Famous NYC Performance Spaces (That Aren’t Really Music Performance Venues At All)

June 6, 2014 12:56 PM

New York City is home to some of the most famous music venues in the country—even around the world.

From the “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden, and the iconic Radio City Music Hall to newer venues like the Barclays Center, there is no doubt that New York City is the east coast hub for live music. However, many artists have surprised fans by choosing some rather unconventional locations to perform.

Here’s a look at some of the craziest places that your favorite artists have turned into venues:


Ellis Island (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

On June 13, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will perform on Ellis Island, putting on an intimate show and paying tribute to the many migrants who have passed through there. #EdOnEllis

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

NYSEC (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Cyndi Lauper turned the New York Society for Ethical Culture into a concert hall when she performed in 2005 to promote her album “The Body Acoustic.”


Chelsea (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s Pace Gallery is a fitting venue when performing a song called “Picasso Baby.” Over the span of six hours, rapper Jay Z performed his hit song for a select crowd while standing in the center of the gallery.


(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Times Square, NYC (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

What do you get when you combine a truck and Times Square? A Paul McCartney performance, of course! In 2013, McCartney showed up in the middle of Times Square in a large tractor-trailer to play an impromptu 13-song set for his fans.


(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NYC Bus (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

In a commercial for the GRAMMYs, hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis jumped on a city bus to surprise fans with an unconventional performance of “Can’t Hold Us.”


(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

Katy Perry performs under the Brooklyn Bridge (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

You might not think that underneath the Brooklyn Bridge would be a popular music venue but both U2 and Katy Perry have performed on temporary stages. And of course there was that time U2 got driven through the streets of NYC, causing quite the commotion. Good times.


(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Penn Station (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

In train stations, there are those “performers” but you never really stop to listen to them. In 2010, the crowds stopped at New York’s Penn Station when Keith Urban put on a surprise show in celebration of his newest album.


(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

NYC Subway (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

On live television, Michael Buble moved his performance to the Lincoln Center subway station, introducing music to the fashion hub of the city.


(Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

The Plaza Hotel (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

As one of New York City’s most famous hotels, The Plaza is a great choice for the location for a surprise concert. That is exactly what Sheryl Crow thought as she put on a performance in the hotel’s grand ballroom.


(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Jetblue’s Terminal 5 (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

The last place you might ever think to be a venue would be an airport with the craziness of thousands of travelers. But JetBlue’s Live from T5 concert series have brought artists such as Phillip Phillips, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding and Jason Derulo to JFK airport.

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