’ll be able to enter with little wait. Unless you seek an autographing ticket. In that case, get there before Seven AM (when the building opens), as the tickets will be handed out at EIGHT.
The M34 bus is a “Select Bus Service”, which means you have to pay extra to ride the bus. I’m a fan of mass transit, but this stinks. It’s not any faster than what used to run, the fare machine is hard to find, and the bus isn’t any fancier than what runs elsewhere. Either catch a taxi from Penn Station ($7), or walk the nine blocks to Javits. If you’re green or yellow, I recommend taking the subway to 42nd Street/Times Square, and catching the M42. Disembark at 11th Avenue and walk six blocks south.
On the way home, you can walk, but I recommend taking one of the shuttle buses. They’ll drop you off at a hotel, which in Midtown means it’s near a subway, or sometimes at an actual subway station. Ask the driver if you’re not sure which bus to take. Hailing a taxi will be difficult, and expensive. If you have swag larger and/or heavier than a beagle, then a taxi will probably be the most convenient way to get to the subway.
Yes, you won’t starve at Javits. There is a food court in Javits, on the lower level across from the IGN Theater (#2 on the map). It will be pricey. If in a rush, there are a few newsstands located around the center (#13, 19, 24). Starbucks is located at #10. Just look for the line. There might also be a few food vendors located on the show floor, usually near the very front or very back of the halls. Javits does not list what’s available in the North Pavilion (Artists Alley) but it’s usually at the front of the hall.
My suggestion? One the way to the show, stop by Walgreens, RiteAid, CVS and buy a box of non-chocolate breakfast bars. They cost about $4 for about 8-10 bars. Snack on those during the show. They will be cheap, tasty, not messy, and nutritious. I like to empty the box into the plastic bag, and toss the box. Also get a bottle of whatever slakes your thirst. Refill that bottle at a drinking fountain later. You’ll be able to avoid the food lines, save time better spent waiting in line for your favorite panel, and save money which you can spend on cool stuff like a Death Star dodge ball.
If you need ample sustenance, there might be a food cart outside the building, catering to the construction workers at Javits. Or you can walk over to Tenth Avenue and get a slice or hero. One keeps hoping that the food trucks will wise up and colonize a parking lot on Eleventh Avenue (or the Roadway!), but that seems unlikely.
Bring a big bag or backpack. Toss smaller totes inside. Check the large bag. Carry the totes (fold up the others inside the largest tote). The tote should be large enough to hold a large book, but small enough so that when it gets full, it isn’t a burden to carry. As each tote is filled, check it as well. ($3, plus a dollar tip.) At the end of the day, gather up your bags at the coat check, and lug them home. If you intend to buy a lot of items (three or more totes), then the large bag should be a rolling suitcase or a camping backpack to make toting easier.
For the main convention tote, I suggest one made of canvas. It should have an exterior bottle pocket (this is where you stash your poster tube). It helps if there is exterior pocket where you can stash maps, schedules, and small items quickly. The main compartment should have a zipper. I got mine from Dorling Kindersley. It has a another pocket on the other end which is perfect for business cards, pens, and small items. DON’T be that guy with the overstuffed backpack who knocks over people whenever he turns around. DON’T be that gal with the rolling suitcase. A tote bag holds what you need, keeps you from accepting anything and everything offered to you, and is easy to secure. And you’ll look stylish!
It’s rare that I stand in line for any panel. If you get a bit tired, find a panel in progress which isn’t too crowded, and rest your feet for a few minutes. You might discover something new!
Any other tricks and techniques I may have missed? Add them below!
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!