Second only to the granddaddy of them all, San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con is an event that sprawls across what feels like every inch of Midtown Manhattan. A gargantuan amount of geekery and nerddom is about to descend on the Big Apple like a pair of Kaiju looking for a place to brawl, and the sheer scale of it all practically calls for a guide to help you even begin to make sense of it all. Thankfully, Shapeways is here to ensure you can squeeze every bit of awesomeness you can get out of your time there. So get ready to take some notes, or at the very least, bookmark this page, because we’re going to try and help you out.

Initial Details

NYCC runs from October 5th to the 8th at the Javits Center in the heart of New York City. When it comes to ensuring you’re going to have a good time, planning is the name of the game here. Finding a hotel right now will cost you up to $400 a night for even a basic motel room. Also, several of the more treasured keepsakes you can obtain from NYCC, like photo ops with your favorite actors of stage and screen, as well as autographs from over 200 different famous people and organizations — they all recommend you pay in advance and have specific time slots that can (and will) fill up. Don’t let the one thing holding you back from a photo op with all three of the voice actors from Animaniacs be your procrastination. Speaking of guests…

EVERYONE Is Going to Be There

We’re not kidding. From TV mainstays like Andrew Lincoln (Rick from The Walking Dead) to Jim Cummings (the current voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger), to master of kid-horror R.L. Stine, there is someone for everyone to fanboy/fangirl into a babbling mass of hero worship over. They’re sprinkled all over the convention like little Easter eggs. Catch them at panels, at signings, at photo ops, or maybe even around town between con events. You’re going to need to figure out when and where you can see them, which leads to our next point.

So, You’re Going to Need the App

NYCC is happening primarily at the Javits Center this year, but some panels and screenings are also being held at three other theaters around New York: the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and the Hudson Mercantile. To keep track of the time lines of these panels, as well as keeping a general tab on what’s going on, you need to get the official New York Comic Con app! It’s like this guide, but on your phone and interactive. Keep track of timelines, exhibitors on the show floor, and even autograph sessions. It’s all there, and it’s all instantaneous.

Activate Your Badge, Activate Perks

Along with the app, your badge (your ticket to accessing all of this geeky goodness), can also be activated to protect it in case it’s stolen. As long as it’s activated, you’ve got a way to get another badge made for you (at a small cost, of course). While that would be cool in the first place, activating your badge is also required to unlock NYCC’s extra experience known as NYCC XP. It allows you to access the NYCC app mentioned above, as well virtually scrapbooking your experience at the show, while entering you into contests to win cool swag and access to specialized photo kiosks all over the convention area. It also helps you monitor line lengths, which is always a good thing.

Did We Mention EVERYONE Is Going to Be There?

So, we mentioned in a very passing manner that there are dozens of incredibly famous people going to NYCC, but there are literally hundreds of other talented artists and creators that will be there on the exhibition floor and the Artist Alley. From comic books, to literature, to anime and manga, every single nerdy interest is being represented and thrust into the spotlight. You’re going to need every hour of those four days to try to see everything, but don’t worry if you don’t. There’s always next year!

And of Course, There’s An Afterparty…

And it has a name: NYCC Presents. They’re a fleet of 25 after-con-hours events happening across the city. If there isn’t a cover charge, your con badge gets you in for free. See amazing acts like YouTube sensations Epic Rap Battles of History do their things live, or just hang out real chill-like at events like An Evening with Mark Hamill.

If you’re lucky enough to nab a spot, don’t miss io9 and Kotaku’s Cosplay Ball, a Thursday night blow-out with free food and drinks, arcade games, and an opportunity to get a 3D selfie, courtesy Shapeways. We’ll be there, 3D scanning cosplayers throughout the night. Frankly, we can’t wait.

There’s something for everyone, just like the main event.

So, What Do I Need to Bring? 

Other than your smiling face, your badge, and your expertly-crafted cosplay? A few things. NYCC’s own page recommends a backpack, water bottle, first aid kit, cash (for quirky cash-only situations like signings, photo ops, and cash-only exhibitors), a camera, and portable batteries, among other things.

Visitors should also remember to bring their manners. Comic Con’s organizers have been kind enough to remind us all of the golden rule: “Cosplay is not consent.” It’s about respecting the bodies of cosplayers that are willing to put themselves and their meticulously crafted costumes out there, trusting that others will keep their hands to themselves and not, say, grab a sword, a mask, an armored breastplate… or anything else.

Shifting gears, the city of New York is also bringing their food trucks to bear on the hordes of hungry con-goers everywhere. From Korean BBQ to Cheesesteaks to Fried Chicken, there’s going to be something delicious for all palates to enjoy.

In Conclusion…

There you have it! There’s so much to do at this con, we’re only scratching the surface. There are literally thousands of things to see, and that’s just from the people explicitly selling things there. If you’re going this year, it will be amazing, and we at Shapeways wish you short waits and a lot of luck in seeing what you aim to see this time around.

Hopefully we’ll see you there!

All images via NYCC’s Facebook Page