NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (WestVillage)

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

CHARLES LLOYD & THE MARVELS (also Dec.15)
at the Rose Theater / 8 p.m., $40+
“Lloyd, a tenor saxophone luminary and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, maintains Zen-like control, whether searing through a climactic solo or playing a smoothly searching melody at medium tempo. It’s a skill he’s had since the mid-1960s, when he was briefly hailed as jazz’s next great crossover star (he eschewed the spotlight soon after). In the last few years, he has released a series of winning albums on Blue Note, including this year’s “Vanished Gardens,” featuring his country-tinged band the Marvels, joined by the vocalist Lucinda Williams. They will play repertoire from that album at this two-night run at Jazz at Lincoln Center.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Luciana Souza
>> Ana Gasteyer: Holiday Tipple
>> JONATHAN MICHEL
>> CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
>> Kenny Barron Quintet 
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Handel’s Messiah
Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Luciana Souza (Dec.14-16.)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $30
Poetry has always been the marrow of the gifted singer Luciana Souza’s art. Her latest recording, “The Book of Longing,” adapts work by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, and, in his literary guise, Leonard Cohen, amid Souza’s apposite originals. Here, she reunites with the guitarist Chico Pinheiro and the bassist Scott Colley, both of whom brought their own poetic grace to the project.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Ana Gasteyer: Holiday Tipple
Schimmel Center at Pace University/ 7:30PM, $29+
“Best known for her six-year stint on Saturday Night Live and manic appearances on Lady Dynamite, Suburgatory and People of Earth, Ana Gasteyer has also had a successful stage career on Broadway and elsewhere, including a run as Wicked’s Elphaba and a cabaret show, I’m Hip, at the Cafe Carlyle. In this Christmas nightclub set, she decks the halls with classic ditties including “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” (TONY)

JONATHAN MICHEL
at Ginny’s Supper Club / 7 and 9 p.m.; $
“Michel is a Haitian-American bassist who’s now based in New York (after a formative stint on Philadelphia’s jazz scene in the 2000s). This month he released his debut album, “MDR,” on Imani Records, the label run by Orrin and Dawn Evans; it’s a peppery and distinctive record, blending influences from Haitian dance music, modern jazz and hip-hop. He will play music from the record as well as some holiday fare at this show, joined by Brandon Bain on vocals, Tivon Pennicot on tenor saxophone, Corey Wallace on trombone, Julius Rodriguez on keyboards, Anwar Marshall on drums and Kofi Hunter on percussion.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
at Alice Tully Hall / 7:30PM, $75+
“The society’s annual performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerts are a particularly beloved festive favorite. Notable instrumentalists this year include the flutist Adam Walker, a principal at the London Symphony, and the oboist James Austin Smith, of the International Contemporary Ensemble.” (NYT- David Allen)

Kenny Barron Quintet  (Dec.12-16)
Village Vanguard / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Any gig featuring veteran pianist, bandleader and composer Barron is positively guaranteed to reach the heights of suavity and improvisational fire. This year’s excellent Concentric Circles featured Barron’s quintet in top-notch form. Expect no less than professionalism here.” (TONY)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 8PM, $30+
“This troupe continues its run at City Center with its “Three Visionaries” program, opening on Friday. It spotlights dances created by the artistic directors who have presided over the company since its formation in 1958: Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison and Robert Battle. From Jamison, the artistic director emerita, are excerpts from “Divining” and “Forgotten Time.” Battle, its current artistic director, offers “Mass” and “Ella,” and from Ailey, its founder, there are the classics “Cry” and “Revelations.” Another program pick is “Timeless Ailey” (on Saturday), a presentation of rarely seen Ailey dances, including “Pas de Duke” and “The Lark Ascending.” Both are gems.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.11-15)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $34+
“Presented by Gary W. Parr The Messiah of all Messiahs! The New York Philharmonic’s Messiah is the must-see, must-hear holiday event. Every bar of Handel’s greatest masterpiece — whether upon first encounter or at a yearly ritual — speaks to us with passion, beauty, spirituality, and joy. Dazzling solos, instrumental fireworks, and the most glorious choral writing of all time never fail to thrill.”

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

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Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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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.

kac_120405_phude_corner_bistro_bar_1000-600x450In 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 celebrated it’s 55th anniversary last 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 $9.75, 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: 1 blk W. on 13th St. to 8th Ave.; 1 blk S. on 8th Ave. to Jane St.
Update:
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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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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/13) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

La Bohème  (last performance)
The Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $30+
“Puccini’s timeless masterpiece of love and loss features two casts of young stars. Sopranos Nicole Car (in her highly anticipated Met debut) and Ailyn Pérez share the role of the ill-fated Mimì, opposite tenors Vittorio Grigolo and Michael Fabiano as the ardent poet Rodolfo. After a celebrated Met debut as Mimì in 2017, Angel Blue returns as the spitfire Musetta, and Etienne Dupuis and Lucas Meachem appear as Marcello. James Gaffigan conducts.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Cyrus Chestnut Trio
>> LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO 
>> Handel’s “Messiah”
>> Kenny Barron Quintet 
>> Ikue Mori
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Handel’s Messiah
Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Cyrus Chestnut Trio (Dec.13-16)
Smoke Jazz Club / 7, 9, 10:30PM, $40
“Although his most recent album, “Kaleidoscope,” finds Cyrus Chestnut reconfiguring compositions by Erik Satie and Deep Purple, it’s safe to say that this mainstay pianist—a passionate stylist who is deeply informed by the spirit of gospel music—will dip into a roomier jazz repertoire at this engagement. He’s joined by the album’s rhythm team: Eric Wheeler on bass and Chris Beck on drums.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO  (through Dec. 30).
at the Joyce Theater / 8 p.m, $45+
“This all-male troupe, dancing in point shoes and drag, has been honoring and skewering ballet since 1974. Now the formidable fellas in tutus return to the Joyce for a nearly three-week engagement with two programs. Program A includes their slapstick version of “Swan Lake, Act II” paired with a cheeky take on the 19th-century Petipa ballet “The Little Humpbacked Horse.” Program B features “ChopEniana,” a wink at Fokine, and “Stars and Stripes Forever,” an air kiss to Balanchine, set to the music of John Philip Sousa. Sure, it’s silly, but the dancing is impressively skillful, too.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Handel’s “Messiah”  (also Dec.14,16,17)
Trinity Church / 7:30PM, all performances sold out, waitlist (note this one for next year)
The performance on Sunday, December 16, will be live streamed on our website and available on Facebook live. Visit trinitywallstreet.org or the live Facebook event at 3pm ET to watch.

“If you grew up thinking of Handel’s “Messiah” as a sweet, staid pageant, a holiday ritual involving a little nap and a stand-and-deliver “Hallelujah” chorus, the forces of Trinity Wall Street offer the gritty, fearless cure, from Dec. 13-17, with what stands apart as New York’s best.

In our survey of the city’s many versions of Handel’s masterpiece last year, my colleagues called Trinity Wall Street’s “perhaps the essential New York ‘Messiah,’” and they weren’t wrong. Julian Wachner conducts the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street in a reading that has been fiercely dramatic in music that can too often be treated as a comfy part of the festive scenery.” (NYT)

Kenny Barron Quintet  Dec.12-16)
Village Vanguard / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Any gig featuring veteran pianist, bandleader and composer Barron is positively guaranteed to reach the heights of suavity and improvisational fire. This year’s excellent Concentric Circles featured Barron’s quintet in top-notch form. Expect no less than professionalism here.” (TONY)

Ikue Mori (Dec.11-15)
at the Stone, 55 W. 13th St. / 8:30PM, $20
“It’s hard to imagine New York’s experimental music scene—with its fertile mashup of avant rock, jazz, and new music—without the remarkable contributions of the percussionist and electronics visionary Ikue Mori. This residency finds her joining forces with her fellow sonic adventurers Mary Halvorson and Satoko Fujii as well as the luminaries John Zorn and Craig Taborn.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.11-15)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $34+
“Presented by Gary W. Parr The Messiah of all Messiahs! The New York Philharmonic’s Messiah is the must-see, must-hear holiday event. Every bar of Handel’s greatest masterpiece — whether upon first encounter or at a yearly ritual — speaks to us with passion, beauty, spirituality, and joy. Dazzling solos, instrumental fireworks, and the most glorious choral writing of all time never fail to thrill.”

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

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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

Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
=============================================

New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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Bonus NYC events– Jazz Clubs:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. My favorite Jazz Clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide, feature top talent every night of the week.
Hit the Hot Link and check out who is playing tonight:

Greenwich Village:
(5 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 178 7th Ave. So., villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319 (6pm)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com/ 212-864-6662 (7pm)

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538 (1st 7pm)
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are My Fave Special Exhibitions @ MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Hilma af Klint : Paintings for the Future (thru 02/03/19)

“Convinced that the world was not ready for her artistry in 1906, particularly as an underrepresented female in her field, af Klint of Sweden kept her work private. Her paintings anticipated by years “breakthroughs” by Kandinsky, Mondrian and others and were unseen before 1986. The Guggenheim rediscovers her.”

“Recognized as one of the art world’s earliest abstract painters, Hilma af Klint was a steadfast believer that her work was inspired by the spiritual. The new Guggenheim exhibition, “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future,” showcases the work of this groundbreaking Swedish artist (1862-1944), whose work was rarely seen until the 1980s.” (Newsday)

Jewish Museum

‘CHAGALL, LISSITZKY, MALEVICH: THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE IN VITEBSK, 1918-1922’ (through Jan. 6). This crisp and enlightening exhibition, slimmed but not diminished from its initial outing at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, restages the instruction, debates and utopian dreaming at the most progressive art school in revolutionary Russia. Marc Chagall encouraged stylistic diversity at the short-lived People’s Art School in his native Vitebsk (today in the republic of Belarus), and while his dreamlike paintings of smiling workers and flying goats had their defenders, the students came to favor the abstract dynamism of two other professors: Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky, whose black and red squares offered a radical new vision for a new society. Both the romantics and the iconoclasts would eventually fall out of favor in the Soviet Union, and the People’s Art School would close in just a few years — but this exhibition captures the glorious conviction, too rare today, that art must serve the people. (NYT-Farago)

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’  “After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought and refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles modern and contemporary art, by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze — with 4,000 years of Judaica. The works are shown in a nimble, non-chronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilletantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations.” (Farago) 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

Museum of the City of New York

NY AT ITS CORE (ongoing)
“Ten years in the making, New York at Its Core tells the compelling story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” The exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other and a subject of fascination the world over. Entertaining, inspiring, important, and at times bemusing, New York City “big personalities,” including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z, and dozens more, parade through the exhibition. Visitors will also learn the stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco. Even animals like the horse, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster, which played pivotal roles in the economy and daily life of New York, get their moment in the historical spotlight. Occupying the entire first floor in three interactive galleries (Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab) New York at Its Core is shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and underlie the modern global metropolis we know today. mcny.org” (NYCity Guide)

and you should be sure to check out these special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish for NewYorkers)

‘ARMENIA!’ (through Jan. 13). The first major museum exhibition ever devoted to the art of Armenia — officially its “medieval” era, but in fact spanning nearly 1,500 years — bulges with weighty stone crosses, intricate altar frontals and flamboyantly illuminated Bibles and Gospel books unlike any manuscripts you’ve seen from that time. Armenia, in the Caucasus Mountains, was the first country to convert to Christianity, in the fourth century, and the richly painted religious texts here, lettered in the unique Armenian alphabet, are a testament to the centrality of the church in a nation that would soon be plunged into the world of Islam. By the end of the Middle Ages, Armenian artists were working as far afield as Rome, where an Armenian bishop painted this show’s most astounding manuscript: a tale of Alexander the Great that features the Macedonian king’s ship swallowed by an enormous brown crab, hooking the sails with its pincers as its mouth gapes. (NYT-Jason Farago)

Delacroix  (Now-1/6/19)
“This is the first comprehensive U.S. retrospective of the work of French artist Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863). The Met has teamed up with The Louvre, showcasing in chronological order some 150 pieces, including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and prints.” (cityguideny)

‘CROWNS OF THE VAJRA MASTERS: RITUAL ART OF NEPAL’ (through Dec. 16). “Up a narrow staircase, above the Met’s galleries of South and Southeast Asian art, are three small rooms of art from the Himalayas. The space, a bit like a treehouse, is a capsule of spiritual energy, which is especially potent these days thanks to this exhibition. The crowns of the title look like antique versions of astronaut headgear: gilded copper helmets, studded with gems, encrusted with repoussé plaques and topped by five-pronged antennas — the vajra, or thunderbolt of wisdom. Such crowns were believed to turn their wearers into perfected beings who are willing and able to bestow blessings on the world. This show is the first to focus on these crowns, and it does so with a wealth of compressed historical information, as well as several resplendent related sculptures and paintings from Nepal and Tibet. But it’s the crowns themselves, the real ones, the wisdom generators, set in mandala formation in the center of the gallery, that are the fascinators.” (NYT-Holland Cotter)

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:
• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW) for NewYorkers

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (Wed 2-6pm PWYW; First Friday each month (exc Jan+Sep) 6-9pm FREE) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015).
==============================================================
For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/11 and 12/09.
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NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/12) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Sullivan Fortner Trio
With pianist Sullivan Fortner, bassist Ryan Berg, and drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemons.
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $20-$35
“New Orleans’ Sullivan Fortner is one of the most promising young voices on piano. In 2015, the American Pianist Association named him its Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz, and he has worked extensively with Stefon Harris, Christian Scott, Roy Hargrove, John Scofield, members of the Marsalis family, and in duet with audience and critic favorite Cécile McLorin Salvant. Of Fortner and Salvant’s 2018 duet album, The Window, Variety says, “If there were such a thing as a Grammy for best jazz piano album, The Window should rightfully be up for that, too, because keyboardist Sullivan Fortner is an equal—and equally spectacular—partner through all 17 tracks, regardless of whether he gets cover billing.” Fortner is a regular on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s larger stages, and tonight’s performance will be his anticipated return to Dizzy’s Club as a bandleader. This is top-notch piano jazz, and Fortner is an exceptional talent that any jazz fan should experience in person.”

=========================================================
7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> ESPERANZA SPALDING
>> Kenny Barron Quintet 
>> Ikue Mori
>> Handel’s Messiah
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Suicide of the West:
>> Taste Makers: A Conversation with Paul Freedman
Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
========================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

ESPERANZA SPALDING
at the Town Hall / 8 p.m., $45+
“Over the past four years, this bassist and vocalist has been working her way down a jazz-rock fusion trail of her own design. For a while, it was unclear where it was going to lead. The release this fall of “12 Little Spells,” a bold recording featuring videos accompanying each song, was the reward for her fans’ patience: It unifies her prolix, philosophical style of writing with a devotion to groove and ear-encompassing orchestration. Spalding and her band will perform music from the album at this show.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Kenny Barron Quintet  Dec.12-16)
Village Vanguard / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Any gig featuring veteran pianist, bandleader and composer Barron is positively guaranteed to reach the heights of suavity and improvisational fire. This year’s excellent Concentric Circles featured Barron’s quintet in top-notch form. Expect no less than professionalism here.” (TONY)

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.11-15)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $34+
“Presented by Gary W. Parr The Messiah of all Messiahs! The New York Philharmonic’s Messiah is the must-see, must-hear holiday event. Every bar of Handel’s greatest masterpiece — whether upon first encounter or at a yearly ritual — speaks to us with passion, beauty, spirituality, and joy. Dazzling solos, instrumental fireworks, and the most glorious choral writing of all time never fail to thrill.”

Ikue Mori (Dec.11-15)
at the Stone, 55 W. 13th St. / 8:30PM, $20
“It’s hard to imagine New York’s experimental music scene—with its fertile mashup of avant rock, jazz, and new music—without the remarkable contributions of the percussionist and electronics visionary Ikue Mori. This residency finds her joining forces with her fellow sonic adventurers Mary Halvorson and Satoko Fujii as well as the luminaries John Zorn and Craig Taborn.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

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

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Nationalism, Populism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy
Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, 18 Bleecker St./ 7PM, $10
“With his trademark blend of political history, social science, economics, and pop culture, two-time New York Times bestselling author, syndicated columnist, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg makes the timely case that America and other democracies are in peril as they lose the will to defend the values and institutions that sustain freedom and prosperity.

Moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez. Kathryn is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and an editor-at-large of National Review.”

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:

Taste Makers: A Conversation with Paul Freedman and Mayukh Sen
Museum of Food and Drink, 62 Bayard St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn / 6:30PM, $30
“Between Michelin stars, the World’s Best and America’s Hottest lists, and the more populist restaurant-rating apps, there is no shortage of ranking systems that dictate the best and most popular restaurants across the world. Yet what defines best, who gets left out, and why do we care so much?

Since its publication in 2016, Paul Freedman’s The 10 Restaurants That Changed America has shifted the conversation, going beyond the typical ranking system and asking: what makes a restaurant influential? In the new paperback edition, which features an afterword on the ten restaurants changing America now, Freedman continues to interrogate which establishments are changing how we eat out.

Join Paul Freedman and Mayukh Sen in conversation as they discuss Freedman’s process in deciding The 10 Restaurants That Changed America (both then and now), the difference between quality and influence, how you can measure influence, and why it matters.

A reception and book signing will follow featuring dishes from two of the 10 restaurants.”

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

Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
=============================================

New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

==========================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

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

Bonus NYC Events – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Hit the Hot Link and check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St. (btw 6/7), thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
Sony Hall – 235 W 46th St. (btw 7/8), sonyhall.com, 212-997-5123
and one more, not exactly WestSide:
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. caffevivaldi.com, 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

See Below.
———————————————————————————————————-

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
=================================================================================

A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./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’. ”

maxresdefaultEach 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 fairly priced wines,  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. 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, NYCity will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

CAFFE VIVALDI HAS CLOSED,  JUNE 23 WAS THE FINAL NIGHT. VERY SAD.
I HAVE LEFT THIS REVIEW ON MY SITE AS A KIND OF MEMORIAL.
As reported in the “Gothamist”:
“Caffe Vivaldi, one of the last bohemian bastions of the West Village, is set to close this weekend. During its 35 years on Jones Street, the casual cafe won the hearts of locals and celebs alike, including Oscar Isaac, Bette Midler, and Al Pacino.

Despite that friendly communal atmosphere, the owners ultimately struggled to survive under their notorious vulture landlord Steve Croman, who they say waged a harassment campaign against the restaurant, and eventually tripled their rent.”

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 left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards left on Jones St. to Caffe V.
==============================================================
“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.

If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
========================================================

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:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St. (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $9 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 St.)
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 Square 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.

========================================================
“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
========================================================
NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24,000 eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($4.99, available SPRING 2019).
◊ Order before MAY 31, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/11) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.11-15)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $34+
“Presented by Gary W. Parr The Messiah of all Messiahs! The New York Philharmonic’s Messiah is the must-see, must-hear holiday event. Every bar of Handel’s greatest masterpiece — whether upon first encounter or at a yearly ritual — speaks to us with passion, beauty, spirituality, and joy. Dazzling solos, instrumental fireworks, and the most glorious choral writing of all time never fail to thrill.”

=========================================================
7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
>> CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
>> Ikue Mori
>> La Traviata
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce
>> CECIL TAYLOR MEMORIAL
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
========================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
at the Joyce Theater (Dec. 11-12, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 13, 8 p.m, through Dec. 30).
“This all-male troupe, dancing in point shoes and drag, has been honoring and skewering ballet since 1974. Now the formidable fellas in tutus return to the Joyce for a nearly three-week engagement with two programs. Program A includes their slapstick version of “Swan Lake, Act II” paired with a cheeky take on the 19th-century Petipa ballet “The Little Humpbacked Horse.” Program B features “ChopEniana,” a wink at Fokine, and “Stars and Stripes Forever,” an air kiss to Balanchine, set to the music of John Philip Sousa. Sure, it’s silly, but the dancing is impressively skillful, too.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
at Alice Tully Hall / 7:30PM, $75+
“The Chamber Music Society has long given performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos during the holiday season, and now that’s expanded into a larger Baroque project. Here the instrumental players are joined by the soprano Joélle Harvey in vocal music from Handel and Bach, as well as further pieces by Quantz and Vivaldi.” (NYT- David Allen)

Ikue Mori (Dec.11-15)
at the Stone, 55 W. 13th St. / 8:30PM, $20
“It’s hard to imagine New York’s experimental music scene—with its fertile mashup of avant rock, jazz, and new music—without the remarkable contributions of the percussionist and electronics visionary Ikue Mori. This residency finds her joining forces with her fellow sonic adventurers Mary Halvorson and Satoko Fujii as well as the luminaries John Zorn and Craig Taborn.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

La Traviata (next Dec.15, 1PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $37+
“Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Michael Mayer’s richly textured new production, featuring a dazzling 18th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Soprano Diana Damrau plays the tragic heroine, Violetta, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to the Met for the first time in five seasons to sing the role of Alfredo, Violetta’s hapless lover. Baritone Quinn Kelsey is Alfredo’s father, Germont, who destroys their love. Later performances feature Anita Hartig, Stephen Costello, Artur Ruciński, and Plácido Domingo.”

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

Taylor Mac: Holiday Sauce
The Town Hall / 8PM, $51+
“A Fabergé radical—beautiful, ridiculous and full of hidden tricks—the sublimely freakish Mac pilots audiences through fantastical journeys, guided by the compass of his magnetic individuality. In the culmination of a five-year project, the writer-performer recently surveyed the past 250 years of American music in a 24-hour marathon that was immediately hailed as a history-making event in and of itself. At the Town Hall, with help from costume designer Machine Dazzle and music director Matt Ray, the 2017 MacArthur Fellow sleighs it with Christmas songs.” (TONY)

Elsewhere but this looks worth the detour, if you can get in:

CECIL TAYLOR MEMORIAL
at Roulette / 7 p.m., $wait list
“For the second week in a row, New York is mourning the loss of Cecil Taylor with a star-studded tribute concert. At this memorial event, presented by Arts for Art, the pianist and free-jazz pioneer — who died in April — will be celebrated with performances by dozens of musicians, including the drummer Andrew Cyrille, the pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, the alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and the trumpeter Jaimie Branch.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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

Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
=============================================

New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

==========================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

=====================================================
Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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

WHAT’S ON VIEW
My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s WestSide
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museums,
and also to see their expanded reviews of exhibitions)

Whitney Museum of American Art

‘ANDY WARHOL — FROM A TO B AND BACK AGAIN’  (through March 31) and ‘SHADOWS’ at Calvin Klein Headquarters, 205 W. 39th Street (through Dec. 15). “Although this is the artist’s first full American retrospective in 31 years, he’s been so much with us — in museums, galleries, auctions — as to make him, like wallpaper, like the atmosphere, only half-noticed. The Whitney show restores him to a full, commanding view, but does so in a carefully shaped and edited way, with an emphasis on very early and late work. Despite the show’s monumentalizing size, supplemented by an off-site display of the enormous multipanel painting called “Shadows,” it’s a human-scale Warhol we see. Largely absent is the artist-entrepreneur who is taken as a prophet of our market-addled present. What we have instead is Warhol for whom art, whatever else it was, was an expression of personal hopes and fears.”  (Cotter)

Museum of Modern Art:

A special pat on the back to MOMA, who is now displaying art from the seven countries affected by Trump’s travel ban.

“Trump’s ban against refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations has sparked acts of defiance in NYC, from demonstrations across town, to striking taxicab drivers at JFK to Middle Eastern bodega owners closing their shops in protest. Recently, the Museum Of Modern added its two cents by bringing out artworks it owns from the affected countries, and hanging them prominently within the galleries usually reserved for 19th- and 20th-century artworks from Europe and the United States. Paintings by Picasso and Matisse, for example, were removed to make way for pieces by Tala Madani (from Iran), Ibrahim El-Salahi (from Sudan) and architect Zaha Hadid (from Iraq). The rehanging, which was unannounced, aims to create a symbolic welcome that repudiates Trump by creating a visual dialog between the newly added works and the more familiar objects from MoMA’s permanent collection.” (TONY)

‘BRUCE NAUMAN: DISAPPEARING ACTS’  (through Feb. 18)
“If art isn’t basically about life and death, and the emotions and ethics they inspire, what is it about? Style? Taste? Auction results? The most interesting artists go right for the big, uncool existential stuff, which is what Bruce Nauman does in a transfixing half-century retrospective that fills the entire sixth floor of the MoMA and much of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The MoMA installation is tightly paced and high decibel; the one at PS1, which includes a trove of works on paper, is comparatively mellow and mournful. Each location offers a rough chronological overview of his career, but catching both parts of the show is imperative. Nauman has changed the way we define what art is and what is art, and made work prescient of the morally wrenching American moment we’re in. He deserves to be seen in full.” (Cotter)

‘CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI SCULPTURE: THE FILMS’ (through Feb. 18).
“This show is built around works by the Romanian modernist (1876-1957) that have been longtime highlights of the museum’s own collection. But in 2018, can Brancusi still release our inner poet? The answer may lie in paying less attention to the sculptures themselves and more to Brancusi’s little-known and quite amazing films, projected at the entrance to the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition. MoMA borrowed the series of video clips from the Pompidou Center in Paris. They give the feeling that Brancusi was less interested in making fancy museum objects than in putting new kinds of almost-living things into the world, and convey the vital energy his sculptures were meant to capture.”(Blake Gopnik)

‘BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ: CITY DREAMS’ (through Jan. 1). “The first comprehensive survey of the Congolese artist is a euphoric exhibition as utopian wonderland featuring his fantasy architectural models and cities — works strong in color, eccentric in shape, loaded with enthralling details and futuristic aura. Mr. Kingelez (1948-2015) was convinced that the world had never seen a vision like his, and this beautifully designed show bears him out.” (NYT-Smith)
212-708-9400, moma.org

Rubin Museum of Art

Chitra Ganesh: The Scorpion Gesture (Through Jan. 7)
“The Brooklyn artist’s new animations ingeniously combine her own drawings and watercolors with historical imagery, peppering the journeys of bodhisattvas with contemporary pop-culture references. Five of these pieces are installed on the museum’s second and third floors amid its collection of Himalayan art, elements of which appear in her psychedelic sequences of spinning mandalas and falling lotus flowers. (Ganesh’s works are activated, as if by magic, when viewers approach.) In “Rainbow Body,” a cave, which also appears in a nearby painting of Mandarava, is filled with people in 3-D glasses, watching as the guru-deity attains enlightenment. “Silhouette in the Graveyard” is projected behind a glass case containing a small sculpture of Maitreya, from late-eighteenth-century Mongolia, for a cleverly dioramalike effect. Prophesied to arrive during an apocalyptic crisis, the bodhisattva is seen here against Ganesh’s montage, which includes footage of global catastrophes and political protests, from the Women’s March to Black Lives Matter.” (

‘THE FUTURE’ (through Jan. 7).
“It flies and flows and creeps. You measure it, spend it, waste it. It’s on your side, or it’s not. We’re talking about time, and so is the Rubin. It is devoting its entire 2018 season and all its spaces to time as a theme, with an accent on the future. There’s a fine historical show devoted to the Second Buddha, Padmasambhava (“lotus born”), subtitled “Master of Time.” Judging by the images and models of him, Padmasambhava was a genial, if mercurial, teacher, alternately baby-faced and beaming or stern in a nice-dad way. Before he moved on from the mortal realm to a mystical mountain palace, he left karmic extensions of himself called “treasure revealers” — also represented here in painting and sculpture — who reach from the past into the present to change the future. This era-leaping dynamic is operative in all parts of the Rubin’s multifloor thematic installation.” (Cotter)

==============================================================
For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/09 and 12/07.
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NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/10) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

La Bohème  (next Dec.13, 8PM)
The Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $30+
“Puccini’s timeless masterpiece of love and loss features two casts of young stars. Sopranos Nicole Car (in her highly anticipated Met debut) and Ailyn Pérez share the role of the ill-fated Mimì, opposite tenors Vittorio Grigolo and Michael Fabiano as the ardent poet Rodolfo. After a celebrated Met debut as Mimì in 2017, Angel Blue returns as the spitfire Musetta, and Etienne Dupuis and Lucas Meachem appear as Marcello. James Gaffigan conducts.”

“A thrilling La Bohème … radiating warmth … luxury cast” (New York Times)

=========================================================
6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Michael Longoria: Merry Christmas Darling
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
>> JUILLIARD ORCHESTRA
>> Juilliard Jazz Ensembles: The Music of Lennie Tristano and Charlie Parker
>> Public Lecture Series with Dr. Patrick Hunt–“Tracking Hannibal”
>> Oculus Book Talk: William B. Helmreich and Sam Lubell
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
========================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Michael Longoria: Merry Christmas Darling
Birdland / 8:30PM, $30
“Best known for his Broadway star turn as Franki Valli in Jersey Boys, Longoria applies soaring vocals to yuletide faves in a show that celebrates the release of his latest album, Merry Christmas Darling. Expect chestnuts like “Sleigh Ride” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” along with rarer selections, including one original song.” (TONY)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Birdland, / 9:30PM, $30
Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly soiree that brings a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night. It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars, backed by Steve Doyle on bass, Billy Stritch on piano and Daniel Glass on drums, hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.” (broadwayworld)

JUILLIARD ORCHESTRA
at Alice Tully Hall / 7:30PM, $30
The composer John Adams takes the rostrum to lead Juilliard’s instrumental students in his own “Doctor Atomic Symphony” — a development of his remarkably successful opera — as well as “Ciel d’hiver” by Kaija Saariaho and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4.” (NYT-David Allen)

Juilliard Jazz Ensembles: The Music of Lennie Tristano and Charlie Parker
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $15-$30
7:30PM set (Dave Brubeck Ensemble)
9:30PM set (Mary Lou Williams Ensemble)

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

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Public Lecture Series with Dr. Patrick Hunt–“Tracking Hannibal”
The Explorers Club  46 E. 70th St./ 7PM, $25
“Unexpectedly, in the 2,200 years since Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca took war elephants over the Pyrenees and the Alps into Italy, no one has ever tried to trace the actual route. No one until Dr. Patrick Hunt, that is, who will speak about his 10-year National Geographic-sponsored field expedition, which made use of “GIS, photogrammetry, paleoclimatology, geomorphology, palynology, soil chemistry, lichenometry, and forensic science.” (ThoughtGallery)

Oculus Book Talk: William B. Helmreich and Sam Lubell
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl./ 6PM, $10
“Hear from the authors of two architectural guides for the holiday season: The Manhattan Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide by William B. Helmreich and Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA by Sam Lubell.”

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

Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
=============================================

New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

==========================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

===========================================================
Bonus NYC events– Jazz Clubs:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. My favorite Jazz Clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide, feature top talent every night of the week.
Hit the Hot Link and check out who is playing tonight:

Greenwich Village:
(5 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 178 7th Ave. So., villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319 (6pm)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com/ 212-864-6662 (7pm)

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538 (1st 7pm)
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

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

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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

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.
(Alas, no more. After 10 years, “Jersey Boys” finally closed, now it’s “Mean Girls.”)

lThose 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 near the piano man; 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 now includes a younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.
Update#2: Rumor that “Tiny” is back playing only on Friday nights – need to check it out.

==============================================================================
“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

NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/09) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

TWYLA THARP DANCE  (LAST DAY)
at the Joyce Theater / 2PM; $60+
“Tharp takes inspiration from just about anything fit for a stage — from ballet to the circus to baton twirling — so she can sometimes feel like a stylistic maximalist. But early in her career, she caught the minimalism bug sweeping through the arts at the time. This nearly four-week engagement, called “Minimalism and Me,” focuses on works she created between 1965 and 1971. Among them are the now-classic “Tank Dive,” “The History of Up and Down” and “Eight Jelly Rolls,” a richly layered romp to music by the ragtime master Jelly Roll Morton.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

=========================================================
7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> 45th Annual Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center
>> MAXWELL
>> CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
>> Ben Allison & Think Free
>> ANNA NETREBKO
>> “Peter and the Wolf”
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
========================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

45th Annual Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Hear a big brass band play beneath the Rockefeller tree
30 Rockefeller Plaza / 3:30PM, FREE
“Watch hundreds of tenor and bass tuba-toting musicians of all ages and hometowns gather on the rink at Rockefeller Center to play Christmas classics (you’re welcome to carol along!). This year marks the 45th anniversary of the tradition. Chris Wilhjelm, conductor of the famous Goldman band, will lead this year’s performance.” (thrillist)

MAXWELL
at the Beacon Theater / 8PM, $100+
“Of the 1990s neo-soul artists who made a mainstream impact, the Brooklyn-born crooner Maxwell might have been the most unlikely: His delicate, understated style was hardly irresistible radio fodder (though his work has long been a staple of adult R&B stations), and his deliberate, complex ballads seemed ill suited to court anyone beyond R&B purists. Despite this outlier status, not long after Maxwell returned from a seven-year hiatus, he found himself surrounded by artists who took his influence and ran with it, like Miguel, Frank Ocean and Daniel Caesar. Now, Maxwell’s sound seems ubiquitous.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER  (also Dec. 11,7:30 p.m.).
at Alice Tully Hall / 5PM, $75+
“The Chamber Music Society has long given performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos during the holiday season, and now that’s expanded into a larger Baroque project. Here the instrumental players are joined by the soprano Joélle Harvey in vocal music from Handel and Bach, as well as further pieces by Quantz and Vivaldi.” (NYT- David Allen)

Ben Allison & Think Free
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35-$45
“Bassist Ben Allison is an adventurous and versatile composer known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves, and hummable melodies. Allison draws from jazz, rock, folk, 20th century classical, and various world music traditions, blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole while also leaving plenty of room for spontaneous improvisation. His Think Free quartet focuses on melody, groove, and texture in equal measure, engaging in the kind of group interplay that has become one of Allison’s stylistic hallmarks. Each of their first three albums topped the jazz radio charts in the United States (often remaining in the top ten for months), and their latest, Layers of the City, has been met with overwhelming critical acclaim. Music fans looking for something totally unique yet readily accessible will find these sets particularly rewarding.”

ANNA NETREBKO
at Carnegie Hall / 2PM, $
“Under the title “Day and Night,” the superstar soprano gives a recital that covers an immense amount of ground. With Malcolm Martineau at the piano, she sings Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Strauss and more. The mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano and the violinist David Chan are on hand to help.” (NYT- David Allen)

“Peter and the Wolf”
Guggenheim, Fifth Ave. at 89th St. / 2:30PM, +4PM, $45
“Prokofiev’s wonderful children’s work for narrator and chamber ensemble is both a fable about a headstrong boy and, cleverly, an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra. The hero is the young Peter, who disobeys his grandfather and is forced to solve a rather sticky situation involving a duck, a bird, and a hungry wolf. (Each character is matched with a corresponding instrument and musical motif.) In this chamber production for “Works & Process,” which has become something of a holiday standard, the style guru Isaac Mizrahi narrates, his delivery alternately avuncular and sassy. The backup band is the excellent Ensemble Signal, and the action is played out in dance and pantomime by members of Dance Heginbotham.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 3PM, +7:30PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

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

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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

Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
=============================================

New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

============================================================================
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

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

Bonus NYC Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
and one more, not quite WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. caffevivaldi.com, 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.
===========================================================

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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

Chelsea Art Gallery District*

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.

Here is one exhibition the New Yorker likes:

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.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better to plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm). OR try this NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

=======================================================
For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 12/07 and 12/05.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/08) + Today’s Featured Pub (Times Square / Theater District)

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above:  NYC Events-December”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

West Side Story Reimagined
Performed by the Multi-Grammy-Nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
Museum of Mathematics, 11 E. 26th St./ 7:30PM,
Talk $25; with performance $55
“The composer and mathematician Joseph Schillinger once said, “Math is music, music is math.” No better example of this can be found than in Leonard Bernstein’s incredible score to West Side Story. Fusing progressive big-band jazz, lyric opera, modern dance, Latin rhythms, and symphonic and chamber music into a groundbreaking masterpiece, it revolutionized the Broadway musical. A student of numerology, Bernstein created the entire score from the haunting opening three notes of the whistle which he adapted from the Jewish shofar ram’s horn call to war. It opened the door to a multiverse of modern harmony, complex rhythms, and meters that left audiences amazed. Join the 21-piece multi-Grammy-nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band as they perform their critically acclaimed Latin jazz reimagining of the entire score in celebration of the maestro’s centennial!

Before attending this live performance on December 8, learn more about the mathematics of Bernstein at a talk with his daughter, Jamie Bernstein and composer Bobby Sanabria. You can purchase a joint ticket for both events for the discounted price of $55. Limited seating available. First come, first served.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Frances Ruffelle Live(S) in New York
>> Ballet Hispanico
>> “Peter and the Wolf”
>> STEVE MILLER AND MARTY STUART
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> THE FOURTH ANNUAL ROOTS N’ RUCKUS FEST
>> Chelsea Art Gallery Tour
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Frances Ruffelle Live(S) in New York
The Green Room 42 / 7PM, $20
“Ruffelle has a place of her own in the hearts of musical-theater fans for her performance as sacrificial waif Éponine in the original London and Broadway casts of Les Misérables. Having recently relocated to New York City, she returns to the nightclub stage with a charmingly game and gamine monthly set at the Green Room 42.” (TONY)

Eponine is all grown up and she puts on one hot show – don’t miss it.

Ballet Hispanico
Watch Latin dance at The Apollo
“The Ballet Hispanico dance company offers more than just amazing moment; it’s a celebration of Latin American culture. The troupe will be heading out to perform around the country next year, but its final scheduled shows of the year are set for Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater. Attendees will see “Carmen.maquia, ” choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s charged-up take on Georges Bizet’s classic opera “Carmen.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8; 253 W. 125th St.,
INFO $13.50 to $100; 212-531-5300, apollotheater.org

“Peter and the Wolf” (also Dec.9)
Guggenheim, Fifth Ave. at 89th St. / 2:30PM, +4PM, $45
“Prokofiev’s wonderful children’s work for narrator and chamber ensemble is both a fable about a headstrong boy and, cleverly, an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra. The hero is the young Peter, who disobeys his grandfather and is forced to solve a rather sticky situation involving a duck, a bird, and a hungry wolf. (Each character is matched with a corresponding instrument and musical motif.) In this chamber production for “Works & Process,” which has become something of a holiday standard, the style guru Isaac Mizrahi narrates, his delivery alternately avuncular and sassy. The backup band is the excellent Ensemble Signal, and the action is played out in dance and pantomime by members of Dance Heginbotham.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

STEVE MILLER AND MARTY STUART
at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center / 8 p.m., $40+
“Miller, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will continue his lifelong exploration of the blues during this two-night run, which honors the music of Appalachia. He’ll be joined by Stuart, a bona fide country legend who spent five years playing guitar and singing backup vocals for Johnny Cash. Stuart’s band, the Fabulous Superlatives, will also be present for what promises to be a down-home show.” (NYT-MNATALIE WEINER)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 2PM, +8PM, $30+
“In 1958, a small group of African-American dancers performed at the 92Y, and now, six decades later, that company is one of the largest and most popular modern dance troupes in the country. Still to come this season are works by Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang and a new two-act creation by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris called “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
    See a Sugar Plum-free ballet
“Skip The Nutcracker and its derivatives and catch the premiere weekend of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lazarus, instead. Hip-hop master Rennie Harris is the brains behind this two-act ballet, which addresses the racial inequality Ailey faced when he founded his dance company in 1958 — inequality that continues to plague America 60 years later.” (Thrillist)

This is surely not Manhattan’s WesSide, and it’s not easy to get to, but I have found this one to be well worth the detour:

THE FOURTH ANNUAL ROOTS N’ RUCKUS FEST (LAST DAY)
at the Jalopy Theater at various times, FREE
“This festival celebrates a free, weekly concert of the same name that’s been a fixture of Red Hook’s Jalopy Theatre since 2008. Most of the artists booked, predictably, fall somewhere in the broad category of American roots music; the “ruckus” comes from both the more unconventional acts and the shows’ jovial atmosphere. At the four day festival, which includes the neighboring Jalopy Pub, audiences can sample everything from Indian classical music via Brooklyn Raga Massive to old-time folk from 13-year-old banjo prodigy Nora Brown. The only cover charge is a suggested contribution to the tip jar after each set.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Chelsea Art Gallery Tour
Meet at 526 W. 26th St. between 10th & 11th Ave. / 1PM, +3:45PM, $25

“This ALL-NEW tour – our most exceptional of the month, in any gallery area – will include: (1) computer-designed acrylic paintings that signal the very future of art to come, (2) radical bronze sculptures inspired by emotionally charged social issues, and (3) a female artist’s enormous and exhilarating installations that will will leave you physically and mentally unbalanced, among 7 phenomenal shows in the world’s epicenter for contemporary art!

Take a fascinating gallery tour of Chelsea – the world’s center for contemporary art – and see the very latest in painting, sculpture, electronic media & photography. Our guide, who holds a Ph.D. in arts education, helps explain the artwork and leads the group in lively discussion.

The tour takes place Sat. Dec. 8 at 1:00 PM & 3:45 PM. These two tours will be identical in every way: the same guide and the same exhibits, so choose whichever start time best fits your schedule. It will take place no matter the temperature or weather, as the art is all indoors. SPECIAL OFFER: visit our website to request a DISCOUNT ticket link for $8-off admission! For more info, visit http://www.nygallerytours.com or call 917-250-0052.”

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Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

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Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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A PremierPub

Jimmy’s Corner 140 W 44th St (btw B’way & 7th ave)

IMG_2083Jimmy’s Corner is right in the heart of Times Square, but you won’t find it on the corner, it’s mid-block. Enter this long narrow bar and you are struck by the walls covered with mostly black-and-white boxing photographs, and memorabilia. Soon enough you learn that “Corner” refers to proprietor Jimmy Glenn’s long career as a corner man for some of boxing greats – Liston, Tyson, even “the greatest,” Ali.

Jimmy’s is a sort of time machine, taking you back to a time and place that no longer exists. All around you Times Square has cleaned up, grown up, assumed a new identity. Jimmy’s probably hasn’t changed a bit since it first opened in 1971. Certainly the bar itself looks original and the prices haven’t changed much either. When I brought a friend, who owns her own bar, she was surprised when she got the small tab for a round of drinks. Figured there must be a mistake, that maybe they forgot to charge for all the drinks.

Times Square today is filled with neon glitz and wandering tourists from Dubuque, but not Jimmy’s. You’ll likely find some old timer’s at the bar nursing their drinks, some younger locals at tables in the back, and maybe a few adventuresome tourists clutching their trusty guidebooks. There’s no food served here because this is just a bar, and sometimes that’s all you need.

On nights when no local team is playing, it’s a fine place to sip some drafts and listen to a great old time jukebox, with a great selection of  40s& 50s R&B and soul. On sports nights this very narrow bar can get a bit claustrophobic, filled with excited fans watching their team on the TVs. Either way, Jimmy’s is the place to be if you are looking for an old time bar in the new Times Square.
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Website: are you kidding !
(although there is a facebook page with lots of photos –
facebook.com/jimmyscornernyc)
Phone #: 212-221-9510
Hours: 11am – 4 am, except Sunday they open 12 noon
Happy Hour: not necessary, low prices all day, every day
Subway: #1,2,3 to TimesSquare 42nd st
walk 2 blks N on 7th ave to 44th st; ½ blk E to Jimmy’s

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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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