Selected NYC Events (12/26) + Today’s Featured Pub (Upper WestSide)

“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:

CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT AND THE AARON DIEHL TRIO
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Dec. 26-30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 7:30 and 11 p.m.; and Jan. 1, 7 and 9 p.m.).
“Ms. Salvant, 27, is the most fervently acclaimed jazz singer of her generation, and on her most recent album — “For One to Love,” which won a Grammy this year — she deepened her game with a bouquet of original songs. She performs as usual with a trio led by Mr. Diehl, a fastidious and swinging pianist who has been her musical director for the last several years.” (Nate Chinen-NYT)

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

‘A DARLENE LOVE CHRISTMAS’
ERIC ALEXANDER-HAROLD MABERN QUARTET
“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency
Hot Cider Walking Tour of the Lower East Side
bonus pick: METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

‘A DARLENE LOVE CHRISTMAS’
“The former Crystals singer’s annual show has become as much of a holiday tradition as the Yule Log. And you can be certain she’ll perform her Christmas chestnut “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. (also Dec. 23, 26 and Jan. 6) at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St.
INFO $45; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com” (DANIEL BUBBEO, Newsday)

ERIC ALEXANDER-HAROLD MABERN QUARTET (Dec. 22-Jan. 1)
Smoke Jazz Club, / 7, 9, +10:30PM, $45
“Mr. Alexander, a tenor saxophonist with a taste for smartly surging hard bop, has a productive history with Mr. Mabern, a well-traveled and soulful pianist. The lineup of their bands will shift a few times between now and the New Year, featuring partners like the veteran drummers Jimmy Cobb (Dec. 22-23) and Louis Hayes (Dec. 24-25), the trumpeter Eddie Henderson (Dec. 27-28), and the trombonist Steve Turre (Dec. 29-30). On New Year’s Eve they’ll welcome an unnamed guest vocalist — possibly even someone from Mr. Mabern’s recent album “Afro Blue,” whose roster includes Gregory Porter, Jane Monheit and Norah Jones.” (Nate Chinen-NYT)

New York City Ballet / “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 2PM, +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)

Chris Botti 12th Annual Holiday Residency (thru Jan.08)
Blue Note, / 8PM, +10:30PM, $50 Bar; $85-$115 Table
“Botti’s trumpet skills are actually as good as his telegenic looks, even if he rarely puts them to use playing the kind of bop he cut his teeth on. A consummate showman, Botti presents his blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles-ian ballads and assorted pop and classical chestnuts at the Blue Note for his 12th annual holiday residency.” (TONY)

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

Hot Cider Walking Tour of the Lower East Side
Museum at Eldridge Street.,12 Eldridge St./ 1PM, $30
Travel back in time a century or so, to when the Lower East Side had the largest Jewish population in the world. The Museum at Eldridge Street hosts a Hot Cider Walking Tour with visits to some of the surviving landmarks of the The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards exhibition.

This walking tour also includes a toasty tour of our landmark sanctuary, hot cider, and treats from The Pickle Guys and other local vendors.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Plus, for all you Opera fans, this week looks special:
METROPOLITAN OPERA
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center

‘SALOME’ (Dec. 24, 6 p.m.; Dec. 28, 8 p.m.).
“Two last chances to hear Patricia Racette’s Salome in this production by Jürgen Flimm, which dates to 2004. Johannes Debus makes for a solid, though not revelatory, conductor; Gerhard Siegel is Herod, and Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Herodias. The steadfast baritone Zeljko Lucic is Jochanaan on Dec. 24, but Greer Grimsley takes over on Dec. 28.”
212-362-6000, metopera.org (David Allen-NYT)

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Bonus NYC Events – Jazz Clubs:
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 – 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 at these top NYC events, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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A PremierPub / Upper West Side

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que / 700 W125th St. @ 12th ave.

Walk only five minutes from the 125th St. station on the #1 line to find this authentic honky-tonk barbecue joint. Some folks think Dinosaur is just a place to eat ribs. Au contraire. With 24 carefully selected taps, this is a place to drink beer, and eat ribs.

HarlHostStandNo food goes better with American craft ales than American barbecue. Dinosaur may be the best combo of good beer drinking and hearty eating in town, which makes the trip uptown to West Harlem totally worthwhile.

This second incarnation of Dinosaur in Harlem is in a two story, old brick warehouse near the Hudson River. Don’t let that run down exterior fool you. Inside it’s a large space with huge, rough wooden columns and unfinished wooden floors and brick walls – just right for a bbq joint. As soon as you open the front door you are hit with that tantalizing aroma of barbecue coming from the large open kitchen. Reminds me of those great rib joints I frequented when stationed in North Carolina all those years ago. If your stomach wasn’t grumbling before, it is now.

Head to the bar, sit down and try to decide on a beer. It’s not an easy decision – a good problem to have. This is a pretty damn good beer list to choose from, one that most beer bars should be jealous of. I love that they feature NY craft beers. You may want to try the four beer sampler, which is always fun, and in this place may be necessary.

The blues music playing in the background will get you in the mood for their North Carolina style barbecue, and even when it’s a full house your order shouldn’t take too long (assuming you snagged a table). The food is all slow smoked, so it’s already mostly done and ready to go. I always start with an order of their giant, spice rubbed wings, so good they may make you give up Buffalo wings.

Unfortunately, a place this good does not fly under the radar. There can be some long waits for a table at dinnertime. So you need a strategy – avoid prime time, and try not to arrive with your entire posse, which will limit your seating options.

A seat at the bar, a small table in the bar area, or in the summer, an outside table underneath what’s left of the elevated West Side Highway, all may open before a table inside the main dining room. Otherwise, try Dinosaur for lunch, or come very late for dinner, maybe after a show at the nearby Cotton Club nightclub.

Website: http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/
Phone #: 212-694-1777
Hours: Mo-Th 11:30am-11:00pm; Fr-Sa 11:30am-12:00am;
Su 12:00pm-10:00pm
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day; $1 off all drinks
Music: Fri / Sat 10:30pm
Subway: #1 to 125th St.
Walk 2 blk W on 125th St. to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q,
just past the elevated highway.
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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

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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