This particular box was a defunct twenties sign factory until Serge Becker (La Esquina
) joined theater folk Richard Kimmel, Randy Weiner, and Simon Hammerstein in reimagining it as an intimate Hammerstein Ballroom (which was built by Simon’s grandfather Oscar). So now, up a curving, Persian-rugged staircase is a mezzanine of armchairs gathered around a display of antique bottles exhumed during construction. The newly New Orleans–style balustrade overlooks bejeweled chandeliers and a mirrored back bar equipped with towering molded cabinets. The small bar upstairs caters to those dining in the velvet-curtained balcony booths; downstairs, dinner unfolds in spacious U-booths a step up from the parquet floor. The state-of-the-art stage is graced by circus stars, human oddities, and avant-garde thespians from France, Russia, and even Brighton Beach—a mix as fanciful and incongruous as the layered wallpaper of cherubs, Chinese fighting fish, and flappers.