Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Upper WestSide (07/24)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
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Chelsea Art Walk
Join over one hundred Chelsea galleries and studios for the 5th Annual Chelsea Art Walk. Galleries will be open late until 8pm. Free and open to the public, the Walk will showcase the galleries’ summer exhibitions as well as host artist talks, receptions and other special events running from 5-8pm.

Chelsea Art Walk is organized by the community to promote exciting group exhibitions and unique projects only available to audiences over the summer. For the past four years, the Walk has attracted thousands of guests to this one-night-only event. Spanning venues from 16th to 30th Street between 9th and 11th Avenue, Chelsea Art Walk continues to display the value of these art spaces and the vibrancy of their exhibitions.

Animation Block Party (Short Films)
Come out and experience some of the year’s best animated short films during the incomparable Animation Block Party!

Animation Block Party is the premier animation festival of the East Coast, and their screenings draw huge crowds to see the best new animated films in the world. Each year the opening night of the festival is presented outdoors in partnership with Rooftop Films, and this year’s screening, presented by Arts Brookfield at Brookfield Place, will feature sneak previews of exclusive new animated short films from MTV(other).
For a complete list of all the films to be screened: rooftopfilms.com/2014
7:30pm / FREE
Brookfield Place, ground level, 220 Vesey Street
along the water between West Street and the Hudson River

Broadway in Bryant Park (Thursdays through Aug. 14)
This series of lunchtime performances continues with musical numbers from “Phantom of the Opera,” “Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical,” “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” “Avenue Q” and the new Off Broadway musical “Piece of My Heart.”

The best of Broadway is presented FREE on six consecutive Thursdays this summer with “106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park 2014″ – a lunchtime series on the Bryant Park Stage. Hosted by LITE FM’s on-air personalities, the 14th annual presentation of open-air, On- and Off- Broadway lunch hour performances will run through August 14.
12:30 p.m. / FREE
Bryant Park, Avenue of the Americas, at 40th Street,
212-768-4242, bryantpark.org

Rudy Royston’s “303” Sextet
“Named for the area code of the in-demand drummer’s home town, Denver, this group features key players heard on the recent album “303,” including the guitarist Nir Felder and the saxophonist Jon Irabagon, as well as two bassists, Mimi Jones and Yasushi Nakamura. As Royston has demonstrated in the service of many notable leaders, he is a multifaceted player, and he has fashioned his own eclectically minded band with musical inclusion in mind.” (NewYorker)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St., West Village,
212-255-4037, villagevanguard.com
8:30 and 10:30 p.m./ $25 and $30 cover, with a one-drink minimum.

Elsewhere, but worth the detour:
“Art Off the Wall: According to What?”
“A special evening of interactive performances and activities in celebration of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s work is happening this evening at the Brooklyn Museum.

“Art Off the Wall: According to What?” features a talk with curator Sharon Matt Atkins, a presentation and workshop from the Asian American Oral History Collective and a multimedia performance of “Ai Weiwei: The Seed” by spoken-word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai. The night closes with Chinese calligraphy art-making and a DJ set.” (DNA info)
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway.
subway: easy trip on #2/#3 express to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum
From 6PM / $18, includes admission to the exhibition “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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A PremierPub – Upper West Side

Dinosaur / 700 W125th St. @ 12th ave.

Walk only five minutes from the 125th st. station on the #1 line to find this authentic honky-tonk barbecue joint. Some folks think Dinosaur is just a place to eat ribs. Au contraire. With 24 carefully selected taps, this is a place to drink beer, and eat ribs.

No food goes better with American craft ales than American barbecue. Dinosaur may be the best combo of good beer drinking and hearty eating in town, which makes the trip to Harlem totally worthwhile.

This second incarnation of Dinosaur in Harlem is in an old brick warehouse near the Hudson River. Don’t let that run down exterior fool you. Inside it’s a large space with huge, rough wooden columns and unfinished wooden floors and brick walls – just right for a bbq joint. As soon as you open the door you are hit with that tantalizing aroma of barbecue coming from the large open kitchen. Reminds me of all those great rib joints I frequented when stationed in North Carolina all those years ago. If your stomach wasn’t grumbling before, it is now.

Head to the bar, sit down and try to decide on a beer. It’s not an easy decision – a good problem to have. This is a pretty damn good beer list to choose from, one that most beer bars should be jealous of. I love that they feature NY craft beers. You may want to try the four beer sampler, which is always fun, and in this place may be necessary.

The Mississippi blues music playing in the background will get you in the mood for their North Carolina style barbecue, and even when it’s a full house your order shouldn’t take too long. The food is all slow smoked, so it’s already mostly done and ready to go. I always start with an order of their giant, spice rubbed wings, so good they may make you give up Buffalo wings.

Unfortunately, a place this good does not fly under the radar. There can be some humongous waits for a table at dinnertime. So you need a strategy – avoid prime time, and try not to arrive with your entire posse, which will limit your seating options.

A seat at the bar, a small table in the bar area, or in the summer, an outside table, underneath what’s left of the elevated West Side Hwy, all may open before a table inside the main dining room. Otherwise, try Dinosaur for lunch, or come very late for dinner.

Website: http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/
Phone #: 212-694-1777
Hours: M-Th 11:30am-11:00pm; Fr-Sa 11:30am-12:00am;
Su 12:00pm-10:00pm
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day; $1 off all drinks
Music: Fri / Sat 10:00pm
Subway: #1 to 125th st
Walk 2 blk W on 125th to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q,
just past the elevated highway

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue (07/23)

Today’s “Fab 5″+1/ Selected NYCity Events  – WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
=========================================================================

Our Time: KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar Sing Sondheim
(Wednesdays through Aug. 13)
“From the 1976 “Side By Side By Sondheim” to the 80th birthday spectacular “Sondheim on Sondheim,” the Sondheim revue has become nearly as much of a venerable tradition as the composer’s full-scale “book” shows. The advantage to doing 20-plus songs by Mr. Sondheim is that they frequently seem like the work of a wide range of songwriters, from the Cole Porter-styled “Uptown/Downtown” to such Viennese-y waltzes as “Remember.”

Ms. Sullivan continues to excel, in the latter, at exploring simultaneous multiple layers of both sentiment and sardonic humor. For his part, Mr. Harnar is as adroit as ever in tightrope-like feats of lyric acrobatics (as he verbally crosscuts between four separate songs in a “marriage” medley), but, now, more than ever before, he attains the upper brackets of tenderness and vulnerability.” (WSJ)
The Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 W. 42nd St., just west of 9th Ave.
6PM / $30 +$15 food/beverage minimum per person
(212) 695-6909

‘Hommy: A Latin Opera’
“Larry Harlow was an original mastermind of Fania Records, a storied New York salsa label for which he produced more than 200 albums and, in 1973, wrote perhaps the only salsa opera to borrow its premise from the Who. “Hommy,” like “Tommy,” tells the story of a deaf and blind hero, though wizardry for percussion takes the place of pinball in Mr. Harlow’s imagining.

The piece had its premiere to much fanfare at Carnegie Hall and is being resuscitated for the first time here, with a 60-piece choir and orchestra, plus an updated cast including the niece of the late salsa great Celia Cruz. “Hommy” is a presentation of the series Lincoln Center Out of Doors.” (WSJ)
Lincoln Center, Damrosch Park Bandshell, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza
7:30pm / FREE
(212) 875-5456

Sarah McLachlan

sarah-mclachlan-600“This Canadian singer-songwriter, Lilith Fair founder and ASPCA supporter (it’s a hardened individual who doesn’t tear up to her ASPCA commercials) returned this spring with “Shine On.” While her 2010 effort, “Laws of Illusion,” focused on the sorrow surrounding her divorce, “Shine On” deals with the death of her father.

“Even in mourning,” Jon Pareles wrote in his review of “Shine On” in The New York Times, “Ms. McLachlan is determinedly reassuring.” And longtime fans will be reassured to know that “Ms. McLachlan hasn’t changed her sound,” Mr. Pareles wrote. “Her voice whispers breathily, swells right up to the verge of tearfulness and then gracefully backs away, ever sympathetic and ever poised.” (Nicole Herrington-NYT)
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, at 74th St.
800-745-3000, beacontheatre.com
8 p.m. / $46 to $116.

¡Arriba! Dance Parties at the High Line. Arriba
Grab your friends and bring your dancing shoes – evenings of live Latin music and dancing are returning to the High Line this summer!

Friends of the High Line is pleased to partner with HAI and Hudson Guild to host some of New York City’s best Latin bands at the High Line, transforming the park into an open-air dance floor at sunset. Part of High Line Live! – a performance series at the High Line – ¡Arriba! nights in June, July, and August feature different live acts bringing their own energy, musical style, and flavor to our community dance parties.

Tonight, Sonido Costeño transcends salsa by bringing together guaracha, merengue, bachata, and American jazz influences – a harmonious blend that is sure to bring listeners to their feet.
HighLine, 14th Street Passage, On the High Line at West 14th Street
7pm / FREE and open to visitors of all ages. No RSVP required.

Enjoy dinner and dessert after dancing under the stars. On the High Line between West 15th and West 16th Streets you will find tacos, gelato, ice pops, and more seasonal treats from our food vendors, as well as Terroir at The Porch, a full-service, open-air café serving beer, wine, and small plates with sweeping views of the Hudson River.
Learn more. thehighline.org

Richie Sambora
“New Jersey native and famously mullet-ed Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora has been a hair-metal mainstay for more than 30 years. His success, as well as the band’s, was not only the result of his co-writing with frontman Jon Bon Jovi, but also his game-changing axe skills and solos.

On the occasion of the great electric guitar innovator Les Paul’s birthday, Sambora plays at the club where Paul performed regularly until his death in 2009. Over the course of two nights and three performances, Sambora will celebrate Les Paul, the electric guitar, and rock ‘n’ roll’s history. If you miss these performances live, Wednesday’s pair will be taped for the public access performance series Front and Center, but for the same reason Paul invented the solid-body electric guitar, this performance is better experienced live and very loud.” (Brittany Spanos, VillageVoice)
Iridium, 1650 Broadway, at 51st St
212-582-2121 / iridiumjazzclub.com
8:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $85-$215

PlusONE:
“Word for Word Author”
Piper Kerman, whose memoir “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison,” was developed into the Netflix series, will talk with Emily Nussbaum, television critic for The New Yorker, about the book and the second season of the show as part of the Bryant Park Reading Room series.

The Bryant Park Reading Room, 1065 Avenue of the Americas,

located on the 42nd St. side of the park – under the trees – between the back of the NYPL on 5th Avenue & 6th Avenue. Look for the burgundy and white umbrellas. In case of rain, events are held under a tent at the Reading Room. In case of severe weather, please check bryantpark.org for the indoor location.
12:30PM / FREE
212-768-4242 / bryantpark.org

=============================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors, where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
==============================================================================

What’s on View:
Special Exhibitions @ 3 Museum Mile / Fifth Ave. Museums:

‘Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century’ (through July 27)
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Charles James: Beyond Fashion’ (through Aug. 10)
One of the Costume Institute’s most ravishing exhibitions argues for this American fashion designer as a great modern artist — a sculptor-architect with a keen but discreet appreciation of women and their bodies. Aided by the latest digital wizardry, the insuperably forward-looking garments, especially the ball gowns, do most of the talking. Their innovations in shape, draping, seam placement, texture and color coalesce into breathtakingly gorgeous couture and an important show. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org. (Smith-NYT)
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‘Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy’ (through Aug. 17)
Chinese calligraphy can seem daunting to viewers who are unfamiliar with the characters of this ancient art form. Some, stymied by the language barrier, tend to think about the physical act of the brushwork in the more familiar terms of dance or choreography, or to see the characters as abstract shapes. This smart and accessible show suggests a third option: appreciating calligraphy as a social art, and even an early social network. The emphasis comes partly from the collector Jerry Yang, a co-founder of Yahoo, who, with his wife, Akiko Yamazaki, has lent the works for the exhibition. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org. (Rosenberg-NYT)
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The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection’ (through Sept. 7)
‘Garry Winogrand’ (through Sept. 21)
Mr. Winogrand, who died at 56 in 1984, was the photographer laureate of urban and suburban middle-class life in the United States from the late 1950s through the ’70s and beyond. This ample retrospective focuses on his prime years, when he recorded a newly prosperous America while strolling Manhattan’s avenues and then followed it as it waded into increasingly troubled political waters. The result is a remarkable panorama of an era, with some terrific pictures, and some that Winogrand, who left a mountain of unprocessed film behind, never edited or printed. 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org. (Cotter-NYT)
‘Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin’ (through Dec. 7)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, at 82nd St.
(212) 535-7710 / metmuseum.org
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futurism_landing_depero
‘Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe’ (through Sept. 1)
“This epic, beautifully designed exhibition may be one of the more thorough examinations of modernism’s most obnoxious and conflicted art movement that you are likely to see. Awash in the manifestoes that its members regularly fired off, it follows Futurism through to its end with the death of its founder, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in 1944. It covers the Futurist obsessions with speed, war, machines and, finally, flight and the aerial views it made possible. And the show highlights relatively unknown figures like the delightful Fortunato Depero and Benedetta Cappa, Marinetti’s wife. 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street, 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org. (Smith-NYT)
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th St.
(212) 423-3500 / guggenheim.org.

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‘Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937’ (through Sept. 1)
“This show — one of the first in decades in an American museum to address, on a fairly large scale, the Nazi demonizing of art — tells a complicated story. The basic facts of the narrative, which centers on Hitler’s grand plan to purify German culture of Modernist, Bolshevist and Jewish influence, are well known, and it culminated in the infamous 1937 “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. The Neue Galerie sets examples of art from that show beside Nazi-approved work; addresses the persecutions of artists in Dresden; and touches on the suppression of the Bauhaus. There are gripping paintings and sculptures as well as complex and haunting personalities every step of the way. And in the end the links between aesthetics and disaster are clear.”  (Cotter-NYT)
Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue, at 86th Street,
212-628-6200, neuegalerie.org.
========================================================== Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Ten museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:

• 110th Street – Museum for African Art

• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio

• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York

• 92nd Street – The Jewish Museum

• 91st Street – Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

• 89th Street – National Academy Museum

• 88th Street – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

• 86th Street – Neue Galerie New York

• 83rd Street – Goethe-Institut

Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
• 82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Additionally, though technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 70th St. and the The Morgan Library & Museum on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave. Now plan your own museum crawl. ==========================================================

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar: “NYCity Events: Manhattan’s WestSide” dated 07/21 and 07/19.
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Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: WestVillage(07/22)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
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Summer Concert Series – Tuesdays @ Twelve
Music at St. Paul’s Summer Concert Series.

Each Tuesday at noon during the months of June and July, St. Paul’s will play host to a different world-class organist who will perform on the Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ in St. Paul’s Chapel. The last concert in this series, to be held today at noon, features Marc Valenti, classical and jazz pianist.
St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, 117th St. & Amsterdam Ave
At 12 pm / FREE
212-854-0480

Author @ the Library
Dale W. Jamieson discusses his book: “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed – and What It Means for Our Future.”

This illustrated lecture explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, it also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change.

Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Ave, at 40th St.
At 6:30 pm / FREE, no reservation required
(212) 340-0863 ; nypl.org/locations/mid-manhattan-library

John Tauranac Book Talk
THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING: THE MAKING OF A LANDMARK
(First Published 1995; New Edition, Cornell University Press; March 2014)

The Empire State Building is the landmark book on one of the world’s most famous skyscrapers. John Tauranac focuses on the inception and construction of the building, as well as its history through the interwar years. In a new epilogue to the Cornell edition, Tauranac highlights the continuing resonance and influence of the Empire State Building in the rapidly changing post-9/11 cityscape.

John Tauranac writes on New York’s architectural history, teaches and lectures, and gives tours of the city. He is also a mapmaker. In 1997, he was the guest curator of A Dream Well Planned: The Empire State Building at the Museum of the City of New York. His books include New York from the Air, Elegant New York, Essential New York, and Seeing New York. A frequent contributor to New York newspapers and magazines,Tauranac is an adjunct associate professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, Lower Manhattan
(212) 968-1961 / skyscraper.org
6:30 pm / FREE; RSVP required (programs@skyscraper.org)

John Pizzarelli and the Swing Seven
Pizzarelli, an outstanding guitarist and a winning singer who balances suavity with endearing goofiness, takes on different musical personas with regularity and ease. With his horn-heavy Swing Seven ensemble, he gets to indulge the jazziest aspects of his nature, exemplified by his 2010 tribute to Duke Ellington, “Rockin’ in Rhythm.” (NewYorker)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St.
212-581-3080, birdlandjazz.com
At 8:30 & 11 p.m. / $45 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Elsewhere, but worth the detour:
IFAR
3D Printing: Infinite Possiblities and New Challenges for the Art World
3D printing is impacting not just manufacturing, architecture, surgery, and fashion, but the visual arts as well. Many museums are 3D scanning their objects for creative re-use by the public, or for replication. Relatively low-cost 3D printers have also broken into the consumer market.

A recent exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York showcased the broad range of artworks created with this new technology. Please join us as we explore the promise and challenges of this new field. There will be a 3D printer at the program.
Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, (btw 37th & 38th St.)
At 6pm / $25

=============================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
==============================================================================

A PremierPub – West Village

Corner Bistro / 331 W. 4th St.

Sometimes you just need a beer and a burger. If so, Corner Bistro is the place you want. Located just outside the hip Meatpacking district, this corner bar and grill is decidedly unhip, but it’s not uncrowded, especially at night. Seems that everyone knows this place has one of the better burgers in town.

In the maze of streets known as the West Village, where West 4th intersects with West 12th (and West 11th, and West 10th, go figure), you will eventually find Corner Bistro on the corner of West 4th and Jane Street. An unassuming neighborhood tavern, it looks just like dozens of other taverns around town. The bartender tells me that the Corner Bistro will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary next year. The well worn interior tells me that the place itself is much older.

Corner Bistro has outlasted many of those other taverns around town because they know how to keep it simple — just good burgers and beer, fairly priced. The classic bistro Burger is only $6.75, and should be ordered medium rare, which will be plenty rare for most folks. Actually, it will be a juicy, messy delight – make sure you have extra napkins. I like to pull up a stool and sit by the large front window in the afternoon, where I can rest my burger and beer on the shelf, and watch the Villagers walk by.

Corner Bistro seems to attract very different groups of patrons depending on time of day. While it’s crowded with locals in the evening, in the afternoon you hear different foreign languages, and watch groups of euro tourists wander in, led by their guidebooks and smartphones.

For the classic Bistro experience, order your burger with a McSorley’s draft, the dark preferably. This is the same beer that you can get over at the original McSorley’s in the East Village, the pub that claims to be the oldest continually operating bar in NYCity. The only difference is that this McSorley’s ale is served with a smile by the bartenders here. Or you can get a Sierra Nevada, Stella, or Hoegaarden on tap if you want to go upscale a bit. Either way this is a simple, but quality burger and beer experience that is just too rare these days (sorry for the pun).

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Website: cornerbistrony.com
Phone #: 212-242-9502
Hours: 11:30am-4am Mon-Sat; 12pm-4am Sun
Happy Hour: NO
Music: Juke Box
Subway: #1/2/3 to 14th St. (S end of platform)
Walk 2 blk W. on 13th St. to 8th Ave.; 1 blk S. on 8th Ave. to Jane St.
Update:

===========================================================================================
“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
===========================================================================================
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selected Events + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide (07/21)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
=========================================================================

NYC Summer Restaurant Week
July 21 – August 15 Various New York Restaurants

Summer Restaurant Week kicks off today and the city’s tourism wing has added new restaurants outside of Manhattan while preparing to reward Big Apple foodies who take to social media to share their experiences.

Fred Dixon, the president and CEO of NYC & Company, said the event, which actually lasts three weeks, has grown tremendously from its beginnings in 1992.

Diners can enjoy three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $38 at 300 selected restaurants, Mondays through Fridays from now until Aug. 15. Some restaurants will offer Sunday deals.

NYC & Company will also award prizes to diners who best capture their experiences and dishes on Instagram. Four celebrity judges will judge Instagram users who put the hashtag #nycrestaurantweek on various themes such as appetizer, entree, dessert and group shot/selfie. Winners will receive gift cards worth up to $250.
see: www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek/

SummerStage: New Songs of Justice
An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger featuring Amanda Palmer / Anti-Flag (acoustic) / Toni Blackman / The Chapin Sisters / Rebel Diaz / Steve Earle / Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion / James Maddock / Mike + Ruthy /

Hip hop,Indie-rock, punk and folk artists committed to social change will come together to honor musician and activist Pete Seeger. The program’s hosts are Gina Belafonte, Harry Belafonte’s daughter and Kitama Jackson, Pete Seeger’s grandson.

Mr. Seeger and Mr. Belafonte became international household names as singers who stood for change. For Belafonte that meant being involved in both the Civil Rights Movement in US and the Anti-Apatheid movement in South Africa. For Seeger that meant getting people singing, and then using song to lead marches and rallies around the world. From the labor movement to the Civil Rights movement to the environmental movement, Pete Seeger was always on the front lines.

Today’s artists aren’t that different from Seeger and Belafonte, they also use music as a means to give voice to the voiceless and inspire people to change the world for themselves, their communities and future generations.
6:00 pm / FREE
Central Park SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield
Enter at 69th and 5th Ave.

Broadway Sings Justin Timberlake
Some of Broadway’s hottest talents will sing completely new arrangements of the hits of Justin Timberlake in the sixth concert of the BROADWAY SINGS concert series.

More than 15 Broadway performers will be accompanied by a full jazz band playing brand new, original orchestrations of the singer’s greatest songs. Previous concerts in the series were Adele, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé Stevie Wonder, and Amy Winehouse.
The concert will feature cover songs to celebrate Timberlake’s iconic songs, including “Cry Me a River”, “Suit and Tie”, and “My Love”, as well as popular hits from his legendary boy band, ‘N SYNC. The music will be orchestrated and arranged by Joshua Stephen Kartes.

Performers will include Jason Gotay (Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark, Bring it On), Amber Iman (Soul Doctor), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Hands on a Hardbody, Hair), Mykal Kilgore (Motown, The Book of Mormon), Corey Mach (Hands on a Hardbody, Godspell), Marla Mindelle (official fan page) (Cinderella, Sister Act), Ciara Renée (Pippin, Big Fish), and Zak Resnick (Mamma Mia). Additional performers will be announced at a later time.
(Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Str.
8PM / $20-$25

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
There’s a tradition in many New York City jazz clubs – Monday nights are reserved for big bands. The Village Vanguard, the most storied of clubs, has observed this practice since 1966. The Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, is definitely a big band with 4 trumpets, and 4 trombones to accompany 6 reed players. Why not make it your tradition, too.
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Avenue South, just below West 11th St.
At 8:30 and 10:30 pm / $25
212-255-4037 / villagevanguard.com

Elsewhere, but worth the detour:
The Moth GrandSLAM XXXII
An evening of storytelling by StorySLAM champs

“The World Cup may be a wrap, but there’s another much more storied championship that is still yet to be played out. Tonight, not-for-profit storytelling organization the Moth heads to Brooklyn to crown a GrandSLAM victor. If you enjoy a good tall tale, then this event, which showcases the best and brightest yarn weavers from the group’s last 10 StorySLAMS, should not disappoint.” (Mindy Bond, Editor, FlavorPill)
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. Sixth St., Brooklyn
800-745-3000; 718-486-5400 / musichallofwilliamsburg.com
At 7:30 p.m. / $20 (event just sold out, so keep this in mind next year)
not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is Bklyn’s WestSide.
subway:#1-2-3 to 14th St.; transfer to L to Bedford, (1st stop in Bklyn).
short walk to venue – 3 blks West on N 6th S

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WHAT’S ON VIEW: Special Exhibitions @ 4 MUSEUMS (Manhattan’s WestSide)

Museum of Modern Art:
‘Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948-1988’ (through Aug. 24)
‘Jasper Johns: Regrets’ (through Sept. 1)
‘Robert Heinecken: Object Matter’ (through Sept. 7)
‘A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio’ (through Oct. 5)
‘Designing Modern Women 1890-1990’(through Oct. 5)

Here’s what the NYT said about ‘A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio’
This mostly lively if repetitive overview traces the history of photography as the Modern never has — with images taken in the studio rather than out in the world. Its roughly 180 works span 160 years and represent some 90 portraitists, commercial photographers, lovers of still life, darkroom experimenters, Conceptual artists and several generations of postmodernists. Including film and video, it offers much to look at but dwells too much in the past, becoming increasingly blinkered and cautious as it approaches the present. 212-708-9400, moma.org.” (Smith-NYT)
Museum of Modern Art: 11 W 53rd St. (btw 5th /6th Ave.)
(212) 708-9400 / moma.org.

Designing Modern Women 1890-1990:

IN2265

American Folk Art Museum: ‘Self-Taught Genius: Treasures From the American Folk Art Museum’ (through Aug. 17)
This exhibition is not only an enthralling display of about 100 works from the museum’s permanent collection; it’s also an intellectually provocative effort to rethink the nature of artistic creativity. There are paintings and drawings, quilts, ceramics, handmade books, pieces of elaborately decorated furniture, duck decoys and weather vanes dating from the mid-18th to the early-21st centuries, all produced by people from many different walks of life who had no formal training in art. The inspirationally democratic message is that potential for creative genius is wired into the consciousness of everyone.
American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Avenue at 66th Street, 212-595-9533, folkartmuseum.org. (Ken Johnson-NYT)

International Center of Photography: ‘Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944-2013’ and ‘Caio Reisewitz’ (through Sept. 7)
It’s a Latin American summer at New York City art museums, with a high number of shows of work from South America and the Caribbean. This institution, as usual one step ahead of the curve, has two. The larger, “Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944-2013,” is a roomy survey of some 200 small, mostly black-and-white pictures that fit, with trimming and squeezing, into the genre of “street photography.” The second is a solo devoted to a single artist, the contemporary Brazilian photographer Caio Reisewitz, whose big color images of threatened tropical rain forests offer a lush antidote to urban grit — Manhattan’s included.
International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas, at 43rd Street, 212-857-0000, icp.org. (Cotter-NYT)

Museum of Arts and Design: ‘NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial’ (through Oct. 12) This plunge into the biennial format makes a big, messy splash sampling the visual culture across the city — whether opera set design, art or new technologies. An expansive, invigorating move, it still contains too much that is fun, cute, clutter-making or useless, aimed at those with plenty of disposable income and homes to decorate.
Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle,
212-299-7777, madmuseum.org. (Smith-NYT)

The Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya (ongoing)
This exhibition by artist Nathan Sawaya is a critically acclaimed collection of intriguing and inspiring works of art made exclusively from one of the most recognizable toys in the world — LEGO® bricks. The Discovery Times Square exhibit is the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO® art ever and features brand-new, never-before-seen pieces by Sawaya. This show was named ‘One of CNN’s Ten Global Must-See Exhibitions.’
Discovery Times Square, 226 West 44th St. (btw 7th/8th ave)
866.987.9692 / http://www.discoverytsx.com

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Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (07/20)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – SUNDAY, JULY 20, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
=========================================================================

MoMA Summergarden: New Music for New York
The Museum of Modern Art established Summergarden in 1971. In keeping with MoMA’s history of presenting jazz and classical music in the Sculpture Garden, this year’s concert series once again welcomes the participation of The Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Titled New Music for New York, the series comprises four evenings of adventurous contemporary music, with premieres each night. Juilliard concerts are performed by members of The New Juilliard Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Joel Sachs, who has assembled two distinctive programs of recent compositions, all of which are enjoying their New York premieres. Jazz at Lincoln Center has selected two up-and-coming jazz ensembles whose concerts emphasize original works, each with one world premiere.

Summergarden is free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Sculpture Garden may close if attendance reaches maximum capacity. Entrance to Summergarden is through the Sculpture Garden gate on West 54 Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The Sculpture Garden opens at 7:00 p.m., and concerts start at 8:00 p.m. and run approximately one hour to 90 minutes. The exhibition galleries are closed during Summergarden.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 11 West 53 St. (btw Fifth and Sixth avenues)
(212) 708-9400
all at 8PM:
Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Juilliard Concert II: New Music for String Quartet with Flute
Sunday, July 27, 2014 – Jazz Concert II: Helen Sung Quintet

A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger
“Pete Seeger, who died in January, and Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger, who died last July, were married for just under seventy years, and for nearly that long they were tireless and benevolent champions of peace, environmental issues, and anti-discrimination causes. As the composer of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (among many others) and the prime popularizer of “We Shall Overcome,” Pete Seeger was responsible for three of the most iconic and important pieces of music of the second half of the twentieth century.

The couple’s grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson has organized a five-day celebration of their legacy (Seeger Fest), with events in the Hudson Valley, as well as two free, all-star memorial concerts in the city. On July 20, at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, at Lincoln Center, Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, Fred Hellerman, the Paul Winter Consort, Tom Chapin, David Amram, and many other artists who worked with the Seegers take the stage. The speakers include George Wein, Harry Belafonte, and Michael Moore.” (NewYorker)
Damrosch Park Bandshell, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza
at 4:00 PM / FREE

Jane Monheit’s Jazz Party (Sundays through Sept. 28)
“Jazz’s need to create on the spot never really goes away–testing moves in front of an audience is always a consideration for performers who truly want to know how an arrangement or an approach will play to a crowd. Jane Monheit is an intrepid soul; starting tonight she’ll green-light this notion for the next three months, hosting a Sunday-evening “Jazz Party,” which affords audiences a chance to peek behind the curtain and enjoy the looseness of a jam session while basking in the talents of a very tight band.

The singer and her trio, including pianist Michael Kanan, bassist Neal Miner, and drummer Rick Montalbano, will be opening the doors to guest instrumentalists and giving new ideas plenty of elbow room–a spotlight on spontaneity. The boss lady and her seductive coo ain’t shy–Monheit is a natural charmer. Whether she’s tweaking her take on “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (there’s a Judy Garland tribute in her future) or embedding herself in a boo-hoo opus such as “Two Lonely People,” prepare for charisma around every turn.” (VillageVoice-Jim Macnie)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St.
212-581-3080, birdlandjazz.com
At 6 p.m. / $30 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Chelsea Block Party.
The Rubin Museum of Art throws a fun-filled Block Party celebrating their tenth anniversary year and new Family Sundays!
Best of all – Free admission to the galleries all day.
The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th St. (btw 6th/7th ave)
11am-6pm / FREE
212.620.5000

ASPECTS OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
Cats. The Phantom of the Opera. Evita. Jesus Christ Superstar. Starlight Express. Sunset Boulevard. Aspects of Love. Song & Dance… the list goes on. 54 Below is delighted to tip our hat to the artistry of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the celebrated composer who has left an indelible mark on Broadway, the West End & popular music.

Featuring a rotating cast of some of Broadway and cabaret’s best, Aspects of Andrew runs the gamut from the humor of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and By Jeeves, to the high-flying (adored) diva tunes that populate some of the most beloved musicals of the past half century. Turbans, masked deformity, roller skates, singing felines, love-starved hat designers, Mary Magdalene… expect it all at Aspects of Andrew. “Jellicle cats come out tonight!” Guests include: Kelli Rabke, Julie Reiber, Leenya Rideout, Rob Maitner, Derrick Cobey, Heather MacRae, Julie Reyburn, Brian Charles Rooney, Raissa Katona Bennett, Leah Horowitz, and special guest Karen Mason.
54 Below, 254 W 54th St., (btw Broadway and Eighth Ave)
(646) 476-3551 / 866-468-7619 / 54below.com
at 9:30PM / $30-40 cover charge. $25 food & beverage minimum.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
==============================================================================

 

A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker/W4th St.)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’ ”.

Each night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of wines and lite meals, fairly priced, but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. I should note that their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYC will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30pm – 11pm, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11am-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher st
Walk 1 blk S on 7th ave S to Bleecker st, 1 blk S/left on Bleecker to Jones st, 50 yards E/left on Jones st to Caffe V

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish280 Bleecker St (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $8 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S (corner of Bleecker)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang - 21 E 12th st (btw. University place/5th ave)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Sq park. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

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“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
That covers a wide range of food – pizza, burgers, food trucks/carts, vegetarian/falafel, ramen, chopped salad & salad bars, hot dogs, bbq, soup & sandwiches, picnic fixins’, raw bars & lobster rolls. No reservations needed. ================================================================================

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places and descriptions of my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods (plus 27 casual dining places with free Wi-Fi) order a copy of my e-book: “Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($3.99).
(available Fall 2014)

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Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Gallery Special Exhibits: Chelsea (07/19)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2014.

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
=========================================================================

Bolshoi Ballet (through July 27)
imageFor its much-anticipated return to the Lincoln Center Festival, where it last performed in 2000, the Bolshoi Ballet brings three full-length productions, beginning with Yuri Grigorovich’s “Swan Lake.” through July 20. (Siobhan Burke-NYT)

D.H.K. Theater, Lincoln Center,
212-721-6500, lincolncenterfestival.org
at 8 p.m., matinees July 19 and 20 at 2 p.m. / $35+
(Other performances continue through July 27.)

Encores! Off-Center
Pump Boys and Dinettes
A hybrid of country, rock and pop music, Pump Boys and Dinettes is the story of four gas station attendants and two waitresses at a small-town dinette in North Carolina. Originally performed by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann, who accompanied themselves on guitar, piano, bass, fiddle, accordion, and kitchen utensils, the show is a musical tribute to life on the roadside.

Pump Boys premiered Off-Broadway at the Chelsea West Side Arts Theatre in July 1981 and opened on Broadway on February 4, 1982 at the Princess Theatre, where it played 573 performances and was nominated for both Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical.
New York City Center, 131 West 55th ST. (btw 6th and 7th Avenues)
212-581-1212
8PM / $25-$90

Central Park Tango
Practice your Argentine tango in the park every summer Saturday. Hosted by New York Tango, this weekly event—now in its 18th season—features open dancing for all skill levels and includes a beginner lesson at approximately 7:30pm.
Literary Walk (in Central Park), 66th to 72nd Sts,
enter park at 65th St on the East or West Sides
newyorktango.com
AT 6:00pm / FREE

Jeff “Tain” Watts and Friends
“The drummer they call “Tain” spent his formative years with Branford Marsalis, and recent work suggests that the rhythm hound has as much respect for the great Elvin Jones as Branford has for Jones’s old boss John Coltrane. Just as impressive, Watts’s compositional skills now command as much attention as his percussive thunder. Here, the drummer hits midtown with pals TBA.” (TONY)
Iridium, 1650 Broadway, at 51st St
212-582-2121 / iridiumjazzclub.com
AT 8:00 & 10:00pm / $25 plus $15 minimum

Barbara Carroll
Ms. Carroll, “the first lady of jazz piano”, does it all. She is an elegant jazz pianist, composer, and vocalist. The NewYorker says: “Barbara Carroll’s jazz pianism is the subtlest and most intricate that New York has to offer.”

Long recognized as one of the premier players of swinging jazz and expressive vocals she holds forth weekly in this Saturday gig, accompanied by bassist, Jay Leonhart.
Birdland, 315 West 44th St. (btw 8th/9th Ave)
212-581-3080, birdlandjazz.com
At 6 p.m. / $30 cover, with a $10 minimum.

=============================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
==============================================================================

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater, and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art – my fave is Ovest on W 27th St., where the aperitivo is like Happy Hour on steroids.

For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide (nycgo.com) Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view. ==========================================================

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in the right Sidebar: “Selected Events + Special Exhibitions : Manhattan’s WestSide” dated (07/13) and (07/11).
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Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (07/18)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events  – FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
“9 Notable NYCity Events-July”, and also “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
=========================================================================

The Birdland Big Band
With Guest Conductor Rob Middleton

Founded by drummer and musical director Tommy Igoe, the Birdland Big Band features the finest musicians in New York! The BBB roars into action every Friday, playing the finest Jazz, Latin and Brazilian music from the world’s best arrangers. After work or before a show, drinks or a great dinner, come hear one of the world’s best drummers driving the hardest swinging band in New York. Experience why the BBB is the must-see weekly jazz event in New York and kick off your weekend with what critics are calling “the best live music bargain in all of NYC!”
Birdland, 315 West 44th St., (btw 8th/9th Ave)
212-581-3080 / birdlandjazz.com
at 5:00PM / All seats $30, $10 food/drink minimum

Pilobolus (through Aug. 10)
“In keeping with a summer tradition at the Joyce Theater, the dancers of Pilobolus return with two programs, each featuring a New York premiere. The first, “On the Nature of Things,” is a balancing act created and performed by three company members. “The Inconsistent Pedaler” (Program B) is a collaboration with the Israeli fiction writer Etgar Keret and the filmmaker Shira Geffen, revolving around a girl and her time-bending bicycle.” (Burke-NYT)
Mondays through Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.,
with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.,
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, at 19th St., Chelsea,
212-242-0800 / joyce.org / $10 to $69.

LILLIAS WHITE, THE BIRTHDAY SHOW
After taking 54 Below by storm this spring, Lillias White returns with a brand new show. This ultimate Broadway diva will celebrate her birthday week at 54 Below by sharing songs about the ups & downs, the ins & outs of love. Expect show stopping numbers from Cy Coleman, Nina Simone, Alan & Marilyn Bergman… and songs ranging from brand new rock covers to oldies to hits from the Studio 54 heyday.

Tony Award & Emmy Award winner Lillias White (The Life, Dreamgirls, Fela, Hercules) is a force of nature, and her 54 Below performance is one that you will never forget.
54 Below, 254 W 54th St., (btw Broadway/Eighth Ave)
July 18 at 8PM & July 19 at 8PM & 11PM
$40-50 cover charge for 8PM shows. $30-40 cover charge for 11PM show.
$25 food & beverage minimum.
(646) 476-3551 / 866-468-7619 / 54below.com

Ben Allison Group (through July 19)
“For about 15 years the bassist Ben Allison has been a bandleader-composer of reliable intelligence and modest but meaningful surprises. Most of the musicians he has assembled here — the multireedist Ted Nash, the guitarist Steve Cardenas and the drummer Rudy Royston — are regular partners. One, the trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, is a more recent collaborator, and an all-around compelling addition.” (Nate Chinen-NYT)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St., (btw 8th/9th Ave)
212-581-3080, birdlandjazz.com
At 8:30 and 11 p.m. / $40 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Elsewhere, but worth the detour:
Come Out and Play Festival
Whether one is maneuvering a bicycle through traffic, snagging a seat on a crowded subway train, or dodging tourists in Times Square, life in New York often feels like a game. This festival of street games ups the ante.

Beginning on the evening of July 18, “After Dark” turns Dumbo’s cobblestoned streets into a stage for PG-rated play. Activities include smartphone laser tag and an anti-gentrification game that transports players to 1979 to save Dumbo’s buildings from redevelopment.

On July 19, the action moves to Governors Island, where “Field Day” features new sports and field games such as Full-Contact Catan, in which the popular board game of territory and resource acquisition becomes a physical contest of slides and tackles. There’s also Kill the Kraken, which utilizes pool noodles, socks, and hula hoops; Stepball, which combines handball and rock-paper-scissors; and Hoot Pootooter, which involves throwing and catching vegetables.
Dumbo and Governors Island
comeoutandplay.org.

===============================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors, where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
==============================================================================

A PremierPub / Midtown West.

Russian Vodka Room / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys”, just down the block.

Those in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).

==========================================================

Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music some nights includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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