Selected Events (06/09) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Elite 8 > THURSDAY / JUNE 09, 2016

“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:

Arthur Avenue: Small Town Charm, Big City Appetite
Arthur Avenue Floral’s Amazing Space, 613-615 E187th St./ 7:00PM, $16
“Belmont, known as Arthur Avenue or the Little Italy of the Bronx — or, to some, “the real Little Italy” — is one of New York City’s oldest Italian-American neighborhoods. Generations of Italian families have given this neighborhood a small-town character and a strong culinary identity.

Though the neighborhood has changed, with Puerto Ricans, Albanians, and Fordham students outnumbering Italians, many shops and restaurants are still owned and operated by the families who opened them three generations ago. And many Italian-Americans return often to the neighborhood, maintaining cultural and economic ties through the purchase of specialty food items that have become part and parcel of their family traditions.

Join us for a conversation moderated by Dr. Rocco Marinaccio of Manhattan College and including Angel Hernandez of the Bronx County Historical Society, plus local business owners David Greco of Mike’s Deli, Gil Teitel of Teitel Brothers, and Vera Terranova of Terranova Bakery. Afterward, stay for a reception with tastings from the neighborhood.”

This will definitely require a detour, but oh boy, this is the real Little Italy. Mangia!

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (thru June 19)
NYS/DHK Theater, LincolnCenter/ 7:30PM, $25+
Contemporary meets classic.
“This season, five programs cover oodles of new and classic works. Robert Battle’s The Hunt, inspired by his martial-arts background, is a fierce showcase for the company’s awe-inspiring male dancers, and the return of Alvin Ailey’s iconic solo Cry (starring Linda Celeste Sims), dedicated in 1971 to “black women everywhere,” feels especially timely.”(Rebecca Milzoff-NY Mag)

Dominick Farinacci
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 60th St. and Broadway/ 7:30PM + 9:30PM, $40
“Mr. Farinacci is a trumpeter with a soft gleam in his sound, though he brings true musicality to his crossover agenda. He’s celebrating the release of “Short Stories,” an album whose personnel includes the pianist Larry Goldings, the bassist Christian McBride and the drummer Steve Gadd. (His band won’t have quite the same star power here.)”
(Chinen-NYT)

Maria Schneider Orchestra (through June 11)
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 8:30PM +11PM, $
“The Thompson Fields,” Schneider’s vivid and poetic 2015 release, continued a stirring and deserving winning streak for this celebrated composer, arranger, and bandleader. Balancing heft and enticing tonal textures with melodic verve, her ingenious scores—as interpreted by her loyal ensemble—have set the bar high for contemporary big bands.”(NewYorker)

Terell Stafford Quintet (through June 12)
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave South, at 11th St./ 8:30PM +10:30PM $30
“On his most recent album, “Brotherlee Love,” Terell Stafford pays homage to one of his clear trumpet influences, Lee Morgan. The album features an irreproachable hard-bop crew, including the saxophonist Tim Warfield Jr., the pianist Bruce Barth and the bassist Peter Washington, who rejoin him here; Billy Williams completes the band on drums.” (Chinen-NYT)

Vision Festival 21 (through June 12)
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South,/ 7PM, $40
“This annual affair, the country’s leading summit meeting of avant-garde jazz, rumbles into its 21st season with a tribute to the bassist Henry Grimes, whose dramatic rediscovery and comeback happened in part on a Vision Festival stage. On Tuesday he’ll perform with admirers including the pianist Geri Allen, the guitarist Marc Ribot and the drummer Andrew Cyrille, in several different groups.

And the lineup on Thursday includes Cosmic Nickelodeon, a group led by the alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, with the pianist Matthew Shipp and others.” (Chinen-NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other

Tom Phillips on “A Beginner’s Life”
Book Culture, 536 W. 112th St./ 7PM, FREE
“Join us on Thursday, June 9th at 7pm for a discussion and reading by Tom Phillips from his book, A Beginner’s Life: The Adventures of Tom Philips.

As a journalist, Tom Phillips covered the turbulent second half of the 20th century from New York, Moscow, Prague, Beijing, South Africa and Somalia. As a seeker, he hitch-hiked across America, rode the rails to the four corners of India, sat with a Japanese Zen master, and encountered Christianity on a subway escalator. That’s just the surface of this engaging memoir, both a panorama of history and a personal account of a beginner’s life—one adventure after another.”

“Jackie Robinson in Quotes” with Danny Peary
Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, 67 E11th St./ 7PM, FREE
“When he was eight, Dad got into a name-calling fight with the little white girl who lived across the street. The children’s verbal battle was interrupted when the girl’s father came outside and started throwing rocks at my father.” -Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter

The life story of arguably the most important baseball player in history, with quotations by and about him.

Danny Peary has skillfully curated the best quotes to shed new light on the man behind number 42. Featured are quotes by Jackie Robinson, his widow Rachel, other family members, friends, teammates, coaches, members of the media, and many more.”

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Bonus – Jazz Venues:
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 (all six are within walking distance of each other):
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 – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319

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 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016.  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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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 
Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.
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