Monday, January 29, 2007

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

The best test of a New Yorker's street cred is how many generations they can go back in any given establishment's history. With bars and nightclubs changing hands with the frequency of a speed dating rotation, it can be disorienting. What is now called Z used to be called Y after it was X. And so I headed to The Box, the latest venue to hit the Lower East Side (NYC's Shoreditch). Both to hear a friend DJ and to get my alphabet straight.

Oh, but did I mention it’s 'dinner theatre'? “Please don’t call it a nightclub. It’s dinner theatre for a younger generation,” begs the London-born, New York-bred theater director, Simon Hammerstein (of one of Amerca's most famous theatre-owning families) who I chatted to over a neuteured purple squirrel the other night. The idea for The Box was born, Hammerstein said, when he was directing late-night theater and “got tired of going across the street to get drunk with the audience." He calls it “submersion theater" (take that Hoxton hipsters).

The space is located in a 70-year-old, two-story, 5,000-square-foot converted sign factory. Most of the materials including the lighting, bars, wallpaper, and marble fireplaces are salvaged antiques from the 1920s, which create a wacky patchwork that feels part theater, part brothel, and part speakeasy.

The actors Jude Law and Rachel Weisz sit on the board of the opera house-cum-concert saloon. The entertainment line-up for the coming weeks is eccentric: Thai fighters one night and opera singers in Mexican wrestling masks the next. The signs of success could hardly be clearer.

Go there:
The Box
189 Chrystie Street, NYC
(212) 674-7113

Back in London tomorrow, BA permitting.


Anonymous Ella said...

Sounds amazing. Why didn't Jude LAw and Rachel Weisz 2 English actors set it up in a London warehouse though? Surely that makes sense....

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News is that BA called off strike. Good luck getting home CS!

3:46 pm  
Anonymous halfmeasure said...

DAMN - I miss New York!

3:46 pm  
Anonymous Delia said...

Every time I go to New York I hit the area around Chrystie Street and Rivington Streets. This place sounds like a winning combination.

3:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Definitely will pass on to my mates in NYC if they haven't been already.

4:22 pm  
Anonymous Jessie129 said...

Note - if you are an Uptowner don't even try getting into The Box. It is downtowners only and you must be on the list which means you must know somebody performing. If you do get on list drinks are free and food from 9-11 an incredible thing for NYC.

Lucky you Slicky to get in there. I am glad you sound to have had fun in NYC!

4:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope SImon Hammerstein thanked his father for basically handing him his life on a plate.

4:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Safe flight City Slicker

5:02 pm  
Anonymous Kathy76 said...

Box Bar is fabulous.

But if you don't get in you can always try the next door Club 205

5:17 pm  
Anonymous Ben said...

Safe travels CS

This place sounds groovy. Will check out on next trip over.

10:47 pm  
Blogger Dientudong said...

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5:45 am  

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