New York I Love You But You’re Pricing Me Out

Serge Becker, the nightlife guru who helped conceive the space, is fond of saying that he believes The Box is going to do for theater and nightlife what Area, the legendary ’80s club he helped design, did for performance art and nightlife.

Tables on the ground floor start at $600 (perk: that includes a bottle of Champagne). Tables on the mezzanine start at $900… Cocktails are pricey as well: a simple Bacardi and Coke is $16.

From a Sunday Times Styles story on The Box, the new den of fabulousness and late-night theatrical extravaganzas. The difference, however, between the older clubs like Area and the newer ones like The Box is that, in the early 80s when Area, Danceteria and Peppermint Lounge were all going strong, everyone was welcome, and the clubs were (just about) affordable. None of this $600-a table bullshit. At least the ageing chronicler of downtown, Michael Musto, still has the wit to observe:

“I’ve heard that you have to leave a credit card at the door and mortgage your house on the way out.”

I would act all extra offended that The Box displays its exclusive extravagance on Chrystie Street, in the very heart of what was not too long ago the very decrepit Lower East Side. But by now, such contradictions are a given.

Yes, this is The Box. There’s nothing wealthy New Yorkers love more than to pretend that they’re slumming it.

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April 2021