This year at New York Comic Con I think I spent more time in panels than I ever had before. Part of that is because I was usually standing in line for sometimes up to 3 hours to get into a the panel which caused me to miss out on other interesting panels my line wait conflicted with. This year the max I waited for anything was about an hour, and I think I got into everything I actually wanted to.
This year NYCC implemented 2 new changes with panels on the main stage. I wrote about one of them previously, which involved clearing out the rooms ahead of time. The other change they made, which wasn’t announced until a few days before the convention, was that they were going to start handing out wristbands each morning for main stage panels. Overall I liked the combination of these 2 changes. The clearing of the rooms meant people that wanted to see a panel that started at 3PM, didn’t sit through an earlier panel they didn’t care about, just to make sure they got into the panel they wanted. I know I’m guilty of having done just this at several panels over the years. Now I was able to get a wristband for the specific panels I wanted, and didn’t take space away from people that actually wanted to be in the panel I was squatting in. This was still an issue for other panels that weren’t in the Main Stage, but this was a good start.
I could give you a rundown on all of the panels, but that has been done a million times already on other sites. Many of the panels are either currently online, or will be online available to watch on several sites including YouTube. That being said I had a positive and a negative I wanted to bring up. The negative, was that Patrick Stewart couldn’t attend his own panel this year due to undisclosed circumstances. I was really bummed out about this, because we didn’t find out until we were entering the panel that he wasn’t going to be there. Maria Sirtis, Michael Dorn, and Denise Crosby tried to hold down the fort, but they haven’t been knighted by the Queen of England, so it really wasn’t comparable.
The next day at the American Dad panel, who should show up, but Sir Patrick Stewart himself! While I would have loved to have heard more from him on the panel he did a fair amount of talking which made me happy. While I couldn’t see him where I wanted to, at least I got to see him. The American Dad panel was at the Empire Stage which is now the second largest stage for NYCC. I feel like this room needs to have the same wristband treatment that the main stage received. The only time I was really standing on line for a panel, was mostly due to trying to get into the Empire Stage. That being said, the longest I waited for anything was about an hour.
While I was skeptical before about room clearing, and how long it would take (and it does take time), I think it worked out in the end, for those that wanted to attend something specific. This doesn’t work for everyone though. If for some reason you can’t make it to the con when it first opens, there is a good chance that you will miss out on getting wristbands for the particular panel that you want. Overall I think it still a good system that they should expand upon.