Held last week a couple of blocks off of Broadway, the HD Communications Summit followed Jeff Pulver’s start-up tradition of finding funky, off-beat, non-traditional spaces to hold events. New Media Stages provided to be an interesting and refreshingly different venue for a conference — with a couple of catches.
New World Stages, located at 340 West 50th Street, New York New York — about two blocks or so away from the “David Letterman” show — had a clean and modern feel, with newer construction in the neighborhood The mostly-underground off-Broadway performance space has five stages and has a European feel imparted by Netherlands-based owner Stage Entertainment. In its previous life, the space was home to an incarnation of Madison Square Garden from 1925 to 1968.
The five theatures are all below-ground, with the “upper deck” about two stories underground and the “ground floor” was three stories underground. As a result, cellular service was effectively blocked — great for the theatre, not so great for someone trying to keep in touch with the office. Getting a cell signal required a three story hike up to ground level.
New Media Stages has WiFi access via password, but finding out how to connect was a verbal procedure.
Seating was comfy, but awkward if you were seated in the natural “middle” and had to get out during the presentations. Perhaps the two biggest drawbacks were a lack of power outlets — my 4 hour battery bit the dust after lunch — and the black inside of the theatre making photography of the speakers a challenge for anything less than a digital SLR.