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BrunchCon NYC is back — should you give it a second chance?

After its problematic debut last year to an overcrowded venue with safety issues, BrunchCon is coming back to New York. Will it be a better event?
BrunchCon 2017 at Grand Prospect Hall was a crowded, messy affair. Will a new venue and other changes make it better? Credit: Brandon Hardin
BrunchCon 2017 at Grand Prospect Hall was a crowded, messy affair. Will a new venue and other changes make it better? Credit: Brandon Hardin

One of the most maligned food festivals of last year — and there were several — hopes New Yorkers give it another chance.

What should’ve been a festival of bottomless mimosas, pancake stacks and bacon-flavored everything turned into a hangry scene of long lines, overflowing trash cans, overwhelmed vendors and slippery floors at BrunchCon’s first outing last year.

That said, organizers have made some significant changes for its 2018 event, set to take place on May 20. Most importantly, it has a new venue: Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, which is much larger than last year’s Grand Prospect Hall in South Slope. Last year, some guests waited over an hour and a half to get inside, only to be met with a floorplan of snaking lines and bottlenecks that mean they didn’t get to sample many of the vendors before becoming frustrated and leaving. And no mimosa is worth waiting half an hour at the bar.

They’ve also cut the number of vendors from nearly than 50 to just over 30 — though BrunchCon hasn’t released a list of participants despite promising to do so on April 1 on their Eventbrite ticket page. This is one of the major signs a food event may not turn out as advertised. The unlimited mimosas are back, along with a Bloody Mary bar, plus photo ops, a Museum of Brunch, vendors, games and a dance party with Music Video Time Machine. Prices have also been reduced from $55-$95 to $45-$85.

Of course, the change of venue matters little if there are insufficient cleaning staff, or too many tickets are sold causing dangerous crowding and vendors running out of food. How did last year go so wrong? Metro’s emails and calls for comment went unanswered then, but we’ve reached out again to see what happened and how they plan to ensure this year’s event will go down more smoothly.

That said, this is the organizers’ third year hosting the event, which also takes place in seven other cities besides New York, so they’ve had a chance to hone their methods. And even with everything that went wrong last year, those who arrived right as the event began or stuck it out after the crowds thinned did manage to eat some memorable bites.

But just consider: You could have the same experience — with seating! — at any of the increasing number of restaurants serving brunches around the city, and probably with a wait time that won’t leave you hangry.