Selected Events (04/12) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Times Square/ Theater District

Today’s “Fab 5″+1/ Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, APR. 12, 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.”

‘Billie and the Boys: A Centenary Celebration of Billie Holiday’  –
Jazz   (7:30pm)   (9:30pm)  

Concert: Heart of the World World Music    (7:30pm)  

Stephen Petronio Company  –  Dance   (2pm)   (7:30pm)

Grace Hightower De Niro – SmartStuff/ Book Talk    (2pm)

First Songs: Dawn Upshaw –  Classical Music  (4pm)

Brooklyn Bloody Mary Festival – Food & Drink    (1-4pm)

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

♦ “9 Notable Events-Apr.”, 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:

‘Billie and the Boys: A Centenary Celebration of Billie Holiday’
johns_shenel_IMG_0737_background_ext_2000px_crop_767_431_0_0_0_90___3538“This Billie Holiday tribute features a big band of up-and-coming musicians backing a half-dozen vocalists, including Shenel Johns, Michael Mwenso and Elena Pinderhughes. The musical director is Riley Mulherkar, a smart young trumpeter, and the focus is on Holiday’s unimpeachable work in the 1930s, with bandleaders like Count Basie and Artie Shaw. “ (Chinen-NYT)

“There was never any doubt, but her 100th birthday makes it abundantly clear that Holiday (1915-1959) was one of the domineering influences of the 20th century, and a force to be dealt with for anyone singing either the American songbook or the blues.” (WSJ)
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. and Broadway,
At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.,

Concert: Heart of the World
20150412-Makam-for-webThe stars of makam come together in conversation, making innovative music rooted in authentic world traditions. Come witness their shared aesthetic aspirations and get carried away by the power of their music.

Ross Daly on Cretan lyra and his own invention – tarhu, Omer Erdogdular on ney, Yurdal Tokcan on oud, and vocalist Ahmet Erdogdular, are joined this year by Pedram Khavarzamini on tombak, and Goksel Baktagir on kanun for a musical performance that touches the heart of the world.
Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center, 129 W 67th St.
7:30pm / $30

Stephen Petronio Company 
imgres“With his Joyce season, Petronio highlights the inauguration of the Bloodlines series, a five-year project to add masterworks by legendary postmodern choreographers to the company repertory. The first such work is Merce Cunningham’s animalistic RainForest (1968), with music by David Tudor and large, floating silver pillows designed by Andy Warhol. The program also includes Petronio’s Locomotor Non Locomotor, set to an original score by electro musician Clams Casino.’ (TONY)
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St
2pm + 7:30pm / $10-$59

Grace Hightower De Niro
imgres-1“Grace Hightower De Niro, the philanthropist and founder of Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda (and, yes, Robert De Niro’s wife), discusses her book, “The Women of Rwanda.” She will talk about how her company emphasizes direct sourcing, fair trade and ethical practices. A coffee tasting will follow.” (NYT)
Book Culture on Columbus, 450 Columbus Avenue, near 82nd St.
2pm / FREE

First Songs: Dawn Upshaw and the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program
upshawDawn Upshaw, internationally renowned soprano and Bard Vocal Arts Program artistic director, will perform with pianist and Bard faculty Kayo Iwama, the singers of the program, and the Bard Conservatory Collaborative Piano Fellows. The concert will feature the world premiere of Garden Songs by the acclaimed Argentinian composer Pablo Ortiz on the poetry of Louise Gluck, and written for Dawn Upshaw. The program will also include new and recent works by Kyle Gann (Your Staccato Ways), Shawn Jaeger (Two Songs from The Cold Pane), Matthew Schickele (Since 1500), and Bard composer Tamzin Elliott (When Vera), among others.
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue
4pm / $35

Elsewhere, but if you have a taste for Bloody Mary’s, this should be worth the detour:
Brooklyn Bloody Mary Festival
1424461635BloodyMary_r“Bottoms up to the beloved brunch cocktail at this all-you-can-sip celebration. For three hours, taste your way through the best Bloodys from Kings County’s top-notch restaurants and bars that are toppling with garnishes like bacon, chorizo, cornichons and crostini.” (TONY)
Industry City, Sunset Park, 220 36th St. (btw Second and Third Aves)
1-4pm. $30–$35.

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 + 3 Good Eating places

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 (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.
Website: are you kidding !
(although there is a facebook page with lots of photos –
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

“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.

3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult finding 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:

Patzeria Perfect Pizza – 231 W46 St. (Btw 7th/8th ave)
Perfect name for a pizza joint. On a street filled with Broadway theaters, this is a real hole in the wall, but don’t let the dive look scare you away. You can never go wrong with a slice of NYCity pizza, and this one is a classic thin crust. Only a few seats here, but pizza was made to eat standing up.

Shake Shack – 691 8th Ave. (Btw 43rd/44th st)
Danny Meyer has revolutionized the high quality burger in this town. Now he has a branch on the West Side that was desperately needed, with a bit less of the insane lines that you find at the Madison Sq. Park location. Worth the wait.

Xi’an Famous Foods – 24 W45th St. (Btw 5th/6th ave)
Try to avoid long lunch lines. Order lamb hand ripped noodles and warm your insides at one of the tables in the back. You’ll return, just remember that even mild is pretty spicy.

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

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, with expanded descriptions, maps with contact info, 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 Summer 2015).
◊ Order before May 31, 2015 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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