August 25, 2007 -- "THE risqué stage show at The Box early yesterday morning was canceled when dozens of police officers raided the Chrystie Street club and randomly searched some patrons for drugs.
Cameron Diaz, Jay-Z and Cuba Gooding Jr. were among the few who were able to flee during the "classic shutdown," doormen and security men told Page Six.
Diaz's current fling, John Mayer, was spotted holding court a few blocks away at the Bowery Hotel during the chaos.
The star-studded "dinner theater" at The Box is known for its private tables where curtains can be pulled tight so attendees can have complete privacy.
One stunned onlooker told us, "All these cops busted in, and they were searching people. They lined people up near the bathroom and started going through their stuff. Nobody seemed to understand what was going on."
The 1 a.m. raid forced the club to cancel its second show of the night, a revue featuring scantily clad showgirls, a gender-bending singer and a dancing dwarf.
"They never started the show," said a witness. "It was all cops on stage. The worst part was, they weren't letting anyone leave."
"It was really weird," agreed one nightlife fixture who was there. "The cops were standing outside, personally checking everyone's IDs as they were going in. Bizarre."
Another source dished, "Pretty close to 3 a.m., a performer got onstage and said, 'I'm sorry. Were getting shut down for the evening. Everyone has to go home.' "
That's when the scene outside the club became chaotic as well.
"Suddenly, someone slapped a sign on the door that said, 'It's shut down,' and everyone had to get out. People started pouring out. Everyone was really drunk and [bleep]ed up. Nobody knew what was going on. It was just a confused herd of idiots."
Box owner Simon Hammerstein is in London, but a rep for the club said: "The marshals came in Friday morning citing the venue for a misprint on the food-handling permit - a clerical error that was overlooked but has since been corrected. The permit has been reissued." Hammerstein expected to be open last night.
An NYPD rep said there were no arrests."
Okay, I'm all for keeping an eye on our royalty if for nothing else than to prevent them from hopping into a car and driving over a group of nuns.
But the above incident was reminiscent of a bygone era when Boss Tweed would play hardball with establishments that didn't feed his kitty, because dozens of cops surrounding a place then shutting it down SHOULD have resulted in an arrest or two, ya think?
It was a wake-up call for the proprietors, nothing else. Government agencies love to strut their stuff and the pity is they find enough jackboots to arm themselves and pitch in.
Meanwhile, criminals are having a field day elsewhere while the police are frisking the dancers for contraband.