They’re the sites of the continental US’s two biggest comics pop culture explosions. And neither one is nearly big enough.
¶ If Bruce Lidl’s fine piece on the revenue-raising scheme for the San Diego Convention Center expansion wasn’t enough for you, Voice of San Diego has the George Smiley version, with all the links, charts, reports, and conspiracy theories you could want.
One thing that occurs to us: it is a fact that trade show business is down around the country, and the internet has tamped down the need for giant all-in-one shows. A larger SD con center would benefit other huge shows that can’t fit there now, but it is Comic-Con that is driving the expansion. That’s still going to be a tough sell to locals, and we’d be surprised if all the legal challenges mentioned in the piece weren’t deployed at some point.
¶ MEANWHILE, over in New York, the Javits Center is DEFINITELY too small, situated as it is in land-poor Manhattan, yet it is one of the nation’s busiest facilities because…people like coming to New York! Thus Governor Andrew Cuomo’s wacky scheme to tear it down and put up a giant complex in Queens miles away from the Times Square Bubba Gump is being pointed out as the silly notion that it is.
More to the point, they add, Aqueduct is a 60-minute subway ride from Times Square. They fear that some conventions, trade shows and conferences will decide to go elsewhere. “The industry is skeptical about the viability of the Aqueduct site,” said Jeff Little, a 40-year trade show veteran. “It has the potential to be a big white elephant. It’s true that there are large shows that can’t go to the Javits, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll go to a large facility at Aqueduct.”
The proposed Queens facility (artist’s rendering above) would be the biggest in the nation, and would be paid for in its entirety by the Genting Group, a Malaysian gaming company that would, in return, put in a giant casino and gambling complex attached to the Aqueduct Racetrack.
Call us nutty, but isn’t this the kind of thing that kept Philip Marlowe employed as he investigated the trail of murders left behind by the cover-up? The Internet does save lives!
Our solution: If only there were a way to tear up every Chipotle Grill in Manhattan and combine their square footage, there would be plenty of room for the hugest con center of them all.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.