Today’s FAB 5 > THURSDAY / DEC. 24, 2015
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.
(click on links for more complete event info.)
Have time for only one event today? Do this:
‘The Barber of Seville’
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center/ 7PM, from$22
“The Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher’s popular 2006 production of Rossini’s “Barbiere di Siviglia” conveys the opera’s comic confusions through fluid staging and a playful set (all movable doors, staircases and potted orange trees). It has returned this season with an enticing cast and extra afternoon performances for the holiday season. Antony Walker conducts.” (Anthony Tommasini- NYT)
Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch: A Swingin’ Birdland Christmas (thru Dec.25)
Birdland, 315W44th St./ 7PM, $30
“Three Birdland mainstays—the clarion-voiced Klea Blackhurst, the waggish host Jim Caruso and the velvety pianist-crooner Billy Stritch—get into the swing of the holiday season with a jazzy set of Christmas classics.” (TONY)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM +10:30PM, $30
“The Art of Conversation,” one of last year’s best jazz recordings, spotlighted the inspired partnership between two eminent jazz figures, the bassist Dave Holland and the pianist Barron, a formidable figure since his emergence, in the sixties, and a prime example of early promise turned golden through experience. He leads a quintet anchored by the outstanding rhythm team of Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums.” (NewYorker)
Norm Lewis Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas (LAST DAY)
Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 9:30PM, $65-$85
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; last year, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his Feinstein’s/54 Below debut, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)
Christmas Eve Caroling Under the Arch
Washington Square, Fifth Avenue and Waverly Place/ 5PM, FREE
“The Rob Susman Brass Quartet heads up an evening of caroling beneath the arch in Washington Square Park. The event is presented by the Washington Square Association, which will also distribute songbooks.” (NYT-SpareTimes)
SPECIAL EVENT, A MUST SEE:
Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 23)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./ $25-$60
Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with an additional performance at 3 p.m. on Dec. 26 (no performance on Dec. 25)
“The best part of Noche Flamenca’s flamenco musical Antigona—and it is full of astonishing parts—is the way that it tosses you between states of delight. At first, the delight stems from the ridiculous. Stalking the stage at West Side Presbyterian church, our Master of Ceremonies (a hilarious Emilio Florido) sings us the rundown on Oedipus’s family with elaborate disgust. Incest! Suicide! Fratricide! It’s dark. The flamenco company plays an abbreviated version of the entire Sophoclean trilogy with the emotional volume cranked to 11; their operatic intensity is joyful and absurd. (Spanish speakers may have a little extra fun: The elegant supertitles seem to leave out a bit of the cast’s improvisatory swearing.)” (TONY)
a personal note:
Noche Flamenca is Spain’s most successful touring company and its greatest exponent of the art of flamenco. Soledad Barrio is a goddess of dance and brings so much passion to her role as Antigona. There are two wonderful Spanish guitarists and two vocalists who do not get the credit they deserve. Every piece of this performance is outstanding. Go See It!
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:
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 8/9 ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway, nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
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.
♦ 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)
Jimmy’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, 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 Spring 2016).
◊ Order before May 31, 2016 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.