Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide (03/24)+ Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – MONDAY, MAR. 24, 2014.

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

Macy’s Annual Flower Show (through April 06)
Macy’s flower show “The Secret Garden” at Herald Square opened on Sunday, so everything is very fresh. Today there is a drawing seminar in the Cellar in the Lower Level given by the #1 rated “Art Studio NY”. Create your very own color sketch of the perfect flower. Also available – Zyrtec’s “beauty secrets to combat Allergy Face” on the Cosmetics Main Floor.
Macy’s, 151 W 34th St.

BOB DYLAN IN THE 80’S
The Bob Dylan of thirty years ago was a dicey proposition, to say the least. He had his ups—no one can question the quality of “Infidels” or the decade-capping “Oh Mercy”—but it’s become increasingly difficult to go to bat for the overproduction of “Empire Burlesque,” and nearly impossible to make a sustained case for “Knocked Out Loaded” or “Down in the Groove,” ramshackle releases with a few masterpieces (“Brownsville Girl,” “Death Is Not the End”) hidden amid the junk.

Now ATO Records is reclaiming the decade with a tribute album, featuring such artists as Langhorne Slim, Elvis Perkins, Dawn Landes, and Hannah Cohen. The record’s launch party is on March 24, with those performers and others. Audience members are encouraged to dress up eighties style. Here’s a hint if you want to look like Dylan: the secret’s not in the hair—it’s in the blazer. (NewYorker)
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th St., Brooklyn.
800-745-3000 / 718-486-5400, musichallofwilliamsburg.com
At 9 p.m. / $20 at the door
[OK, this isn’t Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is Brooklyn’s WestSide, and it is Dylan.
subway:#1-2-3 to 14th St.; transfer to L to Bedford, first stop in Bklyn.
walk W 3 blks on N 6th St.]

Kneebody
“Kneebody is a band conversant in a dizzying range of styles, with jazz improvisation at the core. To kick off a cross-country tour, its brain trust — the trumpeter Shane Endsley, the saxophonist Ben Wendel, the keyboardist Adam Benjamin, the bassist Kaveh Rastegar and the drummer Nate Wood — tackles a mix of new and slightly-less-new music.” (Chinen-NYT)
Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street, Chelsea,
At 8 p.m. / $25 day of show, with a $10 minimum at tables
212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com

DONNA McKECHNIE “In Good Company”
with Special Guest ANDREA McARDLE
Andrea McArdle rocketed to stardom as Broadway’s original Annie, and was the youngest performer ever nominated for the Tony® Award for Best Actress in a Musical, winning both the Theatre World and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance.

On Broadway she originated the roles of Ashley in Starlight Express and Margy in State Fair and was seen as Belle in Beauty and the Beast and as Fantine in Les Miserables. Andrea has performed in concert halls from Carnegie Hall, the best showrooms in Las Vegas, the MET Opera House as well as The White House.
Birdland, 315 West 44th St
at 7:00 PM / $30, $10.00 food or beverage minimum per person

I am Bruce Lee
Winner of 3 Leo Awards, “I Am Bruce Lee” is a compelling documentary covering Bruce’s life, his enormous impact, and his ever-expanding legacy. “I Am Bruce Lee” features interviews with people who knew Lee intimately, including a broad array of international icons from the entertainment and athletic fields — people whose lives, careers and belief systems have been forever altered by the legend UFC President Dana White calls the “Father of Mixed Martial Arts”.
Signature Theater Company, 480 W 42nd St.
7:00 pm / $13
212-244-7529

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

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A PremierPub / Midtown West.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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