Dr. Beverly Crusher
Margery Muñoz, 35, loves "Star Trek" because it was the first thing on TV that she thought showed a multicultural cast. Muñoz was dressed as Dr. Beverly Crusher, whom she idolizes.
Dr. Beverly Crusher lost her grandmother in the episode from Season 7 of "Next Generation" and went on what Muñoz described as "tangent" — she decided to leave Starfleet for an alien romance. Because of her strength and risqué attitude, Muñoz looks up to Dr. Beverly Crusher's character.
Jadzia Dax and Cmdr. William T. Riker
Jeannine Cannon, 26, was dressed as Jadzia Dax from "Deep Space Nine." Jadzia Dax is among Cannon's many favorite characters, which also include Spock, Data and Seven of Nine — to name a few.
"I love the view of the future and space and discovering of other planets," Cannon said. "To see it [the future] envisioned in a peaceful way is so beautiful."
Billy Ellmore, 33, grew up loving "Star Trek," but aside from that, he believes the franchise is one of the "most progressive television shows that ever existed."
"There are so many metaphors for cultural acceptance and problems with the human race as it stands — racism, homophobia — that are mirrored in the show and addressed in metaphorical ways to give us a reality check," Ellmore said.
"Aside from being a sci-fi show, it is a lot more in-depth than most people give it credit for," Ellmore added. "It is a nerdy show, but it is a good reflection of humanity."
Ellmore's favorite character is Uhura, USS Enterprise chief communications officer, whom he has always had a crush on. Ellmore attended "Star Trek": Mission New York dressed as Cmdr. William T. Riker and equipped with a tricorder, which is a multifunction handheld device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and data recording in the fictional universe of "Star Trek."
Capt. Kirk: First Crush
Caroline Materasso, 13; Kennedy Havens, 10; Christina Havens, 47; and John Havens, 8, represented different divisions of Starfleet: medical, engineering, command and science.
"I've been watching 'Star Trek' since 1969," Christina said. "I've watched every single series, and I'm looking forward to the new series coming out."
Christina has passed her love for "Star Trek" on to her children, Kennedy and John.
"Captain Kirk, or William Shatner, was my first crush, when I was 8 years old," Christina added. "But now, Simon Pegg has made me love Scotty, and [he] is my new hero."
Kennedy chose to wear a blue Starfleet uniform (representing science) because she wants to be a vet when she grows up.
The Perfect Story
Meghan Sanford, 28; Seth Urban, 35; and Sam Urban, 29, grew up with "Star Trek" and fell in love with the storytelling and the characters, especially Capt. Picard.
"The stories have everything: They're funny; they've got romance, history, intrigue," they said. "You don't have to follow the whole plotline; you can pick it up as you go."
Michael Nguyen loves the adventure and positive outlook of the future that "Star Trek" promises.
"In the last couple years, the thing that I have loved most is getting together with other fans that love [the franchise] as much as I do and dressing up," Nguyen said, adding that he wears a costume to almost every convention he attends.
His favorite character is Cmdr. William T. Riker from "The Next Generation" because he sets an example for professionalism but, at the same time, is human and natural.
Nguyen wore a "Wrath of Khan" uniform to "Star Trek": Mission New York. Nguyen said that people often remarked he would make a great Sulu, who was played by George Takei on the original "Star Trek" TV series.
Nguyen had the opportunity to meet Takei two years ago at another convention. At the time, he also had a teacup and saucer prop with him, in reference to the teacup Sulu is seen with in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."
Sacredness of Life
Ines Peek was dressed as an original character she created, which she said holds an admiral position in the "Star Trek" universe.
"Star Trek" has been a significant part of Peek's life since she was a child, and it helped her through a rough time.
"It saved my life. I was going to commit suicide, and 'Star Trek' was on [TV]. And Capt. Kirk made a speech about the sacredness of life, and I thought to myself, 'What the hell am I doing?'"
Peek also noted that she met her husband through "Star Trek," which is the biggest reason why she loves the franchise, she said.
Some of her favorite "Star Trek" characters include The Emperor and K'mpec, who was the longest-serving Klingon chancellor of the Klingon High Council.
Darlena Blander, 42, was dressed as one of her favorite characters, Losira, who appears in the original series.
"I was brainwashed by my parents, probably while I was still in my mother's womb," Blander said. "My parents were big sci-fi fans and would always have us sit in front of the TV and watch episodes from the original series together."
However, watching the show had a deeper meaning for Blander and her family.
"My parents would always ask us how we felt about the episode and what we learned from it, so a love for 'Star Trek' and what it represents has always been engrained in me since I was young," Blander said.
Seeking New Experiences
Suhail Afzal, 36, has been watching "Star Trek" since he was 11 years old.
"My dad used to work the night shift at Rite Aid, so 'Star Trek' was a show my mom would let me stay up late for because we had to take my dad to work afterwards," Afzal said.
"What I really love about the show is that there is so much out there to experience and learn," he added. "I think that is really what I have taken away from the show — the idea that you can live your life stuck in a routine and doing the same boring thing every day, or you can go out there and do just what they say in 'Star Trek': seek out new life and new civilizations."
The sense of adventure in "Star Trek" really motivated Afzal to live his life in a similar way: He has traveled around the world, lived on four different continents and learned several different languages.
"I think a lot of that comes from me seeing the different characters on the show open themselves up to new experiences and learn from other alien life-forms that they met," Afzal said.
Afzal was dressed as Quark from "Deep Space Nine," although Quark is not actually his favorite character. Rather, he decided to play Quark because most Ferengi — a fictional extraterrestrial race from "Star Trek" — are about his height, he said.
Ferengi are also a capitalistic species, and Afzal works on Wall Street in New York City, so he feels he can most relate to the alien species.
"They are always the ones looking for profit, working the angle — and I like those qualities," Afzal said.
A Sign of Hope
Lawrence Neals, 40, has been watching "Star Trek" since he was 7 years old. He would stay up past midnight to watch new episodes that aired on Channel 11 in New York after the "The Honeymooners."
"I really shouldn't have been watching it because I should have been asleep," Neals said. "When I first started watching the show as a kid, the first thing that stood out to me was the bright colors and the funny creatures … But as the years have gone on, the thing I have liked about it is that it has always been very hopeful. It has always shown — and I was kind of an outsider as a kid — all these people working together [regardless] of whether they were a man or women, black or white, tall or short."
As an actor, Neals has always been inspired by the acting on the show.
Neals mentioned that he was a cosplay panelist for "Star Trek": Mission New York. He is seen in this photo wearing Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's dress uniform as seen in "Star Trek: Nemesis," when Picard married Cmdr. William T. Riker and Cmdr. Deanna Troi.
Ava Vitali, 32, grew up watching "Star Trek" with her dad every Saturday at 7 p.m.
"I think the show speaks a lot to the values I was raised with in my family," she said.
Vitali is dressed as Cmdr. Deanna Troi, who is one of her all-time favorite "Star Trek" characters. Vitali also loves Vash, who was a human archaeologist in "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." Vitali said she can relate closely with Vash because she is also an archaeologist.