Selected Events (04/16) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Midtown West

Today’s “Fab 5″+1/ Selected NYCity Events – THURSDAY, APR. 16, 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.”

NYU Creative Writing Presents: Charles Simic   – 
SmartStuff/ Reading   (7pm)    [FREE]

Uncharted Concert Series: Bria Skonberg  – Jazz    (8pm)

Culture Salon: Rice Wine and Sake –  Food & Drink    (7pm) 

Amir ElSaffar –  World Music   (7:30pm)   [FREE]

The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide  –  
SmartStuff/ Book Talk   (6:30pm)   [FREE]

Brooklyn Brewery’s Blast! From the Past Dinner Party  – Food & Drink (6:30pm)   
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: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
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NYU Creative Writing Presents: Charles Simic
searchNYU Creative Writing Program Distinguished Poet-In-Residence and Pulitzer Prize Winner Charles Simic, is most recently the author of “New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), “The Lunatic” (Ecco, 2015), and “The Life of Images, Selected Prose” (Ecco, 2015). Simic will be introduced by NYU Creative Writing Program director Deborah Landau.

There will be books for sale, and a wine reception following the reading.
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, 58 West 10th St., (btw 5th and 6th Ave.)
7 pm / FREE, Come early for a seat, because it will probably fill up quickly.
212-998-8816 / cwp.fas.nyu.edu/page/readingseries

Uncharted Concert Series: Bria Skonberg
search-1One of the most recognizable young trumpeters and composers in the New York scene, Skonberg’s work spans both contemporary and traditional jazz.

In 2013, Bria Skonberg earned a Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year.” She has been included in DOWNBEAT Magazine’s Rising Star Critics’ Poll the last two years, was recently honored with a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist” and swept the 2014 Hot House Jazz Magazine Awards in all categories nominated: Best Jazz Artist, Best Trumpet, Best Female Vocalist and Best Group (for the Bria Skonberg Quartet).

Bria’s show at Greenwich House Music School will feature Adrian Cunningham on clarinet and sax, Sean Cronin on bass, Darrian Douglas on drums and Dalton Ridenhour on piano.
Complimentary beer and wine will be served prior to and during all concerts.
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, West Village,
8 p.m./ $15
212-242-4770 / greenwichhouse.org.

Culture Salon: Rice Wine and Sake
imgresTake an after-hours journey of libations through the Hall of Asian Peoples and trace the history of traditional sake and rice wine with “sake samurai” and sommelier Chris Johnson. Drink your way across the continent and learn why this alcoholic beverage has been consumed for hundreds of years. This experience details the culinary history and distillation processes, with inspiration from the Museum’s collections.
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th St.
7 p.m./ $45
212-769-5200, amnh.org.

Amir ElSaffar: Rivers of Sound Large Ensemble: “Not Two”
imgres-1Rivers of Sound presents 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions, from Iraqi maqam to American jazz. Using resonance as its governing principle, the music incorporates elements of maqam modal music of the Middle East with jazz and other contemporary musical practices to create a unique microtonal musical environment that moves beyond the notions of style and tradition into a realm of uninhibited musical communication. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries: elements that traditionally divide musicians and genre-specific modes are re-contextualized in a fresh transcultural soundscape.
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center,
61 W 62 St. (btw Columbus/Broadway Ave.)
at 7:30 / FREE Thursdays
get there early, no later than 7PM, if you want to get in what is a small performance space.
212-875-5350 / atrium.lincolncenter.org

Author @ the Library:
“The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide,”
imgres-2Kevin C. Fitzpatrick has written a guidebook to the 1920s world of the famous “Vicious Circle” with 100+ photos, maps, and rare material. Journey back in time to a grand city teeming with hidden bars, luxurious movie palaces, and dazzling skyscrapers. In these places, Dorothy Parker and her cohorts in the “Vicious Circle” at the infamous Algonquin Round Table sharpened their wit, polished their writing, and captured the energy and elegance of the time.

Mr. Fitzpatrick is an independent historian who founded the Dorothy Parker Society in 1999. In addition to “The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide,” he is also the author of “Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide” (2003), “A Journey into Dorothy Parker’s New York” (2005), and “The Lost Algonquin Round Table” (2009) (co-edited with Nat Benchley). He is a licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide and has been leading walking tours for almost 15 years.
Mid-Manhattan Library, 5th Ave @ 40th St.
6:30 p.m. / FREE

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:
Brooklyn Brewery’s Blast! From the Past Dinner Party
We will be traveling to the 1650s to call upon the early Dutch colonists making their way in the New World. We’ll find our colonial Dutch friends carving their home into the unbridled lands of the lower Hudson Valley, encountering a bounty of fish, game and produce, but little potable water. The Dutch respond to the shortage of water by brewing it into tasty, safe-to-drink beer, with ten breweries popping up by 1650 to keep every citizen of the tiny colony…hydrated. Clever, clever Dutch.

imgres-3Menu
>> Clams with sumac butter, toasted walnuts, and basil with Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
>> Venison tartare with Jerusalem artichoke, rye crumble, and shallots with Brooklyn K is for Kriek, a Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment
>> Dutch “Hotchpot”: Benton’s smoked salt pork, Flint Corn “Suppawn,” roasted root vegetables with Ghost Bottle (TBA)
>> “Olykoeks” (doughnuts), compressed apples, and bourbon caramel with Brooklyn Cuvée Noire, a Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment
Brooklyn Brewery, 79 N. 11th St.
6:30 pm – 10:00 pm / $65
718-486-7422

BONUS JAZZ PICKS:
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 — villagevanguard.com / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. — bluenotejazz.com / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. — 55bar.com / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
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 enjoyment and discovery.

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♦ 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.
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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.

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).

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

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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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