The Travel Dispatch

The Wonderful Wizarding World of PotterCon

This post was born 13 Oct, 2014 8 Comments
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So I’m definitely at least 3/4th of a nerd (ok fine – 15/16th of one).  If you’re not one of my close friends, you probably wouldn’t guess this about me as I’m still about halfway in the closet. If I met you in a bar I would come off as cool and sophisticated and worldly (at least that’s what I tell myself).

But in truth, as I’m strategically tossing my hair and giving you those come hither eyes while pretending to laugh at every thing you say, I’m honestly thinking about how I need to make sure to leave the bar no later than 10:46pm in order to get a good seat for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. (While living in London, I once dragged my date out of the pub and made him wait in line with me for the release of the final Harry Potter book. He was so relieved when I finally got my hands on it at 3am and it was time to head back to my place. However, his happiness was short-lived when all I did was strip naked, cuddle close to him in bed, open my book and …….read. All. Night. Long.).

Studying Abroad in London
Flashback to that time I was 20 waiting in line for Deathly Hallows. I dated him? His hair’s prettier than mine.
Me after reading the final Harry Potter book
18 non-stop reading hours later, I was an emotional wreck (and yes I am aware my room was a bit messy)

Well, I was sitting home alone on a Saturday morning with no plans for the day ahead when I happened to see a sponsored ad on Facebook about the second annual PotterCon (adult-only style) in NYC that same afternoon. An hour later I found myself at the costume shop near Union Square debating over whether or not I should get the wand that makes noises and lights up or the one that does nothing but looks more realistic (ugh life is full of tough decisions).

I sent out an owl of texts to pretty much everyone I knew trying to get them to meet me at platform 9 ¾  so we could take the Hogwarts Express (ok ok – the R train) over to Brooklyn but it was a futile effort. Apparently people had better things to do at 2pm on a Saturday (stupid Muggles). So I ended up at The Bell House bar (or rather Hogsmeade) sipping on Butterbeers and Phoenix Tears while all alone in my dress robes.

I solemnly swear I am up to know good
I solemnly swear I am up to no good

The Sorting…

The first order of business upon entering The Bell House Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was to be sorted into a house. The ‘professor’ in charge was the highlight of the event with her ridiculously fake British accent, seemingly offhanded NYC witticisms, and sardonic facial expressions.

As Dumbledore (spoiler alert!) had tragically died, she was tasked with appointing a new Headmaster to help with the ceremony and the criterion for candidacy was quite rigid – “Is there anyone really wise around here?….Anyone?….You in the back?….No? Ok then, anyone gay?”

Dumbledore at NYC's Pottercon 2014
Opening with the Sorting Hat song…Oh you may not think I’m pretty, but don’t judge on what you see, I’ll eat myself if you can find a smarter hat than me…

Questions were submitted via the Goblet of Fire to help determine the final dorm for the first-years. Things like ‘Would you rather be a house elf, goblin, or a troll?’ or ‘What would you do if you caught Crookshanks? Cuddle it, feed it, or cook it?’ Clearly choice number 3 made the audience indignantly cry out – ‘SLYTHERIN!’

Goblet of Fire at Pottercon
Clearly, rough times have befallen the Ministry of Magic as evidenced by the above example of budget cuts…

She even threw a few scenario-type problems into the mix along with jokes only those intimately familiar with NYC would relate too (after all this event was 99.6% locals).

“A Muggle accuses you of being a wizard (I imagine in that passageway between the 1, 2, 3 and the F,M,L). How do you react?”

“You belong to Hufflepuff – of course you do, you’re from Williamsburg”

“Ahhh the lone one from Manhattan. Congratulations, you ventured from your comfort zone and figured out how to take the A-train. You’re obviously a Ravenclaw,”

Pottercon in NYC
Most unrealistic thing about Harry Potter books…
The sorting ceremony at NYC
…a ginger with two friends

The Trivia Round…

After the sorting hat (and judgmental audience) left many witches and wizards feeling dejected by not getting into Gryffindor, it was time to choose the Hermione, Ron, and Harry of the room by way of a trivia contest.

That was the moment when I first realized it was disadvantageous to have arrived not knowing anyone (heavily drinking alone at the bar while shouting ‘Hufflepuff’ apparently wasn’t a big enough clue that I had a problem) so it was high time for me to start making new friends – and fast.

After working the room trying to flatter my way into the hearts (and trivia teams) of Potterheads with compliments on their brooms, wands, chocolate frogs, Quidditch skills, and lightening scars, I still found myself without a group (this was new to me as I was never picked last in gym class, but seriously – dorky kids adults can be quite cliquey).

Rather than wallow in defeat, I took 2 (or 4) shots of fire whiskey for inspiration and came up with a brilliant idea – just tell people I’m a blogger and want to write a story about the event and do they mind if I snap a pic. Alohomorajust like that, the doors were open and I found my new trivia group (I mean everyone secretly likes having their photo taken, right?).

Pottercon 2014 in NYC
Harry Potter, Professor Trewlaney, and myself. Thank you for befriending the weird, drunk writer. You made my experience that much more amazing and fun.

We dubbed ourselves the Horny Crumpled Snorkacks (upon further reflection, I think we meant Crumple-Horned Snorkacks) and were warned that snobby prefects would be lurking around the room confiscating phones and calling out cheaters.

Apparently I made the right friends as we came in second place (though credit must go out to HP – Professor Trewlaney and I were little to no help despite our unusual amount of dorky knowledge on the subject). None the less, our team dominated in the ‘book or movie’ section and even combated the nargles while making our way through the magical creatures round. We would have had a perfect score if not for the super easy question of “Kreacher prepared what meal when they broke into the Ministry of Magic?” (Seriously?!?).

Costumes, drinks, and subway rides…

The rest of the event went off without a Hippogriff and included plenty more rounds of drinks and costume foolery with an instagram-led costume contest.

But hey, it’s hard to go wrong with an adult-only party thrown with the intention of bringing fans together to drink in the middle day while wearing their favorite set of robes (in a way that’s completely socially acceptable at least). I’m already counting down to PotterCon 2015 and have a feeling it’s going to catch on and possibly be the next ‘big thing’ to come to NYC (I mean, it grew from only 10 people last year to almost 200 this year).

I even wore my full Harry Potter costume on the subway ride home as I just wasn’t quite ready to take it off and have the magic end. Trust me – the reactions were enough to fill a completely new post that I’m sure you’ll see eventually.

So now I leave you with more photos and one more terrible Harry Potter joke…

All dressed up in Pottercon
Did you survivi Avada Kedavra….


Pottercon in Brooklyn New York
….because you’re drop dead gorgeous


Have any embarrassingly dorky moments you wanna share? Let me know I’m not the only below…

Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?

Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!

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8 Comments on "The Wonderful Wizarding World of PotterCon"

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Lily Lau

We all love Harry Potter, our nerdie girl! 🙂 That Gryffindor scarf is a must!


How could we miss that… Seems like it was a night full of fun! And you look wonderful in that Gryffindor outfit! 🙂

Karen Warren

I’m a Harry Potter addict but I must confess I’ve never tried anything like that!


Why didn’t I know about Pottercon? You should def find more wizard friends in NYC (ahem me). I have muggle friends just as disguise. Anyways, I spilled my smoothie at “… his happiness was short-lived when all I did was strip naked, cuddle close to him in bed, open my book and …….read. All. Night. Long.” So thanks for the laugh, I feel so related, I mean do other people act differently?