One of the reasons why New York Comic Con is the best comic con on the planet is because it happens in the best city in the world. When Gozer is vanquished in the climax of the original Ghostbusters, Winston Zeddemore bellows “I love this town!!!” And with good reason. New York City is truly the most fantastic epicenter of pop-culture intersections. So, when you’re not at New York Comic Con, you’re in New York City! Here’s how to make the most of that experience by discovering the hidden geeky New York hiding in plain sight.
Famous Geeky Buildings
New York is famous for its skyline, but many of the buildings in the city played pivotal roles in hugely famous franchises. If you opt to get a hotel in Chelsea, near the Fashion District, you’ll be within walking distance of the famous Flatiron Building on 23rd Street and Broadway. Up until this year, the Flatiron Building was the home one of the biggest science fiction and fantasy book publishers in the world, Tor Books, famous series like The Wheel of Time and Ender’s Game. But, the Flatiron itself is famous for its appearances in the Spider-Man movies, too. In the 2002 version of Spider-Man, the Flatiron doubles as the Daily Bugle, the infamous newspaper where Peter Parker works as a photographer.
While you’re on 5th avenue, you may also want to head up to 71st street and check out the Frick House, a building that inspired Stan Lee to create the fictional Avenger’s Mansion in Marvel comics. It’s also not a bad idea to stay in a hotel uptown as you’ll only be a short subway ride away from the convention, and right next to Central Park.
Finally, because it’s a fairly easy ride on N,Q, R, or W trains, getting down to Canal Street and checking out the Ghostbusters firehouse in Tribeca is essential. In the movie, Egon says the firehouse is in a neighborhood that is like a “demilitarized zone,” but nothing could be further from the truth. The Ghostbusters hood — Tribeca — is one of the hippest, safest, and most accessible parts of the entire city and another good option for a hotel if you don’t feel like being jammed into the hustle and bustle of Midtown.
The Best Comic Book, Gaming and Toy Shops In the Universe
As you can probably guess, there’s a lot of great geeky shopping to do while you’re at New York Comic Con. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some hidden gems in both Manhattan and Brooklyn that you should seriously consider checking out.
For fantastic toys, Toy Tokyo in the East Village has everything from the most perfect Godzilla to vintage Star Wars plastic. If you want newer toys and collectibles, Forbidden Planet in Union Square is a great pick, too. Though — and here’s a good local tip — right next door to Forbidden Planet is the world-famous Strand Bookstore and sometimes, you can find amazing deals on out-of-print comic book omnibuses in their graphic novels section. True story!
And, if you’re looking for two geek-centric collectible stores that no one will tell you about, be sure to check out these two off-the-beaten-path shops. The first is called Mysterious Time Machine, and it’s basically like Bilbo’s Hobbit hole. Located down a short flight of stairs in Greenwich Village, this place is stacked to the gills with old comic books, back issues of Starlog, and hard-to-find promo books for all your favorite retro geek movies.
Similarly, if you’re in Brooklyn, near the Williamsburg waterfront, be sure to hit-pu the little-known vintage trading card haven called PopFuzz. This is where you can buy E.T. or 1989 Batman trading cards with the bubblegum still inside the package. We’re not recommending you chew the gum, but this store is well worth your time if you’re looking for some quirky collectibles you didn’t expect to find.
Plus, this little store is easily accessible from the Bedford stop on the New York Ferry. And, if you’re staying at any of the Hilton locations in Manhattan, the water ferry is a great, unique way to get yourself to Brooklyn and see the city at the same time. Because just like an alien planet, sometimes New York is the most awe-inspiring when you get to see it from the outside.
Make sure you use your badge at the scanners next to the interactive wayfinding kiosks for a chance to win 2 tickets to NYCC 2020 including 4 nights accommodation at the DoubleTree Times Square West!