The place everyone seems to love to hate, Terminal 5 is at 610 West 56th street in Hell’s Kitchen just off 11th avenue. I heard recently that no-one says Hell’s Kitchen anymore and you should say Midtown West, but I try and avoid using the m word as that festering bog of eternal stench known as Midtown has about as many redeeming features as my face. The closest you’ll get on the subway is Columbus Circle, about a 15-minute walk away on the A,B,C or D, although a few minutes further gives you N,Q,R or 1 options.
Terminal 5 has a capacity of around 3000 which makes it by far the largest venue under the Bowery Presents organisation. Once you arrive you’ll find one of those tell-tale signs that you’re heading to a larger venue than you’d probably like; the bag check and patdown.
After you’ve (hopefully) successfully not been deemed a danger to society it’s time to tackle the labyrinth as there are no fewer than 4 levels in total, each with multiple bars, including a rooftop bar at level 4.
The other levels have a view of the stage, here’s the view from the 1st floor, the seated area across is sectioned off for VIPs.
Personally I would recommend just heading straight in and trying to get a decent spot near the stage because where you end up will ultimately dictate how good your experience is going to be. Don’t allow bad planning to ruin your evening. You’re probably better off on the left-side of the stage (as you look at it) because it is the furthest away from the entrances and therefore the influence of latecomers trying to breeze to the front of the crowd 2-minutes before a band comes on.
If you are going to imbibe then make sure you’re feeling flush, even a soul-destroying bud-lite is going to set you back $7. I just threw up a little in my mouth.
The toilets are almost offensively clean and not to mention numerous, you could even take a dump in one of these and no-one would care, tear rule#1 out the book.
The sound quality is, shall we say, a lottery. If you can get a decent spot on the floor then it usually isn’t too bad but now I’m just damning by faint praise (credit where it’s due, when I saw Chromatics and Glass Candy recently the sound was good). If you go upstairs or end up downstairs but away from the main floor space then you’ll be in for a rough evening, make no mistake. Because of the peculiar floor plan and multiple levels leading to a high ceiling, it can all start to sound a bit like an air hangar if the mix isn’t right.
Ultimately Terminal 5 is a pit of despair, blocks from civilisation, bad expensive beer, often plagued by bad sound and poor sightlines and with no decor to even give it a hint of character. The only redeeming feature is when a band is playing well enough to make you forget your location, and with Bowery Presents’ record of booking good acts here you’ll most likely be coming back for more like the gluttons for punishment that we all are. I don’t hate the place as I’ve seen some great bands play there, but I’d much rather have seen those bands somewhere else. No-one ever said “oh I’d love to see that band at Terminal 5!”.
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