Walk past Cafe Society on a weeknight and you’d think you were looking into a time capsule. Couples dance cheek-to-cheek to a live orchestra, their faces bathed in the pink light of floor-to-ceiling columns illuminated from within. The graceful Dips and Twists of the dancers’ tango seem to be mimicked by the frozen images of an art deco mural. The scene is not a glimpse at the elegance of a bygone era, but a recreation designed to pique our modern-day nostalgia.
But on Friday nights, the realities of the ’90s come into sharp focus. Go-go girls stand propped on three five-foot-high chained pedestals in front of the wrap-around windows on 21st Street, pumping and grinding their goods for the crowd inside and the wolf pack outside, who, after a weekend of ogling, leave their fingerprints and what looks like spit on the glass.
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