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NFT.NYC: From Times Square to ApeFest

Chirag Hira recaps the three days he spent at NFT NYC.

Did you miss out on NFT NYC or only make it out to the events that your NFTs unlocked? Well, you’re in luck because I was able to go to the conference and attend multiple events due to my collection.

One of the biggest showcases of NFTs in the world took place in New York the week of June 20-23. The official conference really kicked off in full on the 21st, but there were events that took place the weekend before and after.

The main location of the conference was at the Marriott Marquis, which was in Times Square. Even if you weren’t able to make it inside to the conference, one of the biggest attractions was right outside. So many NFT and crypto brands made sure to make their presence felt in Times Square.

Day 1

After Ianding in New York, I went straight to the Marriott Marquis conference check-in line. I arrived at the hotel before 9:00 a.m. and was able to get a complimentary coffee and my badge within an hour. After I walked out, I was shocked to see the line wrapped around many stories. There were easily thousands of people in line, and it likely took them hours to get a badge.

First lesson of NFT.NYC: Get in line early if you want a badge for the conference.

After securing the badge and taking a quick stroll around the Marquis, I met up with fellow Ape, Jamie. Together we went to the OnChainMonkey rooftop event. During the large get-together for the community they gave out free merchandise to holders, and there was brunch and an open bar. After most of the place was filled, they had a panel with the founder and other investors, along with people connected to the project. You could tell there was a lot of excitement in the air with the OCM Karma mint around the corner.

After the OnChainMonkey event, Jamie and I came back to the Marriot as we had to get in line to acquire the Doodles pass for access to the week-long events that were planned. This took up a considerable amount of time and prevented us from visiting the Rug Radio and Ghxsts events that were on the agenda for the middle of the day.

Second lesson of NFT.NYC: Have your calendar of events planned out in advance, and add a buffer for traffic and lines.

Even though we missed it you can still check out this showcase by Ghxsts:

Since we decided to maximize the rest of the night, we headed to Pier 17 to check in for ApeFest. We thought the line was going to be massive because of the first day, but it ended up being pretty short.

Third Lesson of NFT.NYC: Check the Twitter sentiment of ApeFest or any large-scale event before heading in that direction.

Since we got there early, my first day of ApeFest turned out to be really cool. I got to explore the entire venue, have enough time to get merch, and also stop at the booths for food and drinks. The headliner was Lil Baby and he played about an hour-long set. It was a great way to kick things off to the week, but the night wasn't over.

After ApeFest, we went to the Doodles event at The Palladium.

During this event, they announced the Pharrell Williams hiring as Chief Brand Officer. After that, Doodles 2 was announced and the night ended on The Chainsmokers set. Overall it was a fun day, but waking up at 4 a.m. to catch the first flight out of Boston definitely took a toll.

Day 2

I kicked off Day 2 by going around to check out more of the booths now that everyone was set up. There were EIGHT levels of NFT or crypto-related booths. In fact, there were so many booths that I’m concerned about the longevity of most of these projects in a prolonged bear market. Still, it was a really well-executed conference with a meal, snacks and beverages throughout.

While I was exploring the Marriott Marquis, I ran into Lea, who does The Crypto Minute. The content she provides is always relevant to what’s happening in the space and I thought would be a perfect addition to this piece. Coincidently, it was also midway into the trip.

Check out her quick video on all the happenings in crypto over the past week:

Next, I met up with Luca, who I’ve been buying and trading NFTs with from the start of 2021. It’s actually kind of funny to have communicated with someone in the “metaverse” for so long but only meeting up for the first time because of such a large event. We decided that we wanted to go to Cooltopia, which was all the way to the other side of town.

Still, that didn't stop us. I did get a great tip in advance from my co-worker, Justin, who was already at the venue. The line for non-holders was absolutely wild and I had to put Luca and his friend Alex as my guests since I was the Cool Pets holder. This easily saved us many hours once we arrived after walking across town in the pouring rain.

Cooltopia was really cool. The way everything was laid out, you could see the future use case of the brand and IP. The wristband connected to many touchpoints across the venue and you could acquire points while playing all the games to win free merch. I didn’t end up playing much because the rumor started spreading that Future was going to be performing at ApeFest.

It was already later than the first night, so I knew we weren’t going to be that early. Justin and I arrived to The Roots already being in the middle of an awesome set and Future came out shortly thereafter.

Future performed a bunch of hits for 45 minutes and honestly, it was my favorite set that I saw at ApeFest. While Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Eminem did perform on the last night, the energy for Future’s set was unmatched.

Next up, Justin and I headed from Pier 17 to Pier 40 to the Magic Eden Yacht that was going to cruise around the Hudson. I got access to this event by holding a Champ’s only pass. This pass has been a game-changer personally. With so much going on in my day-to-day with work, this pass allows me to flip NFTs at my pace while keeping me plugged into the latest plays.

It was a great event and it was really cool to get some time to chat with Champ about what he’s built and also run into KMoney. I’ve seen K’s account grow from under 10,000 followers, so it was great for me to meet the person behind all the content.

Day 3

Duty calls, and I had to work most of the morning, which led me to miss out on attending the invite that I had for The Drop. I really wanted to check it out because the premise was to recharge after a long night and meet other important people in the space. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The Azuki event also looked incredible, and I couldn’t make it, but you can enter the alley below:

After work, I went to the Doodles pop-up factory and stood in line for 2 12 hours just to mint the Genesis Bucket. After purchasing my Genesis Bucket, I headed over to the Doodles lounge, with Henry and Maia, where I got a shirt of my Doodle. After spending some time there, we all got together and headed to the last night of ApeFest.

As mentioned earlier, Lil Wayne, Eminem and Snoop Dogg were the main performers for the night, which was a great way to close out a week full of festivities. Eminem and Snoop dropped their new Bored Ape themed music video and you could tell that this was just the start of something huge. Feels like next year is going to be a Bored Ape themed music festival.

Check out this awesome thread from Bored Ape Yacht Club breaking down the full week:

Quick tips on how to have a successful NFT.NYC trip in the future:

  1. Pack light or bring a half-empty suitcase. There’s a lot of swag available.
  2. Bring a comfy pair of shoes to walk in.
  3. Travel with a portable charger.
  4. Have an itinerary of where you’re going to go on a day-to-day basis.
  5. Get there a day early to settle in.
  6. Network in advance and plan meeting places or times with people to establish connections.
  7. Find some venues that are displaying art.
  8. Connect with communities of NFT projects that are new to you.
  9. Have a COVID-19 test ready for when you get home.

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