Selected NYC Events (01/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“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 future NYC Events be sure to check the tab above: “Notable NYC Events-Jan.”

The Apocalypse is upon us.
Tomorrow that crude and rude man, ignorant of world affairs, host of a mediocre reality show; a bully and buffoon who never cared about anyone but himself, and who, BTW, lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, will somehow be inaugurated president.
God help us!

If the thought of watching the inaugural makes you sick to your stomach, Time Out New York has put together some good alternative activities. Please go to the Tab above:  “Anti-Inaugural Activities”

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

J. P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (LAST DAY CHAMPIONSHIP)
at Grand Central Terminal, 7PM, +8PM
“As the only top-level sporting event to be held annually in Grand Central Terminal, the J. P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is considered one of the squash world’s most coveted titles. More than 100 of the game’s best men and women will compete in this weeklong event, beginning on Jan. 12, which takes place in a specially constructed court inside Vanderbilt Hall. Fans of the sport can opt for free, standing-room viewing — an option that also attracts curious passers-by and commuters — or purchase seated tickets.” (JACK WILLIAMS, NYT)
Today: Men’s Finals, 8PM & Women’s Finals, 7PM

4  OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE
Noche Flamenca: Antigona
Hollywood in the White House
Book Launch: Insane Clown President by Matt Taibbi

PLUS 
NYC Restaurant Week reservations now open
Broadway Week and Attractions Week now open

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE (also Jan. 17-22)
at the Village Vanguard, / 8 and 10PM, $30.
“Mr. McBride, the bassist, bandleader and composer, holds fast to a mood of generous bonhomie with his trio, which recently released a live album recorded in this room. That group, now with Christian Sands on piano and Jerome Jennings on drums, performs the first week of his engagement, Jan. 10 through 15. From Jan. 17 through 22, Mr. McBride will lead a groove-minded quartet, informally called New Jawn McBride, featuring the trumpeter Josh Evans, the saxophonist Marcus Strickland and the drummer Nasheet Waits.” (NYT-Chinen)

Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 28)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./ 8PM, $25-$60
“Traditional Spanish dance and ancient Greek theater are an unlikely but well-suited pair in Noche Flamenca’s sharp production “Antigona,” based on Sophocles’s famous tragedy. The dance lights a fire under the play while discovering in itself a knack for narrative drama. In the title role, the powerhouse Soledad Barrio is both fierce and fragile. The century-old church where the performance takes place is filled with striking sets, darkly amorous music played by a live band and a ferocious Greek chorus of dancers.” (NYT-Schaefer)

My Take: 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. Two wonderful Spanish guitarists and two vocalists do not get the credit they deserve. Every piece of this performance is outstanding. Go See It!

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

Hollywood in the White House
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, FREE
With Max Alvarez, an author and public speaker with over 20 years of experience in the areas of journalism, media criticism, archival research, teaching, and cultural programming.
“This illustrated talk explores how U.S. presidents have been portrayed in major movies over the decades: flattering (The American President and West Wing) or not (Absolute Power and the current series House of Cards).”

Elsewhere, but this looks absolutely worth an essential detour:

Book Launch: Insane Clown President by Matt Taibbi
powerHouse Arena, 28 Adams St. Bklyn./ 7PM, Free, RSVP requested
Process all your feelings surrounding a Trump presidency on the eve of the inauguration with one of America’s most essential political journalists. Matt Taibbi will be here reading from his collection of dispatches on the 2016 election—from the ominous clownshow of the 2015 run-up to the primaries to the darkly comic twists and turns of the general campaign to the astonishing, world-shaking finish.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

PLUS 

NYC Restaurant Week reservations now open
From Jan. 23 to Feb. 10, have your pick from 375 participating restaurants, with a three-course prix fixe lunch or dinner; lunches are $29, and dinners are $42, not including beverages, gratuities and taxes, a great deal for some of the city’s most popular spots…

This year there are 32 new restaurants participating, joining the array of restaurants that span 41 neighborhoods and four boroughs.
To see the full list, go to nycgo.com/restaurantweek.

Broadway Week and Attractions Week now open
Day 2 of Broadway Week and Attractions Week, through Feb. 5, where you can receive deals like two-for-one tickets at performances and cultural events around the city.

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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 60 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 / 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.
(Alas, no more. After 10 years, “Jersey Boys” closed Jan.15)

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 younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.
Update#2: Rumor that “Tiny” is back playing only on Friday nights – need to check it out.

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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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