Middle Village residents plan to host thousands at sports convention in Manhattan

Middle Village duo Ivy Silberstein and Michael Carbonaro will host a sports card-trading convention on Jan. 29 in the New York Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Ivy Silberstein)

A Middle Village duo will be hosting their first large-scale sports convention where participants can trade cards ranging in monetary value at the New Yorker Hotel later this month.

The event will be held Saturday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ivy Silberstein, also known as Ivy Supersonic, and Michael Carbonaro are moving away from their usual Comic Con events to host a sports card-trading event, which is expected to draw a crowd of 2,000 people. Typically about 10,000 come to an event, but with the high COVID-19 transmission rates, they are expecting fewer attendees. 

Silberstein is an artist known for creating everything from hats to paintings to comics. Carbonaro grew up in Middle Village and started his business, Big Apple Convention, in 1996, after he held his first Comic Con in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in Manhattan. Twenty-five years later, Big Apple Convention hosts thousands in Manhattan every year. 

Ivy Silberstein and Michael Carbonaro have hosted popular Comic Con events in the past. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Saladino.)

Silberstein has spearheaded this upcoming event and taken the reigns by reaching out to her contacts to bring big names to the day. Among those invited are Dwight Gooden, a former professional baseball player for the Mets; Jimmy Hart, a wrestler manager signed with WWE; and Bob Backlund, a retired wrestler.

“I’ve been working with people from the sports industry in different ways and the Comic Book Conventions, so it just seemed like a no-brainer,” Silberstein said. “They’re going to trade cards, buy cards, sell cards and the value can go from $1 to $1 million.”

Participants can also expect the celebrities to sign memorabilia.  

Carbonaro and Silberstein also opened a pop-up store for six months last year in Middle Village. The paranormal art and comic book store was on Metropolitan Avenue and 74th Street. Silberstein said that they may open another similar store in the area. 

The store was opened during the pandemic since the usual Comic Con events weren’t taking place. Now, the company is back to planning and hosting full-scale events and Silberstein is excited to run her first show.

“It’s really fun. It’s good to be back in action instead of sitting here trying to figure out what are we gonna do,” Silberstein said. “I like the challenge. Different people are into sports and sports paraphernalia than comic books, it’s a different animal. But it’s exciting.”

The pair are also working on a Comic Con and pop culture event in March at the New Yorker Hotel. Tickets can be found at their website, BigAppleTradingCardShow.com.