Wit’s End Info

Video: Wit’s End at the Knickerbocker Hotel

Wit’s End monthly party at St. Cloud rooftop of The Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. The last Saturday night of the month January-October: cocktails, dancing, and hot jazz. This month we had Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra. Michael is the creator and bandleader of the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

Each month we have classic cocktails, a different jazz band, and dancing. We offer a free dance lesson before every party.

Visit clubwitsend.com for monthly party information. Videography: Emily Geraghty.

Our next party is February 27 at St. Cloud. Advance tickets available now.

Wit’s End Moving to St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker Hotel

St Cloud

St. Cloud at The Knickerbocker Hotel, new location for Wit’s End in 2016.


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.

The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker Hotel, corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, home to St. Cloud.

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.

St. Cloud

The bar at St. Cloud is 35-feet long. There is also an outdoor bar.

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!

St. Cloud

Entrance to St. Cloud from the roof; the ivy is real and it grows on exterior wall space.

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.

Our Year In Review 2015: Hot

Dandy Wellington, Feb. 2015, Wit's End

Dandy Wellington, Feb. 2015, Wit’s End


Wit’s End™ began in 2009, and in 2015 we managed to have 11 monthly parties. It was quite a year, with some of New York’s greatest jazz bands performing. We had wonderful nights at Flute Midtown, which was an actual speakeasy run by the legendary Texas Guinan. In November we squeezed in one more part at the new Fillmore Room in West Chelsea.

A big thank you to the staff of Flute this year, who were superb hosts and really helped us have so many fantastic nights.

Kita, Christine, and Mike

Kita, Christine, and Mike

We are very lucky to have such a great team. Everyone that comes to one of our parties meets Christine at the door. Our dance leaders, Jeri-Lynn and Neal, have been with us since 2009. Our hostesses this year were Kita St. Cyr, Dandy Dillinger, Miss Melody Jane, and Eden Atencio. We think we have the best hostesses around!

We were joined by DJ Mike Will Cut You, who performed at most of our events in 2015. A WFMU Radio Host, Mike plays select tracks from his collection of rare vintage songs.

The producers this year: Kevin Fitzpatrick, Michael Haar, and Don Spiro (founder).

We kicked things off on January 31 with our “Hot Time in Winter Party” with hot jazz from Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess! Our hostess, Kita St. Cyr, spiced things up on a very cold night!

February 28 was our Sixth Anniversary party, and was the return of Dandy Wellington and His Band. It was fantastic (and crowded) night as we celebrated six years of being the longest-running monthly vintage party in New York. Dandy blew the doors off. Showgirl Kita St Cyr added the sparkles.

“A Night in Clover” was the theme of our March 28 party, with jazz from The Lady Bugs. Led by Martina DaSilva, it was one of the sweetest-sounding parties we’ve ever had. And with two ukuleleists in the house!

Melody Jane, DJ Mike Will Cut You, Dandy Dillinger

Melody Jane, DJ Mike Will Cut You, Dandy Dillinger

April 25 brought our annual “April Showers” party. Our period jazz was provided by Mike Davis and his Chicago Loopers. Our hostess was the lovely Dandy Dillinger.

The best hot jazz musicians in the east (and some from the west) attended the Third Annual New York Hot Jazz Festival on May 3 at the Players Club. Wit’s End™ sponsored the after party at midnight. It was an amazing jam session led by David Ostwald and Gordon Au.

“Mischief in May” on May 30 was swell party with Glenn Crytzer’s Quartet! Our hostess, Dandy Dillinger, continued her tradition of providing some pretty awful jokes…

At our June 27 “Moonshine in Manhattan” party we welcomed The Gotham Easy. A fantastic horn section! Our sponsor was Manhattan Moonshine.

Our July 25 “Midtown Melodies” party featured Daria Grace and the Pre-War Ponies. Our new hostess, Miss Melody Jane, debuted. She’s a songstress and burlesque star, wanted in six states for her monkeyshines and outlaw ways!

Our annual “Wild Party” on August 29 saw the debut of Jason Benjamin and Lime Juice Jazz perform with us. It was such a big party we needed two hostesses, Dandy Dillinger and Miss Melody Jane

The Buck and a Quarter Quartet performed Sept. 26, at the annual “September Swing” party. Our hostess, the devil-may-care Eden Atencio, even sang with the band!

The Wit’s End  7th Annual Black Cat Masquerade with Gelber and Manning was held a week before Halloween, on Oct. 24. Our hostess Dandy Dillinger kept the party rolling.

We closed out the year in November, with a special party at the Fillmore Room: the Manhattan Harvest featuring two hot bands Jesse Gelber and The Astor Boys! Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess! 

 Presented by Jesse Gelber, Lee Chappell, and Wit’s End™ the party also featured burlesque performances by Trixie Little, King of Boylesque Mr. Gorgeous, and Dandy Dillinger.

Wit’s End will return January 30, 2015, at our new venue. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @clubwitsend, and Like our Facebook page .

Wit’s End™ is proud to announce the staff of 2015!

HaarAtWitsEndWit’s End™ is proud to announce that in 2015 Michael Haar will be coproducing Wit’s End™ with Kevin Fitzpatrick (author and President of the Dorothy Parker Society)  and Don Spiro (who founded Wit’s End™ in 2009 with Diane Naegel), allowing Mr. Spiro to focus on Zelda Magazine and other pursuits.

Michael (aka Mike the Barber)is the producer of “Ragged But Right” Sundays at the Backroom, host of “The Ragged Phonograph Program” on WFMU and has been the house DJ at Wit’s End™, as well as half of the Antique DJs (with partner with Michael Cumella).

We will be posting more about future events of Wit’s End™ very soon. As always, hostess and emcee Christina and Kita St Cyr will be adding atmosphere and charm to the events.

Nasty Canasta, Wasabassco, & Wit’s End™ present WASABASSCO’s KONG!

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THIS FRIDAY OCTOBER 18
@ THE BELL HOUSE
WASABASSCO’s KONG
Nasty Canasta, Wasabassco, & Wit’s End™ present WASABASSCO’s KONG: a full theatrical burlesque tribute to 1933’s King Kong at The Bell House, in celebration of the film’s 80th anniversary.

Written & Directed by Nasty Canasta and starring Hazel Honeysuckle, Handsome Jim Greene, Nasty Canasta, Evelyn Vinyl, Penny Wren, Sapphire Jones, Go-Go Harder, Kita St. Cyr, Mala Morrigan, Marlo Marquise, Medianoche, Mr. Gorgeous, Great Dane, Creamed Stu, and more!

Plus KONG: The Eighth Wonder of The World!

With a VIP pre-show party including a talk by world renowned Kong expert Ray Morton.

VIP pre party 8-9pm. Doors for show at 9pm
$25 GA / $50 VIP

Tickets available here: http://www.thebellhouseny.com/event/380111-wasabasscos-kong-brooklyn/

The Bell House, 149 7th Street, Brooklyn
thebellhouseny.com

 

Wit’s End presents “The Wild Party!”

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Saturday, July 27th in NYC, come to Wit’s End™ and drink Prohibition era cocktails and celebrate the darker side of jazz age social life and the degenerate music of the 1920s and 1930s with live hot speakeasy jazz from Wit’s End favorites, Gelber and Manning!

Come in your most scandalous vintage attire, decadent lingerie, swimwear (or less!) and dance to jazz age songs of sex and drugs and other vices in an authentic 1920s speakeasy (Texas Guinan’s Club Intime, now at Flute Midtown, 205 W. 54th Street at Broadway)!

Our lovely hostess is burlesque showgirl Miss Em!

Our co-sponsor is the Dorothy Parker Society, the drinking club with a book problem.

Dress code: Jazz age lingerie, evening wear or bathing attire, jacket and tie, vintage or vintage-inspired cocktail attire and of course, seasonal! 1920s, 30s and 40s vintage is encouraged!

Just $12 at the door! Advance tickets on sale now!

Table reservations are available and encouraged; telephone Flute Midtown reservation line at 212.265.5169 to reserve a table.

Doors open at 8
Free dance lesson at 8:30!

Follow Wit’s End!™
Twitter: @clubwitsend
Pinterest: pinterest.com/clubwitsend

Diane Naegel Scholarship Winner in the News

Sarita Naegel, the mom of the late Wit’s End founder, Diane Naegel, posted an update about the fashion student who won a memorial scholarship created in Diane’s memory. Mary Helen Boeddeker won last year and has her own apparel business. Sarita says:

Meet the Diane Naegel Memorial scholarship winner from 2012! She’s a wonderful gal, and exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit Diane had too. This year we will have another award winner at the annual University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning Fashion Show on April 26th. I thought the wonderful friends and family who donated to her scholarship fund would enjoy seeing how Mary Helen is doing.

Thanks to all for keeping Diane’s spirit alive, no matter what way you do it.

Wit’s End’s “Fourth Annual Black Cat Masquerade”

Wit’s End and the Dorothy Parker Society invite you to celebrate Autumn and welcome Halloween jazz age style at: Image

with live hot jazz from Gelber and Manning!

Saturday, October 27th, 8pm-Midnight (doors at 7)
Always the last Saturday of the month!
Flute Midtown

205 West 54th Street (near Broadway)
FluteBar.comDress in your finest suit and tie, cocktail dress, flapper or other jazz age evening attire and celebrate in decadent style with live hot jazz, vintage cocktails and good times the last Saturday of October!

Free dance lesson at 8:30 with instructors Jeri Lynn and Neal!

Keep your toes tapping to the hot jazz stylings from New York’s own Gelber and Manning!

Dress code:
Jacket and tie, vintage or vintage-inspired, Jazz Age, evening wear, summer cocktail attire and of course, Halloween!
1920s, 30s and 40s vintage is encouraged!

Prohibition era cocktails!

$12 at the door

Table reservations are available and encouraged; telephone Flute Midtown reservation line at 212.265.5169 to reserve a table.

Follow us on Twitter @clubwitsend
For more information, visit ClubWitsEnd.com

Gelber and Manning Return to Wit’s End for Vaudeville at the Palace Theatre!

Wit’s End and the Dorothy Parker Society invite you to celebrate the social life of the Jazz Age with Gelber and Manning!

Saturday, May 26th, 7pm-Midnight
Always the last Saturday of the month!
Flute Midtown
205 West 54th Street (near Broadway)
FluteBar.com

Come in your finest 1920s & 1930s vintage or vintage inspired evening attire and celebrate in style with live hot jazz, vintage cocktails and good times!

Free dance lesson at 8:30 with instructors Jeri Lynn Astra and Neal Groothuis

Live jazz from Wit’s End regulars Gelber and Manning! (http://www.gelberandmanning.com/) Playing traditional jazz, vaudeville music and new songs from the turn of the century, Gelber and Manning are a Brooklyn-based musical vaudeville duo, comprised of Jesse Gelber on piano and Kate Manning on vocals, featuring the Anderson Twins on woodwinds!

Kimberly Fay Greenberg (One Night With Fanny Brice) will be a special guest in our salute to vaudeville!

Dress code:
Coat and tie for gents, cocktail/evening attire for ladies
1920s, 30s and 40s vintage is encouraged!

$12 at the door

Table reservations are available and encouraged; telephone Flute Midtown reservation line at 212.265.5169 to reserve a table.

Follow us on Twitter @clubwitsend
For more information, visit ClubWitsEnd.com