BOROUGHCON TO SERVE UP POP CULTURE IN NEW YORK’S OUTER BOROUGHS
By Jessica Frazier
BoroughCon, a multi-media multi-fandom convention is New York City’s newest pop culture event. Debuting at St. John’s University in Queens during Memorial Day weekend 2017, BoroughCon will serve anime, comics, live-action media, gaming, and cosplay fandoms over the course of four days. The convention will include panels, workshops, activities, and screenings of movie teasers.
“BoroughCon will have a more intimate setting than other conventions,” says William Freedman, BoroughCon’s chief technology officer. “Guests will have an easier time meeting celebrities compared to some larger, more established conventions.”
According to Freedman, BoroughCon will begin announcing celebrity guests starting in late August. CEO Matthew Goodison-Orr and CFO Victor Lai are using their experience from running Orlando’s KnightroKon anime convention to approach those celebrities and present them at BoroughCon. They expect to attract an array of anime and gaming voice talents, as well as comic book artists and nationally known cosplayers. This, according to Freedman, will lend BoroughCon the credibility to bring aboard household-name talent from film and TV.
For as much planning that goes into creating a convention, Freedman seems to downplay the daunting task. He wears three hats as a BoroughCon creator, multitasking with project management, IT, and publicity for the convention. Freedman has confidence that the management team, comprised of Nassau County attorneys Gary Port and George Sava in addition to himself, Goodison-Orr, and Lai, will make the convention a hit.
Each of the convention’s founders brings a unique and complementary set of skills to the team room. Goodison-Orr has deep industry contacts, Lai is an old hand at convention operations, Freedman combines experience in both journalism and technology, Sava is a highly regarded entertainment lawyer, and Port brings leadership skills developed over a 30-year career as a U.S. Army officer.
Freedman noted that his motivation for joining the BoroughCon team had much to do with civic pride.
“New York Comic Con is a huge deal, but it’s only one week a year,” he said. “There are a couple much smaller local events that don’t have anywhere near its professional gloss. And the literary conventions in New York – the ones focused on science fiction and fantasy on the printed page – are really suffering in terms of attendance and their ability to break even. Meanwhile, Boston has something along these lines every other month. I’m sick of couchsurfing under Red Sox banners.”
BoroughCon was created with the intention of giving the outer boroughs of New York City their own pop culture event. “We wanted to put together a convention distinct from everything else in the area; something for the people of New York, not the tourists,” says Freedman.
The convention is projected to attract 20,000 attendees. The creators of BoroughCon are optimistic that the turnout will be high.
“What else is there to do in New York Memorial Day weekend? [BoroughCon] is for everyone stuck in town,” says Freedman. BoroughCon purposely takes place several months after the yearly cultural phenomena, New York ComicCon. BoroughCon is scheduled to tide over fans who cannot wait until next October to get their ComicCon fix.
BoroughCon’s leadership team is also banking on the diverse group of fandoms covered at the convention to create the strong attendance rate. Freedman boasts: “BoroughCon is a celebration, a gathering of various tribes.”
For more information and updates, visit BoroughCon’s website at: http://boroughcon.com/