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Just as I missed San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, now it’s time to miss New York Comic Con, a show I’ve been attending since 2016, and one that I’ve come to appreciate not for the show itself — NYCC is a strange, ungainly beast that can be fun, but offers just as much chance of exhaustion with little to show for it — but for the trip to New York every year, at the point where fall is just starting and New York feels that little bit more magical as a result.

I mean, sure; sometimes the weather is just a wet, cold shitshow at this time of year and that’s not really any fun, but still — it’s still New York City! As much as I want to be cynical about the city, as much as I’ve come to disapprove of Times Square and its crowds, as much as I might want to grump or gripe about the place, I can’t. I love New York City for all the tourist-y reasons (well, not Times Square; that place really is a nightmare) and all the reasons that the city isn’t like anywhere else I’ve lived; I love the architecture, the oppressive wonder of the whole place. I love the pace of it, the feel of it. The exploration of it. It’s a city that I genuinely, wholeheartedly, adore.

(It’s a genuinely stupid thing, I know, but I remember walking past 30 Rockefeller Plaza on a nightly basis a couple of years ago; it was on my way from the Javits Center to my hotel, which was out in the middle of nowhere, it felt like. Every single night of my trip, I’d walk past it in the evening, and it was dark, and I’d feel just a little bit like I was living in the TV show of my life. There’s something magical about that, despite everything.)

And I’m not there this year.

The sadness about missing it crept up on me, unlike my feelings about missing San Diego. There, I was sad about not going for weeks in advance, whereas New York didn’t really occur to me until last week, when I realized I’m used to the travel and the eating at weird restaurants and the hustle and the noise and the everything at this time of year. It feels wrong not being there, but how many things this year haven’t felt wrong by this point?

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