It was hard to say what year it was in the windowless upper floor of NYC’s KGB Bar: The vintage cocktail dresses and sharp-tailored suits suggested 1923; the anise-tinged absinthe pours presented on a green-fringed tray channeled 1823.

But no, it was 2023, where revelers turned out to enjoy burlesque and anise-spiked cocktails at an event hosted by the Green Fairy Society. Once a Belle Époque darling, today the legendary Green Fairy—a popular nickname for absinthe—is inspiring a new generation. (more…)

Our guide to stand-up, improv and variety shows happening this weekend and in the week ahead.

‘THE BREAKDOWN WITH BORIS KHAYKIN’ at the Red Room at KGB Bar (April 24, 7 p.m.). Every fourth Wednesday of the month, upstairs at this East Village bar, Khaykin hosts a talk show with a twist in which guest improvisers perform scenes based on the interviews he conducts alongside his sidekick, “Uncle” Jawnee Conroy. This month, they welcome the comedian Ted Alexandro and the writer Eric Levitz from New York magazine’s Intelligencer, while Rebecca Vigil, Katie Hartman and Emma Vernon provide the play-by-play and color commentary through improv. Katie Hannigan performs a stand-up set, and the beat boxer Exacto serves as the house band.

The Red Room above KGB— the former black box that you were probably dragged to by college friends doing DIY theater in the early aughts— has become a swanky, prohibition-themed bar. Every bit as tuxedo as the KGB is shirtsleeves, it boasts warm lighting and art deco details, with a tiny stage and a copper bathtub. “The Green Fairy” event showcases a monthly absinthe tasting paired with era-appropriate entertainment: August’s episode features live piano by Chris Johnson, absinthe history by Kellfire Bray, and Nelson Lugo on the Victrola during breaks. Ticket prices drop for those in “vintage, evening wear, unmentionables or intimate attire,” encouraging you to help create the ambiance. (more…)

New York’s most beloved architectural innovation might be among its most overlooked: the humble tin ceiling.

Today, people view the geometrically embossed covering with rosy nostalgia. But tin ceilings came of age in industrial Soho and other downtown neighborhoods in spaces ranging from shops and factories to the secret lairs of anarchists. From the 1850s onward, developers erected cast-iron facades along southern Broadway, which provided a cost-effective way for architects to provide elegance on a budget. (The alternative was expensive stone, like limestone or marble.) (more…)

Late on a recent Sunday night, dozens of adventurous urban explorers wandered into Manhattan’s storied Chelsea Hotel. In rooms decorated with antique mirrors and windows draped with velvet curtains, a Fellini-themed party was under way. At various points during the evening, a dancer performed burlesque, a soprano sang Puccini and an accordionist, whose face was painted a ghoulish white and body covered with intricate piercings, played a 1934 ballad, “Midnight, the Stars and You.” (more…)