Before we walked into the Javits Convention Center, here in New York City, we knew we were going to enter a place we could not imagine. We knew it was crowded, imaginative and a new experience to have. There were many people going to be here. Most seemed to be dressed in costumes there which were going to make them active participants of the event. They took on the persona of the character and the Anime they wanted to be.
This was three days of fun, excitement, and adventure. You could wander and wonder what you were seeing, and what part of Anime you were becoming a part of. The space was so large you could get lost as you were on your way to be where you wanted to be. The options were endless as you walked to your location and were with fellow members you expected to see.
There were areas for Table Gaming, Expos, the Artists Alley, a Japanese Food Hall, a Show Area, and more. It is all here and open for a visit. Nothing is overly organized to walk to. It is all there wherever you want. It is like a big shopping outlet mall with booth after booth of items for you to buy. And at high prices to consider. Nothing is inexpensive at this event. It is all here for a price. And people are buying as they spend a few hours as they become part of the audience.
ANIME NYC: WHERE TO BEGIN?
When you are at a convention like this you can have anything you can hope for. Nothing can really stop you. You can go from one floor to the next. Your choice. Or you can play it a bit simpler by starting on one floor, finishing it, and then moving to the next.
For us, we started on the bottom floor. This turned out to be the “official” food court. There was a crowd here which was all dedicated to grabbing a bite to eat.
The first thing you notice is that there seems to be anything you want. Nothing in particular. There are Hamburgers, Pizza, Tacos, And some Korean food. This had the longer line we thought of stopping here.
The way you start is by standing in line. This is the place you wait. For 30 minutes you stand and wait and read the menu on the wall. This is Korilla Kitchen. It is their version of a bowl of Korean Ramen Soup. It is vegan or has some pork in it. Made with noodles and some veggies it does smell great.
By the time you get up to the counter, you have a selection of four different options to choose from. All are available and ready to receive. The prices are all the same. This is not cheap. Not here anyway at the Javits Center. If you went to a similar place outside of the center it would be cheaper than what it is here. But after waiting online you might as well give it a try.
With the bowl in your hand, you can go to the side and get a few items to add. Then it is next to find a place to sit and enjoy the meal. That is a good way to go and enjoy.
One thing you do notice here is that the price is not inexpensive. Again, you can buy a slice of Pizza outside for a dollar, when in here you have to pay about eight dollars. And it is not the same. It is better outside.
And this is not the only way to eat in the center. You can go upstairs and see a variety of food carts to try. There are more tacos, ramen, dumplings, and more. There is Mexican food, Indian, Chinese and Japanese food.
The choice is yours as you wait in a long line. We even talked to someone who was having a bag of popcorn for the children. As they mentioned they paid eight dollars for the small bag which was not freshly made. It had come out of a larger bag that was brought in from a truck outside.
It is obvious that the reason you are at the Anime NYC Convention is not because of the variety of food you can have. You are here to attend the conference and see what you can see while you are here. Being seen and shopping is more important than what you eat.
A VARIETY OF TALENT
One thing where you want to go is to see the talent that is here. The talent is not here for a performance. They are here to meet with everyone and sign some photos they have of them. That is what is important.
The line is long and people will wait. They can stand in a line for at least 30 minutes and finally get up to the desk and have the photos signed. They will also try to have a photo taken with the talent before they move on to the next line with a photo they want to have signed by another talent.
This fills the back wall and the lines are long. Everyone wants to see everyone. There are Guests of Honor and Featured Guests. They are from all levels of CEOs to the voice-overs for some of the videos that are created. This is something to visit especially if you are attending the convention over three days.
VIDEO PRODUCTION TO SEE
One thing you notice here is that there are very few video production areas to visit. You can stop by a few of these and have your photo taken with the character. But otherwise, there is no one and no booth. It is very limited. You can find it when you first stop inside, but after that, it vanishes.
People walk around and have seen what they can see. That is limited. It seems to be that the visitors are here to see everyone else, and themselves. They want to visit everyone who is dressed like themselves. They want to see other characters from a variety of Anime videos who want to participate with each other and themselves.
A few stage shows do happen. There is only one event, and these might rotate every few hours. There is nothing more. The Anime team goes on the stage and does a short performance before they vanish. The stage goes dark and people move on to another area to see and walk around.
The one thing you do notice even when you leave an event on stage is that everyone is here to see everyone. People are taking pictures of themselves. Or maybe they are taking pictures with each other who are dressed like each other.
Large or small. Tall or short. One or more. Nothing matters as everyone is taking photos of each other and themselves. It is an amazing place to be as you are part of this environment that is in another place of fantasy and excitement. You all enjoy it no matter what your age. It is about being here and living in this special place that is here today and might be gone tomorrow. That is until the next Anime event that will be back when it can be.
AN ANIME OUTLET
People in costume. People walking and talking. People who are having fun as they visit everything and everyone who might look like them. Even if the person next to you is from a different Anime production it does not matter. You are sharing the experience and excitement with each other.
And what better way to do this except for the shopping area all over. Row after row of retail booths are here. They are all the same size and they go from one aisle to the next. There are prints and posters. Tee-shirts and scarfs. There are toys and images. Dolls and mugs. There are tags and pins. There are tags you can put on a door or hold with your keys. They are all here.
As for the price, this too is not inexpensive. This does cost money. But people are ready to purchase something that is new and different. They have decided to attend the Anime Convention and are ready to purchase what they want. It does not matter. It can be something small or it can be something large like a sword that some of the Anime characters use in their event. It is all here and ready for you.
Also noticed something that was more for thinking. Known as Kyogi Karuta, this is a game you can play with one someone else. It was all in Japanese, so if you did not speak Japanese you had to be able to concentrate and learn the game. This is not something simple to know or to ignore. You have to think about this and focus on how to play it. You can learn it online or even attend a learning session in the city. It is different.
One space that was totally different had to be the three booths next to each other. These were from the Japan Tourist Office. It was interesting to see and learn. But then, since Anime came from Japan this was probably a good place to stop. We spent time with them and learned what was happening in Japan and what is happening with Anime. We even received free items including Anime folders and a bag. That was perfect since the other booths at the convention cost you more than when you shopped outside the center.
ANIME New York City 2021. AN EXPERIENCE
The Anime Convention was an experience for everyone who attended. It was all here for you whether you were fully dressed or just wanted to learn something new by being there.
It did seem like an outdoor mall event that everyone was attending. The difference was that everyone was enjoying being here. They enjoyed themselves. And they enjoyed each other. Whether it was one day or for three days. It was the experience and excitement that mattered.
Anime NYC 2021. It was a safe place to be no matter what your age. I wonder who I can be next year?
ANIME – NYC
429 11th Avenue and 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
“The Jaded Traveler”. Ron Rossi was born and raised in New York. A globalist at heart, Ron is a marketing director by trade, and has lived and worked around the world including Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a country, a people and a culture. So, Ron is always looking for the best in mid-range to budget and street food. He is always on the hunt for a good meal anyone can afford. It is the food of the average citizen that excites him. And with having visited close to 100 countries on 6 continents so far, there have been some pretty good meals.