Wit’s End, the longest-running monthly vintage dance party in New York City, is moving to a new home in January 2016. We are pleased to announce our new venue is St. Cloud, in the landmark Knickerbocker Hotel.
Our first party will be Saturday, January 30, 2016, featuring the incomparable Michael Arenella and his band. Advance tickets will go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 1, 9:00 AM, on Brown Paper Tickets via clubwitsend.com.It’s a thrilling moment for Wit’s End, which was created by Diane Naegel and Don Spiro in early 2009. The monthly party is moving to a location—without much exaggeration—that is the greatest address in New York: the corner of Forty-second Street and Broadway in Times Square.
In 1906 John Jacob Astor IV, the scion of New York’s most famous family, opened the Beaux Arts masterpiece Knickerbocker Hotel. The hotel was wildly popular and attracted the biggest names of the era: Gorge M. Cohan. Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White. F. Scott Fitzgerald. William Randolph Hearst. Dorothy Parker and Charles MacArthur. Mary Pickford. Even vaudeville dancers the Dolly Sisters performed at The Knick.
Astor died on the Titanic in 1912 and the Knickerbocker fell victim to the 1919 Prohibition laws, as did so many other great hotels of the era. In 1920 it was ignobly sold and closed; the building became an office building for the next 95-something years. It reopened in early 2015 following a $250 million renovation into a luxury hotel with 330 rooms. The rave reviews poured in.Over the summer, St. Cloud debuted. It was instantly called “New York’s greatest rooftop lounge” with incredible views of Times Square and beyond. St. Cloud spans 7,800 square feet, features two bars (one indoors, the other outdoors), an outdoor cigar lounge stocked by Nat Sherman, and three VIP outdoor areas known as “sky pods.” Critics are impressed.
During the colder months, Wit’s End will be in the spacious Club Room indoors, nearby a 35-foot-long, black Corian-topped bar, surrounded by leather couches and a dance floor. There are private spots and table service; as at past parties, Wit’s End will have reserved seating available. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide views that are unparalleled in any other nightspot in the neighborhood. When it is warm? We will be dancing and drinking under the stars.
Another new feature for Wit’s End in January is that we are going to be able to offer pre-party dinner. On the fourth floor of the hotel is Charlie Palmer at The Knick. The celebrity chef opened the restaurant earlier this year to serve “Honest American Cuisine.” There will be a $45-per-person prix fixe menu, with three courses. Seating starts at 6:00 PM. Make a reservation, have a delicious meal, and then take the elevator up to the roof for the party!The Knickerbocker is dripping with history, which is one thing that Wit’s End loves to take part in. We’ve had parties that celebrated Texas Guinan, Repeal, the Marx Brothers, Hollywood, and our famous annual Black Cat Masquerade. Now, add baseball?
In the 1910s, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee was a frequent guest. An investor in Broadway shows, Frazee defaulted on payments on Fenway Park when his shows began to tank. After the 1919 season, he came up with a solution: Sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Frazee broke the news to Sox manager Ed Barrow over drinks at the Knickerbocker. To which Barrow replied, “You ought to know you’re making a mistake.”
Babe Ruth was a hit, and we think our new location will be too. Wit’s End hopes to see you in 2016 in Times Square at St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker Hotel.
All photos courtesy of the Knickerbocker Hotel.