Anime NYC held its second event this November, down at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. After an estimated attendance of 20,000 in its first year, the event gained over half again as many attendees in its second year, growing to around 36,000.
After a smooth run in its first year, Anime NYC saw some growing pains in its second year, having had to revise its queuing guidelines more than once, despite using more of the Javits center compared to the previous year.
The event kicked off with a special declaration by New Your City Council Member Ben Kallos, who spoke on his history with anime and officially declared “Anisong World Matsuri Day” in the city.
Crowding bottlenecked the initial rush into the dealer room, which left con-goers in line for a while before bag checking at the dealer room entrance was momentarily halted to let the crowd through, before resuming normally for the rest of the convention.
Both the dealer room and the artist alley grew this year, with the dealer room easily being almost twice as big as last year’s. The dealer room played host to a wide variety of vendors, from major labels to independent retailers, selling anime, manga, figures, clothing, and everything inbetween.
Bluefin Distribution, Bandai’s toy and hobby distributor to the US, set their booth up to showcase the US contestants for the Gunpla Builder’s World Cup, exhibiting many unique, custom-built Gunpla and dioramas.
Anime NYC’s panel content this year played host to some impressive programming. One particular highlight was Sunrise’s Gundam NT panel, which included the international premiere of the first 20 minutes of Gundam Narrative, as well as a Q&A with Executive Producer Naohiro Ogata (Gundam Unicorn, Gundam Reconguista in G, Gundam Thunderbolt).
The con benefits from the multitude of food options available throughout Manhattan. Food is present inside the Javits Center, of course, but food trucks, food stands, and local restaurants were all available for hungry con-goers.
One disadvantage of the convention’s locations is the lack of an attached hotel. Instead, con-goers were scattered throughout the various hotels of Manhattan, making socializing after convention hours difficult. While not necessarily a “convention activity,” many con-goers find social interaction outside of the convention space just as important and enjoyable an activity as walking the dealer room, attending panels, or photographing cosplayers.
That said, many of the hotels were as little as a ten minute walk or less from the Javits Center, and Manhattan’s layout made navigation through the city simple.
In its second year, Anime NYC grew to become the biggest anime event on the east coast, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition, there’s still plenty of the Javits Center to utilize, as the convention continues growing. This year did see some growing pains, and no doubt there are more to come as the event grows even larger, but the Anime NYC team appear to be quick learners, so I have faith in their continued success.