Selected Events (06/23) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Sweet 6 > THURSDAY / JUNE 23, 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:

Jazztopad Festival (Tuesday through July 1)
Dizzy’s Club, Columbus Circle/ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“The Jazztopad Festival, a leading event of its kind in Poland, has organized a satellite edition here next week, in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute New York. Among the prime offerings are the Obara International Quartet, led by the saxophonist Maciej Obara, at the Jazz Standard on Tuesday; a subtle and sophisticated trio led by the pianist Marcin Wasilewski, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on Wednesday; and a quintet led by the trumpeter Piotr Damasiewicz, at Dizzy’s on Thursday. More information is at” (Chinen-NYT)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

France Rocks Festival: Ayo
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center/ 7:30PM, FREE
“Accenting folk rock with deep soul grooves and African rhythms, the German-born singer-songwriter of Romani and Nigerian descent won the 2008 European Border Breakers Award for her debut album Gravity At Last. This year, she crowned her success with Europe’s prestigious Crystal Globes Award for Best Female Singer given by the French Press Association. Ayo, who usually splits her time between Paris and New York, stops by Lincoln Center during an extensive world tour promoting her latest album, Ticket to the World.”

Victor Gould Sextet
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $
“A dynamic young pianist with strong history as a sideman, Mr. Gould has a new album, “Clockwork,” which puts him forward as a bandleader. He celebrates its release with one of two assertive trumpeters — Jeremy Pelt (on Wednesday) or Freddie Hendrix (Thursday) — as well as the saxophonists Godwin Louis and Myron Walden, the bassist Ben Williams and the drummer E.J. Strickland.” (Chinen-NYT)

American Ballet Theater (through July 2) /
tonight: Romeo and Juliet (thru Jun 25)
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $20+
“Kenneth MacMillan’s masterful interpretation of Shakespeare’s enduring romantic tragedy has become one of ABT’s signature productions. Against a sumptuous setting in Renaissance Italy, MacMillan weaves a dance tapestry rich in character nuance and sensuality, and Sergei Prokofiev’s instantly recognizable music underscores the lyric beauty and passion of this beloved ballet’s star-crossed lovers.”

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

City Squares: A Conversation
Rizzoli Bookstore, 31 W57th St./ 6:30PM, FREE
“Rizzoli Bookstore, HarperCollins, and The Architectural League of New York invite you to celebrate the publication of City Squares: Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the Word with a conversation between Catie Marron, Michael Kimmelman, and Reed Kroloff. A book signing and reception will follow.

This collection includes essays from eighteen renowned writers, including David Remnick, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Skloot, Rory Stewart, and Adam Gopnik, who evoke the spirit and history of some of the world’s most recognized and significant city squares, accompanied by illustrations from equally distinguished photographers.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
Beyond Momos: Himalayan Food in Jackson Heights
Sherpa Kyidug House, Queens, 41-01 75th St., Basement/ 6:30PM, $16
“Jackson Heights, Queens is one of the country’s most diverse neighborhoods. Today, the neighborhood’s diversity is reflected in its dizzying array of food businesses, from Indian mega-grocers to taco trucks. Since the 2000s, Jackson Heights has also become home to a large Himalayan population—and many restaurants that serve that community. Now, it’s possible to savor Tibetan momo dumplings and milk tea, as well as Nepali sukuti (meat jerky) and thali platters, all within a few blocks of the subway.

Join us for a panel discussion moderated by Yanki Tshering of the Business Center for New Americans and including Tashi Chodron of the Rubin Museum, Himalayan culinary expert Sandy Garson, Pema Yangzom and Tenzing Ukyab of Himalayan Yak, and other local business owners. Learn about the culinary and cultural diversity of Himalayan (Nepali, Tibetan, and Bhutanese) cuisines, and hear the personal stories of Himalayan food entrepreneurs in New York. Afterward, stick around for tastings from the neighborhood.”

River to River Festival (through June 26)
“This annual event is something of a performance-inspired scavenger hunt around Lower Manhattan, both confusing and delighting unsuspecting passers-by. This week, the witty Dance Heginbotham weaves through a harbor-side business complex; the captivating Eiko Otake continues her multiyear project “A Body in Places” on Governors Island; Okwui Okpokwasili takes inspiration from Nigerian women in the 1920s; the hip-hop dancer Ephrat Asherie collaborates with her jazz pianist brother, Ehud; and Will Rawls, left, nods to Balkan folklore. At various times and locations.” (Schaefer-NYT)

Hot Tickets – Tomorrow

Stanley Cowell Quartet (through June 26)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $30
“A pianist of deep authority and resolute purpose — less widely heard now than he was in the 1970s, but still a force — Mr. Cowell made a much-talked-about appearance at the Village Vanguard last year, on the heels of a solo album, “Juneteenth.” He returns next week with his quartet, featuring the alto saxophonist Bruce Williams, the bassist Jay Anderson and the drummer Billy Drummond.” (Chinen-NYT)

Dylan Goes Electric
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 12PM, $25
“On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan 
took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, “Like a Rolling Stone.”

The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world — Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation — and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music. Join author Elijah Wald as he explores the context of this seminal event.”

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,, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St., 212-989-9319

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 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.

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.

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.

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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