By Samantha Grimwood
New York City: the place where dreamers and believers go to achieve their wildest dreams. NYC is a place I have always wanted to see and experience for myself. My first experience with the big city was the cult classic Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Even though Kevin McAllister was “lost” in the city, he did all the things I would do as a kid if given the opportunity.
However, my first time in the city, I wasn’t given a business credit card with little to no limit, and I am not a child running from two criminals. Instead, I was given the opportunity to work with The Beat Editor-In-Chief Heidi MacDonald. So, I packed up and drove eight hours to New York City from my little piece of paradise in Greenbush, Maine to attend New York Comic Con for the first time. First impressions of the city were crowded and intimidating; my first night, I got lost on the subway for two hours. I caught a nasty cold on my second day and on top of it, I was starting a new job!
I think there is a misconception about NYC and the people that live there. While this is the city that never sleeps, the people here are on another level. They are proud of their city and want people to experience it the way they live it. But be prepared to be run over if you stop in the middle of the sidewalk, or really anywhere people are walking. As many New Yorkers will tell you, “If you act like an asshole, you’re gonna be treated like an asshole.”
They even have their own language, and you will stick out like a sore thumb if you don’t catch the lingo. Pro tip: If you are ordering pizza, you have to say “I want a slice,” not “I want a piece of cheese pizza.” There is a general understanding of what you mean and want when you talk like a New Yorker that doesn’t need more than a few words.
The one and only thing that was a constant stressor for me was the subway. My first night I accidentally rode the subway till the end of the line; I had just driven 8 hours to get to the city and was stressed beyond belief. I was supposed to get off five stops before and my phone was at 2 percent. I was in tears and so confused, I broke down. That was until this really wonderful transit worker approached me, and ended up helping me find an Uber and waiting with me until the driver arrived. She was my saving grace and brought me back to reality. The city isn’t all bad, and if you ask people, they are willing to help you nine times out of 10. Once I caught my breath and calmed down, I was able to enjoy the city the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
NYCC is the largest con I have ever been to and for my first day, I was Heidi MacDonald’s shadow. Let me tell you: I met more people than I can keep track of. Each and every one one of them had something so fascinating to talk about. I meet famous comic artists, writers, business owners, and fandom icons. I am a small-town girl who had only ever seen these people on TV or in magazines, and here they were in the flesh. Needless to say, I was in awe but had to keep my composure.
My first time in New York City and at New York Comic Con gifted me with a bundle of memories that I will hold onto forever. Besides getting lost and getting sick, I was able to live out a fantasy I’ve had since I was a kid. I conquered the subway and watched in awe as the titans of the nerd realm worked. ‘Til next year!