Selected NYC Events (12/08) + Today’s Featured Pub (WestVillage)

“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.
For those wonderful, only in NYCity Holiday Windows scroll to bottom of today’s post.
For very best Holiday Shows and Music Events see tab above: NYC Holiday Shows+

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

A Global Look at a Decade of Editorial Cartoons
Society of Illustrators, 128 E. 63rd St./ 6:30PM, FREE
“In 2006, following the Danish Cartoon controversy, an organization was founded called Cartooning For Peace. Its members seek to increase dialogue through cartoons about global issues, and foster communication among cartoonists and the public about the art form and its responsibilities. Since then, the world has witnessed cartoons at the center of even more death and destruction. What is the role of the editorial cartoonist, and is freedom of expression under attack? How do cartoons cross borders and what exactly is their power?

Join us for celebration of the tenth anniversary of Cartooning for Peace with a discussion of these timely issues by four cartoonist members of the organization, moderated by the Director of CFP”

Light food and drink will be served. This event is free to attend.
RSVP@societyillustrators.org or call 212-838-2560.

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
A Very Kacey Christmas Tour
JUILLIARD DANCES
Beer and Cheese Pairing for the Holidays
Tree Lighting / Madison Square Park Conservancy
bonus picks: Chick Corea 75th Birthday Celebration
METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

New York City Ballet / “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 7PM, $30+
“People like to say they’re sick of “The Nutcracker,” but once the music starts, and little Marie catches a glimpse of that tree, who can resist it? Tchaikovsky loved children, and that love is audible in the score; an early critic called it a “symphony of childhood.” What makes it so good is that it doesn’t eschew darkness, or grandeur. George Balanchine, who created his now classic version in 1954, understood this, and made a ballet that has a bit of everything: cozy family dances, conflict, drama—enter Dewdrop with her urgent leaps—and sugarplums, too.” (NewYorker)

A Very Kacey Christmas Tour
The Town Hall / 8PM; $37.50–$57.50
“Great country music has the magical ability to make the cheesiest sentiment—and holiday jingles are all about cheesy sentiments—tolerable and even moving. (Just listen to Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” for proof.) And who better than the wildly lovable critical darling Kacey Musgraves to make holiday standards such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Let It Snow” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sound cool again?” (TONY)

JUILLIARD DANCES (through Dec. 11)
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W42nd St./ 7:30PM, $
“The wunderkinds of the Juilliard School present their winter showcase, featuring four original works, three with live music performed by their peers. The freshmen dance a piece by the Juilliard graduate John Heginbotham to a Schubert string quintet; the sophomores present work by the alumna Katarzyna Skarpetowska to a Chopin cello sonata; Pam Tanowitz created work for the juniors to a string trio by Andrew Norman, while Matthew Neenan has made a piece for the soon-to-be grads to songs by Rufus Wainwright (2:00).” (Schaefer-NYT)

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

Beer and Cheese Pairing for the Holidays
Museum of Food and Drink / 6:30pm; $32
“Ditch the wine and embrace the scrumptious pairing of two of the world’s greatest fermented goodies, beer and cheese. Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver and Foster Sundry’s Aaron Foster introduce you to the scientific similarities of beer and cheese and let you try some pairings that will lead some of your best food comas of the year.” (TONY)

Tree Lighting / Madison Square Park Conservancy
Fifth and Madison Avenues from 23rd to 26th Sts; 3:30–5:30pm.
“Take a stroll through Taste of Home’s Gingerbread Boulevard before the countdown to the illumination of Madison Square Park’s tree starts at 4:55pm. The celebration continues with performances from The Sweetback Sisters, The New York Life Singers and more. Holiday goodies will be provided by neighborhood restaurants Hill Country Chicken, Umi Kitchen, Almond and Shake Shack.”

GOOD NEWS – Shake Shack finally arrives at Penn Station.

Shake Shack’s burgers, flat-top dogs, frozen custards, and crinkle cut fries are now a mainstay at Penn Station. In addition, commuters can grab breakfast, which is served from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Choices include three types of breakfast sandwiches: Sausage, Egg N’ Cheese ($4.79), Bacon, Egg N’ Cheese ($4.79), and Egg N’ Cheese ($3.79). Ingredients include Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon and Shack’s all natural pork sausage.

For those looking for caffeine, Shake Shack also offers an exclusive Stumptown Shack blend. Local craft beers and Union Wine Company wines are also available.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. / Penn Station, Lower Concourse

Plus, for all you Opera fans, this week looks special:

METROPOLITAN OPERA (all week)
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center
“Perhaps the most anticipated production of the season opens this week: Kaija Saariaho’s mesmeric “L’Amour de Loin” (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.). More important, the production will be the return, after an embarrassing hiatus, of a female composer to the house. But it’s also notable for the reappearance of the director Robert Lepage, and the debut of the conductor Susanna Malkki. Susanna Phillips and Eric Owens are the lovers, Tamara Mumford the Pilgrim. Otherwise, Anna Netrebko continues in the title role of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” (Friday and Wednesday at 8 p.m.). Alongside Marcelo Álvarez’s Des Grieux, she’s the shining light in Richard Eyre’s uninspired production. If that’s not enough, there’s more Puccini in the form of the Zeffirelli “La Bohème” (Saturday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.). Still chugging along, it currently has a little more power than usual thanks to the star voltage of Kristine Opolais as Mimì and Piotr Beczala as Rodolfo. Just one performance of “Aida” to round things off (Saturday at 8 p.m.): Latonia Moore is the heroine, Ekaterina Gubanova is Amneris, and Marco Berti, Radamès.” (David Allen-NYT)

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Bonus NYC events– 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 for these top NYC events in advance, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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A PremierPub / West Village

Corner Bistro / 331 W. 4th St.

Sometimes you just need a beer and a burger. If so, Corner Bistro is the place you want. Located just outside the hip Meatpacking district, this corner bar and grill is decidedly unhip, but it’s not uncrowded, especially at night. Seems that everyone knows this place has one of the better burgers in town.

kac_120405_phude_corner_bistro_bar_1000-600x450In the maze of streets known as the West Village, where West 4th intersects with West 12th (and West 11th, and West 10th, go figure), you will eventually find Corner Bistro on the corner of West 4th and Jane Street. An unassuming neighborhood tavern, it looks just like dozens of other taverns around town.

The bartender tells me that the Corner Bistro celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year. The well worn interior tells me that the place itself is much older.

Corner Bistro has outlasted many of those other taverns around town because they know how to keep it simple — just good burgers and beer, fairly priced. The classic bistro Burger is only $6.75, and should be ordered medium rare, which will be plenty rare for most folks. Actually, it will be a juicy, messy delight – make sure you have extra napkins. I like to pull up a stool and sit by the large front window in the afternoon, where I can rest my burger and beer on the shelf, and watch the Villagers walk by.

Corner Bistro seems to attract very different groups of patrons depending on time of day. While it’s crowded with locals in the evening, in the afternoon you hear different foreign languages, and watch groups of euro tourists wander in, led by their guidebooks and smartphones.

For the classic Bistro experience, order your burger with a McSorley’s draft, the dark preferably. This is the same beer that you can get over at the original McSorley’s in the East Village, the pub that claims to be the oldest continually operating bar in NYCity. The only difference is that this McSorley’s ale is served with a smile by the bartenders here. Or you can get a Sierra Nevada, Stella, or Hoegaarden on tap if you want to go upscale a bit. Either way this is a simple, but quality burger and beer experience that is just too rare these days (sorry for the pun).
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Website: cornerbistrony.com
Phone #: 212-242-9502
Hours: 11:30am-4am Mon-Sat; 12pm-4am Sun
Happy Hour: NO
Music: Juke Box
Subway: #1/2/3 to 14th St. (S end of platform)
Walk 2 blk W. on 13th St. to 8th Ave.; 1 blk S. on 8th Ave. to Jane St.
Update:
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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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Holiday Windows and Tree Lightings

THE NYT “New York Today” column has a nice summary of the city’s department store holiday windows (BTW, I always start my day by reading this wonderful, quirky column):

Most beautiful: Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, at 58th St.
The store’s decadent, travel-themed windows, titled “Destination Extraordinary,” are like a high-fashion fairy tale transporting you out West with cactuses, to a jungle with gorillas, or atop the rolling hills of a medieval castle. Go at night, and you’ll see the entire block glowing green.

Most child-friendly: Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue, at 39th Street; and Macy’s Herald Square, at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue
At Lord & Taylor, look out for ice-skating bunnies, dancing raccoons and mice on skis. A big, snugly bear, too. The display, “Enchanted Forest,” feels ethereal and dreamlike. The sparkling blue, night-sky backdrop and soft lullaby bells might make you want to crawl into the window and drift into a deep winter’s sleep, no matter your age.

Macy’s is the best spot to see Santa Claus. Close in tow are Santa’s helpers, his reindeer and the lovely Mrs. Claus. Watch as Santa and his elves assemble gifts at the North Pole and use a special machine to determine who is nice, merry, jolly, ho-hum or naughty.

Best music: Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, at 49th St.
So loud you can hear it from over a block away — even above the honking traffic. The windows, the “Land of 1,000 Delights,” mix eye candy with real candy: over-the-top outfits alongside lollipops twice the size of the mannequins.

Best lights: Tiffany’s, 727 Fifth Avenue, at 57th St.
The building’s facade is covered with jewel-like lights that are probably larger than anything you’ll find in the store. Do they look like diamond brooches? Diamond insects? Diamond eyes with fluffy lashes and bushy brows? Depends where you stand.

Most creative: Barney’s, 660 Madison Avenue, at East 61st St.
In 2015, the store had real people carving ice sculptures in the windows. And this year, the display doesn’t disappoint.

Another must see over the holidays:

WINTER VILLAGE AT BRYANT PARK (through Jan. 2)
It’s that time of year when the twinkling glow of the Winter Village takes over Bryant Park. Allow yourself to be beckoned by a smooth expanse of ice on the skating rink; the holiday shops full of clothes, jewelry and other gifts; and the warm beverages and treats that come with the coldest season.
WHEN | WHERE at Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues. skating rink through March 5.
INFO Free; 917-438-5166, wintervillage.org (STAV ZIV, Newsday)

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