Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West (10/31)

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – THURSDAY, OCT. 31, 2013

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “Notable Events-Oct.”, “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above

Archtober (last day!)
To the design world, October is Archtober, or Design and Architecture Month, in New York City. For 31 days, the entire city opened its doors for design tours, lectures, films and celebrations, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the buildings that give this metropolis its distinct character. This month’s activities have been fascinating. Presented by the American Institute of Architects New York and the Center for Architecture, more than 50 organizations participated this year, including the Museum of Arts and Design, Queens Museum, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art.
A schedule is at

Among today’s activities:
Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
Rousham: Sitting in and Sauntering through a Pleasure Ground, A lecture by Magda Salvesen
6:00pm Reception; 6:30pm Lecture
Building of the Day: Sean Kelly Gallery / Tour Time: 12:00-1:00pm

Power, Privacy and the Internet
The Edward Snowden affair, and the willingness of the US government to violate the privacy of internet communications on a gigantic scale in the interests of national security, have propelled internet technologies to the center of our political, and civic concerns. There is growing concern about the threat to the privacy of the citizen posed by the unauthorized accumulation of internet-based information by private businesses for their own uses.

This conference will look at the role of the internet both as a vehicle of political and cultural dissent and, in the hands of the state, as a weapon of repression and control.
Welcoming Remarks
Robert Silvers, Editor of The New York Review of Books
Panel III: 9:30–11:00
The Internet, Repression, and Dissent
Chair: Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center, New York
Perry Link, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside
Wen Yunchao, Chinese writer and internet activist
Amy Knight, historian of Russia
Panel IV: 11:15–12:45
The Internet and the Future of the Press
The Internet, the Book, the University and the Library
Chair: Robert Silvers
Robert Darnton, Carl H Pforzheimer Professor of History and University Librarian at Harvard
Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton
Panel V: 1:45–3:15
The Internet, the Economy and Production
Chair: Philip Howard, Chair, Common Good
Jeff Madrick, Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, New York; Editor of Challenge Magazine
Morten Kyng, Professor of Computer Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Simon Head, Senior Fellow, Institute for Public Knowledge, NYU; Director of Programs, The New York Review of Books Foundation
Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue, (btw 37/38)
Free and open to all but registration required

Tonight is Halloween, here’s What’s Happening for all you ghouls and partygoers:

This is the granddady of all Halloween events.
“It might be hard for anyone who’s braved the crowds to fathom, but this tradition began when a puppet-and-mask maker, Ralph Lee, was looking for something to do with his children on Halloween. That was in 1974. The parade, which now draws thousands of participants and supporters, marks its fortieth anniversary this year, an accomplishment made all the more significant after last year’s event was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. The storm, which devastated the lives of countless New Yorkers, also had a severe impact on the parade’s finances. After a recent Kickstarter campaign, however, it is roaring back to life. According to the parade’s longtime artistic and producing director, Jeanne Fleming, it’s the best place to “watch every creature imaginable—whether human, alien or animal—frolic, perform, shake, strut, or shimmy.” (NewYorker mag)
Sixth Ave. from Spring St. to 16th St.
starting at 7 /

Halloween-Related Events 
a Venetian carnival, with dramatic readings, costume contests and silent movies will begin at 7 p.m. at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, near Houston Street, SoHo, (212) 334-3324,; FREE.

at Trinity Church, Broadway and Wall Street, a screening at 6:30 p.m. of the 1920 silent film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” will have organ accompaniment by Rob Ridgell. (212) 602-0800, FREE

Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm dates and check times, as schedules are subject to change.

A PremierPub + 3 Good Eating places / Midtown West.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges  – 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.
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