On an unreasonably humid Friday night, just a few short days passed the official end of summer, my companion and I found ourselves drowning in a sea of bodies. We were surrounded by a million lively entities, walking talking laughing and in some intervals shouting across the asphalt landscape. Good-naturally we journeyed through the wide eyed tourists and jaded natives, we were in the new Times Square after all, and on a warm Friday night this was to be expected. Pushing shoving and maneuvering ourselves passed the throng of excited faces we dipped down a side street. The noise of the preceding avenue now a reduced to a hum we sauntered onward past 7th avenue and toward 8th. Just beyond the old Edison Hotel, stands a well dressed gentleman. Above his head a well lit Marquee suggests fun and excitement can be found beneath its glare and just beyond his feet a red carpet lies, the universal welcome mat, promising sensational times and luxurious settings. The sounds of a Rumba fill the small space he occupies and reduces the din one avenue over to a barely audible buzz, “Dinner for two?” He smiles and with a fluid sweeping motion opens the door behind him ushering us in. We stroll across a passageway following the beat of the rumba to a set of mirrored glass doors, the music steering our feet toward its source and beyond the entrance. Boldly, we step into the unknown. We follow a friendly hostess through a maze of fully dressed tables lined up in perfect view of a hardwood dance floor. Dancers, twirl, dip and glide in response to the pulsing Latin rhythm. There is no DJ here, no auto-tune and no ipod spewing out song after song. There is a microphone, there are speakers and there is a bandleader, his masterful gestures commanding a crew of seasoned musicians, live musicians, to make use of their extraordinary abilities. A few feet from his post a beautiful woman in an evening gown awaits her turn at stage he beckons her and when she finally has her moment she shines! Her voice cuts through jazz standards with a skill that a precious few possess and the dancers quickly adjust, switching from the hip thrusting rumba to a quick step with ease. Finally at our table we sit in stunned silence, grateful for this opulent oasis and the opportunity to discover its treasures, The Edison Ball room, a hidden jewel in the crown of our golden city.
The Break Down:
Location: 240 West 47th Street, Between 7th and 8th
Items: 2 4-course meals (Appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert), unlimited beverages (Champagne, wine, soft drinks, etc), a live band performance.
Cost: $125 per person (for dinner and open bar from 7:00 to 1am), or $45 per person (for hor’s douvers and open bar from 9:30 to 1am)
Best Dish: Grilled Shrimp with Arugula and Endive Salad, Breast of Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms, Shallot Beurre Blanc Sauce.
Overall: As a Club: Friday nights here are an amazing “Date Night” experience, and well worth it. The rowdy bunch is invited to take a powder we don’t play any of that gobbledygook you’re used to. Only hep cats and kittens occupy this joint. (In other words, this is for a sophisticated jazz, swing and ballroom dance loving crowd) As a Venue: Awesome place with an impressive upscale décor and friendly knowledgeable staff, great food and easy access from anywhere in NYC or the tri-state area.
Located at 240 west 47th street the Edison Ballroom stands as an entryway to a bygone era. An era when couples got dressed up wined dined and danced the night away. I honestly had a blast, and maybe got a little too carried away with the start of this post but honestly that’s the mood this place puts you in. I’m barely out of my 20’s and still I felt so at home, the atmosphere was warm and inviting a truly unique experience and a far cry from the over crowded club scene. Built in the 1930’s as the grand ballroom to the hotel Edison. this structure has undergone several incarnations: as the “Supper Club, the “Edison theater”( where nearly 6000 performances of “Oh Calcutta” were presented) and a concert venue for acts which range from Count Basie to Bon Jovi.
It was a treat to watch amateurs of all ages try their hand at the Cha Cha, Tango and Rumba. Dancers and spectators groove to the sounds of world renowned Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band. Created in 1996 and comprised of extraordinary musicians who throughout their individual (and collective) careers have played with Tito Puente, and Stan Kent to name a few this band continues to play select venues through the year in addition to their stint as the Edison Ballroom house band. Their musical gems continue to spin on over 2000 radio stations across the country. Luckily for us they continue to play here at the ballroom for the many who come to enjoy the music and the select few who enter the dance competition. The weekly dance competition is a new event on the club’s social calendar and hopes to bring in a new clientele. The contest which began, on September 24th is made up of 4 preliminary rounds in which anyone can enter. Following the preliminary events will be a semi-final round on November 25th which will also host a wild card round worth $400 to the winning couple. The Finals will be in January and the Grand Prize of $1000, and a red carpet night on the town will be awarded to the victors. For additional info see our post here or call the main office at 212-201-7650. With all the fanfare and hype surrounding “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars” it’s a great opportunity to witness everyday people vying for the crown and just having a good time. No one here is plugging any books or movies, no one trying to stay relevant or jump start a career, just slaves to the rhythm enjoying the music.
This site is also open to hosting private and corporate events. Boasting a full service kitchen and bar The Edison is well equipped to handle your catering needs. Let’s be honest this place is impressive, I’m already thinking of a Chanel themed birthday bash for myself which would match perfectly with the ballroom’s over all décor. The impressive looking structure aside the food is excellent gourmet quality fare. This is not a burgers and fries place (has anyone EVER been impressed by a cheeseburger?) this is a cloth napkin, type of establishment. All meals are served on fine china with flatware, as they should be. While there I enjoyed the succulent grilled shrimp with arugula and endive salad followed by the surprisingly moist chicken breast with Shiitake Mushrooms, Shallot Beurre Blanc Sauce. Delicious, well prepared beautifully plated meals are the norm at Edison.
In addition to stellar cuisine this place has the capacity to accommodate up to 1000 party-goers (I barely know 100 people I would invite to a party) you could host several birthdays at once. There is also a lounge area and a 600ft stage with runway extension for any kind of event, this isn’t just a party place, its equipped to handle performances, fashion shows and luncheons easily. All in all this is a grand space worthy of recognition and your consideration. If you’ve read this far and you’re still not a believer check out there site at www.edisonballroom.com or if you’re in NY drop by, I’m sure they’d love to have you.
Highlights from the evening