By Kara Szamborski
Every year, the first thing I do at New York Comic Con is walk the perimeter of the main show floor. Picture the Outer Rim worlds in the Star Wars universe. It’s like that, except instead of encountering a wretched hive of scum and villainy at every turn, you’re more likely to find an awesome mix of unique niche items and mass market remixes. Booths are smaller (and cheaper) at the edge of the floor, which means artisans and pop culture peddlers get a chance to showcase their wares at a convention dominated by enormous, slick booths selling brands.
The show floor fringe is where you’ll find the merchandise you didn’t know you needed until you see it. Sure, ten seconds ago you didn’t even know you could own a custom blended tea themed around the Time Lord lifestyle, but now you do know and you can’t just walk away from something like that.
At Tea and Absinthe, fans flock to sniff at blends based off their favorite fandoms.
“We’re very excited about our Hogwarts blends this year,” said owner Pacita Prasarn. “We worked hard to accurately reflect each house!” She pulled out a tiny black tin of loose leaf tea, and when she opened the lid, the con floor smell vanished to be replaced by a sweet berry concoction wafting from within. A stop here is recommended for anyone needing an olifactory break!
Further back, towards the corset and steampunk goggles vendors, you might be tempted by some adorable Dragon Pets.
“We do shows coast to coast,” said Travis Henry, surrounded by the tiny winged reptiles. “And this is one of our better shows.” Dragon Pets has been operating for fifteen years and has been at NYCC for about a third of that time. They have a new white dragon this year–someone has been watching Game of Thrones!
Near the anime and manga section of the floor, a hatter sways above towers of Tiny Top Hats. Handmade and meticulously painted, each hat is even nerdier than the last.
“This is our biggest show,” said Larry Scott, the mad hatter himself. “People are always happy here, and it’s so busy.” It’s hard not to be happy looking at these small treasures!
Whether you’re looking for a poster, a t-shirt, an action figure, or something a little different, the edge of the main floor is the place to go. Take a lap to discover something new!