The Box

Down By The Hipster passes on a rumor that The Box can't even recruit a lawyer to extricate the downtown cabaret club from its legal woes. It would be amusing, except owner Simon Hammerstein deserves some reward for his ambition, and the smell of schadenfreude is nauseating.

To be sure, the Chrystie Street hotspot's troubles-kidnappings of departing clubbers and celebrity-entangling drug raids-have made an irresistible nightlife story. The economics of The Box-the venue is intimate and the acts expensive-have forced the owners to allow in more high-spending bankers than consistent with the club's celebrity cachet. Predictably, Manhattan's lemming-like press, Gawker included, has been quick to declare the club over.

However, the gleeful criticism misses one point: the shows at The Box, which range from sexy burlesque to gross-out tranny acts, give the venue an energy that's lacking elsewhere. (Mos Def gave an impromptu performance the other night.) Even on lackluster nights, it's enjoyable-as one Gawker writer, who admits to being "knee-jerk snarky" when writing about the club, found to her surprise.

If The Box's pricey proposition forces it to scale back, Manhattan nightlife will be the poorer. The club's critics deserve to be chained to the speakers at Mansion. Then they'll be sorry.