With all of the cons popping around New York City there certainly does seem to be a common theme – they take place in Manhattan. Whether it’s New York Comic Con at the Javits Center or Five Points Festival down by South Street at Pier 36, the con scene is a long trek for those in the outer boroughs. And it’s a trek that isn’t especially kind when riddled with commuter delays. That’s where Borough Con comes in.
2017 being its first year, Borough Con, hosted at St. John’s University in Queens, sought to provide the con experience we know and love to comic and popculture fans in Queens.
Going through Memorial Day weekend, Borough Con boasted special guests, activities and the overall con feel.
Although a small con, and only in its first year, Borough Con managed to snag the likes of voice actor Steve Blum, everyone’s childhood fan favorite Dante Basco, Frodo’s very own BFF Sean Astin, a legitimate prince – Fahad Al Saud, and many more. Due to the smaller size of the con, the entire experience was far more intimate. Rather than a soulless auditorium, guests spoke in the school’s smaller scale seating arrangements that provided banter between the audience and the guests. This created an incredibly unique experience for con-goers that wouldn’t normally be available at a larger con where guests are shoved about by security. It was incredibly awesome being able to have a conversation with Steve Blum in the audience, it felt like you were hanging out with friends rather than paying to see a celebrity.
In addition to panels, the con also hosted an array of activities littered throughout the college campus. Activities included dance performances held outside, SciFi Speed Dating, as well as a gaming center. The gaming setup ranged from a multitude of multiplayer setups across everything from a widescreen plasma to a 12 inch CRT TV. You know, like the kind your grandma has. There was definitely something for everyone.
Just a short time after an attempt on Jason David Frank’s life at Phoenix Comic Con, there was an aura of fear in the air. If someone could bring weapons with the intent to hurt others there, what could happen here? Luckily Borough Con put minds to ease with rigorous security and metal detectors at the entrance.
Swag is something that has fallen in decline over the years at cons we attend. I remember the first con I attended ended with me going come packed with free decks of Magic the Gathering cards and other free toys. Now you usually expect a poster of something you’ve never heard of and maybe a lanyard if you tweet something. That said, it brought smiles to see the Quik Bunny prancing around, handing out NesQuik. Definitely the best swag I’ve seen in a while.
Ultimately Borough Con was a fun experience. It provided something unique for those who are used to the con scene while also provided a con for those who are normally trapped in the far reaches of Queens, unable to attend other cons. It will be exciting to watch how this one evolves over the years.