Selected Events (03/01) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, MAR. 01, 2015
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”  

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink–Sporting Life (8am-10pm)   

David Berkman and the New York Standards Quartet   
Jazz   (7pm)  (9pm)  (10:30pm)   

Robert Glasper    —  Jazz    (8:30pm)   (10:30pm)  

Natasha Leggero  —  Comedy   (7:30pm)  

7 Days of Genius Festival  —  SmartStuff/ Discussions & Seminars   (various)
including: The Long Life, Genius or Nightmare  —  SmartStuff/ Discussion   (5pm)

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:

♦ “9 Notable Events-Feb.”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.
♦ For NYCity Sights, Sounds and Stories visit out our sister site:

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink (Last Day!)
imgres“It may not seem like it, but winter will be over faster than you think. Proof of that is today is the very last day of Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink.

Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $19 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours.” (TONY)
Bryant Park, 6th ave (btw 40/42 St.)
8am -10pm / FREE, if you BYOSkates, otherwise $19

David Berkman and the New York Standards Quartet
imgres-1“Mr. Berkman, a pianist and composer with a smart, uncluttered approach to modern jazz, has led his New York Standards Quartet on and off for the better part of a decade; he formally introduced the group last year with the album “The New Straight Ahead.” For a weekend run, he welcomes two notable interlopers, the trombonist Robin Eubanks and the bassist Ray Drummond.” (Nate Chinen- NYT)
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St.
At 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m.,

Robert Glasper (through March 1)
imgres“The pianist’s last two albums, “Black Radio,” from 2012, and “Black Radio 2,” from 2013, hit a nerve with the public (the first won a Grammy for Best R. & B. album). These best-selling (for jazz, that is) recordings blended post-bop jazz, hip-hop, rock, and R. & B. and spoke to the postmodern leanings of contemporary listeners. Guest vocalists assisted in that effort on the albums, but at the Village Vanguard, Glasper is scaling back with his restlessly interactive trio, an instrumental setting that will also allow the leader’s rousing playing to take the spotlight.” (NewYorker)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St.
8:30pm + 10:30 pm / $30
212-255-4037 /
Remember, the Vanguard will celebrate it’s 80th Anniversary the week of March 10.

Natasha Leggero
image“Leggero first pulls you in with her seductive charm like a snotty version of Audrey Hepburn, then hilariously trashes everything in her path with her quick wit.

Wearing evening gloves and casting seductive glances, this stand-up projects an air of Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O; her act, however, quickly punctures that veneer. She slings mud at the innumerable plebeians she encounters, but audiences forgive her assault on the easy targets when under the sway of her assured, snotty authority.” (TONY)
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway (btw 49/50 St.)
7:30pm / $15–$35 plus two-drink minimum

Elsewhere, but this looks almost necessary, and certainly worth the detour:
7 Days of Genius Festival: Venture Into the Extraordinary (through March 8)
“This festival brings together luminaries from a variety of fields — including science, art, religion, business and literature — to discuss the concept of genius and all that goes with it. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., for example, the economist Thomas Piketty joins Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate and columnist for The New York Times, and Joseph Stiglitz, also a Nobel winner. Other speakers include Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein (Tuesday at 8:15 p.m.), as well as a panel of MacArthur Fellowship recipients (Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.).
The complete lineup is at” (NYT)

Tonight (5pm -7pm):
Roundtable: “The Long Life, Genius or Nightmare” with Ezekiel J. Emanuel
“Late last year, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (pictured) created a firestorm of controversy with his Atlantic magazine article, “Why I Hope to Die at 75” (a sensational title for a piece in which the doctor proclaimed his wish not to use modern medicine to keep him ticking past the three-quarter century mark). Tonight, Emanuel is joined by James Kirkland, David Sinclair and Jay Olshansky for a discussion of longevity as desire and reality. (Read our Q&A with Olshansky here.)
Click here for tickets; enter the promo code VITA at ticket checkout (the discount is offered by the American Federation of Aging Research, AFAR).” (
92nd St Y, 1395 Lexington Ave
5pm / $30; FREE with promo code: VITA
subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St; 6 to 96th St.

Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village:
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South — / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. — / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. — / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — / 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 enjoyment and discovery.

♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 56 million visitors last year and is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2015.  Quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.

A PremierPub / Midtown West.

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

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

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

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).


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 sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man. “tiny” we miss you.

“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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