A cloudy but warm day in September was the perfect time for the New York City Maker Faire 2018. Though I was fighting this cold for the past week, it wasn't about to stop me from attending one of the biggest geek events of the year, so with hot tea and cough drops in hand, I grabbed my camera bag, laptop, phone, and ... oh yes, my husband and kids ... before heading out early for a two hour trip.
I almost forgot what it was like to see the city in the early bliss of a September morning. This city was stunningly beautiful looking from the outside in, but as we moved in closer across the George Washington Bridge, it became real ... very very real. Still crowded and nerve-wrackingly painful to drive in, the city life was never meant for people like myself who are used to casual driving in the mountains of Pennsylvania and sharing the road with Amish carriages. In fact, I think I enjoyed swimming with the sharks in the darkest, deepest waters off the coast of Hunama Bay Hawaii than driving the rough roads of New York City, but is there really a difference? I mean, both had me gritting my teeth and swearing every 5 minutes. Oh and that was with my husband driving too! I gripped the warm tea mug in my hand as people swirved in and out of cars like they were playing a video game and had multiple lives to spare, horns blew loud and long as raging drivers screamed out their windows at the driver right next to them, who simply turned their music up and ignored everything else. It wasn't even 9am yet and I had already felt a knot in my stomach on top of the pounding headache onset from my sinus congestion and chest cold. But I dragged onward ...
The Maker Faire was being held at the NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE, but the event was so packed that they literally had to shuttle people in from all over the surrounding areas. As we approached CitiField, I could see the line of the shuttle bus alone wrapped all the way around the field parking lot and across the street. It was one amazing turn out that had me absolutely thrilled yet exhausted at the same time. This was going to be a looooong day and I could barely talk to get my interviews in without sounding like Darth Vader. Funny, because I was wearing my Darth Vader sweatshirt just in case I had to impersonate him, so perhaps I could actually pull this cosplay thing off without actually cosplaying? *heavy breathing* The Dark Side shall get this done!
The knot in my stomach turned into excitement when I stepped off the shuttle bus and out into the sea of humans, tall and short. I stared at the amount of people who gathered this day with the intent to learn, play and discover something new or even something old that they cherished from their own past and I was taken aback at how the Maker Faire attracted all ages, all genders, all sizes and all with varying interests. It was truly inspiring to be among such talent, intellect, and creative makers. If I'd ever felt a moment of setbacks in my life, today was NOT the day. Today, I was among friends who wanted to teach, learn, and share their discoveries.
I grabbed my son, Alex, who is my Media Production Assistant (he does the photos and videos for me) and we headed over to the Media Check-In for our press badges and equipment check. Then Alex took off across the way to start doing his job while I went to find out where the Press Briefing would be. Luckily for us, it was only but a hop, skip, and a jump away in the Rotunda building with the big Maker Faire robot banner, so off we went to meet the rest of the press in the Media Lounge.
MAker Faire 2019 Press Briefing
The most inspiring moment of the event for me was being able to meet and speak with the Maker Faire Founder and MAKE Magazine Executive Editor, Mike Senese. His enthusiam and love for making and educating is highly contagious and I could see the encouragement in his eyes as he gave me advice on building my own STEAM Fest event in 2019. If I didn't know better, I was developing an intellectual crush on the guy as there is nothing more attractive than an intellectually stimulating and creative thinking conversation. So I left the Press Briefing with an absolute glow and ready to take on the entire faire.
So let's go explore the Faire ....
THE HAND OF MAN
The Hand of Man is an interactive sculpture by Christian Ristow. It is compromised of a 26 ft long hydraulically actuated human hand which is capacble of picking up and crushing cars, and a glove device that controls it.
SECOND LIVES | Friendship LLC & RPI Civil & Environmental Engineering, School of Architecture
Innovations in Architectural Product & Design, Engineered Materials, Innovative Structural Elements, Tensile Structures, Tiny-Houses, 3D Printed Buildings or Building Components, Ultra-Sustainable Products, & Waste Products Turned into Building Parts
CRAFT & SPROUT TINY TECH HOMES
I love watching these homes being built on Home & Garden Network, but to see them live and in person, is beyond words. These homes are compact, transportable, energy eefficiant, and definitely holds up to the saying "a place for everything and everything in its place".
NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE FABLAB
I might be a bit bias here, but I love FABLAB. Not only are they a team of master craftsmen, entrepreneurs and expert technicians, but they're also from my own part of the world in Bethlehem PA. I was able to catch up with Jeff Boerner, Director of Northampton Community College's Fab Lab and discuss their amazing mechanical dragon, TOBOR. TOBOR is a larger-than-life robotic dinosaur with wireless remote control that can pick things up and be driven around! TOBOR was built to showcase the many talents of our instructors at the NCC Fab Lab in Bethlehem, PA. Jeff says they've been working on the dragon for about 2 years now, it's all volunteer work and hopefully by next year they can add on a little fire breathing.
Adam Savage and the about-to-debut Science Channel Mythbusters Jr cast was live on stage at Maker Faire. They discussed tales of tackling myths similar to those seen in MythBusters, ranging from driving, explosions, chemistry, physics, popular culture and more.
I absolutely love cosplay, but I have yet to create my own piece by piece. However, after hanging with the Mandalorian Mercs for a little and finding out what's involved with it, I'm determined to team up with my son and husband to create our own suits sometime soon.
And some Battle Bots ... WeDiscover these Battle Bots going head to head ... or metal to metal .. at the NYC Maker Faire 2018.
At the end of the day
As the evening came to a close, I had to grab my MAKER t-shirt, magazine, and travel cup so I could cherish this amazing day until next year. I was sad that I was only able to spend one day at this weekend event, but it was a day totally worth the time, money, and travel. There aren't many events that I can walk away from at the end of the day and truly have enjoyed myself, but MAKER Faire NYC had everything ever wanted out of an event and more. It was fun and educational, something I have always tried to influence in our community, both young and old.