NYC Events,”Only the Best” (11/01) + 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 better check the tab above: “Notable NYC Events-November
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all through the month.

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

Ann Hampton Callaway: Jazz Goes to the Movies (Oct.31-Nov.04)
Birdland / 8:30 and 11PM, $40
“A swinging fixture of the cabaret world, Ann Hampton Callaway has also branched into jazz and TV theme songs (The Nanny). She has a reassuringly mellow way with the standards, sung in a wry, dark-toned contralto. Her latest set explores intersections of jazz and film, from silver-screen classics like “As Time Goes By” to songs that she herself she has recorded for soundtracks.” (TONY)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> ‘THE RED SHOES’
>> Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars
>> FRED HERSCH
>> SciCafe: Are We Alone in the Universe?
>> Happy Birthday, Alamo!
>> Holy Blood: Mexican Horror Cinema
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

‘THE RED SHOES’ (Oct.26 – Nov.5)
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“Matthew Bourne/New Adventures returns to New York City Center with his first new production in four years. An adaptation of the treasured Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film, “The Red Shoes” explores Victoria Page’s battle between life and art. The New Adventures dancers Ashley Shaw and Cordelia Braithwaite perform the part, along with Sara Mearns, a principal of New York City Ballet. The composer Julian Craster is played, alternately, by Marcelo Gomes of American Ballet Theater and Dominic North of New Adventures. And finally, Sam Archer plays the impresario Boris Lermontov.” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars (Oct.31-Nov.05)
Blue Note / 8PM +10:30PM, $30-$45
“History has produced its share of great artists and great people – John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was both. As a performer, he left behind an incredible record of innovation and inspiration; as a composer, a broad repository of musical masterpieces; and as a man, a legion of friends, colleagues, and compatriots who remember him with the same degree of love and esteem they reserve for his work.

The Dizzy Gillespie™ Alumni All-Star group are the direct descendants of Gillespie’s musical ventures. The groups have featured some of Dizzy’s closest compatriots: senior statesman and NEA Jazz Master James Moody; musical director John Lee; and veteran Gillespie alumni Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Davis, and Willie Jones III. All of them are outstanding band leaders, educators, and recording artists in their own right.

The Alumni All-Star group debuted in 1996. They continue to delight audiences around the world with the enduring power and freshness of Gillespie’s music. These groups are the legacy the master would have wanted, and they serve as a living tribute from extraordinary musicians who exemplify his style, range, and commitment.”

FRED HERSCH (Oct. 31-Nov. 5)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $30
“Mr. Hersch, a starkly articulate and affecting pianist, recently put out “Open Book,” a solo record that comprises original compositions, covers of jazz standards and a 20-minute free improvisation. He will take the stage alone for the first three nights of this run, then will be joined by his trio mates, the bassist John Hébert and the drummer Eric McPherson, for the next three.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

SciCafe: Are We Alone in the Universe?
American Museum of Natural History, Cullman Hall of the Universe, Enter at 81st Street
6PM, FREE, but RSVP
“Beyond the edges of our solar system, astronomers have recently identified dozens of planets which could be like our own Earth—and potentially support extraterrestrial life. But how can we tell? Astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger explores how we can use our own planet and its wide range of species as a Rosetta Stone to detect signs of life on exoplanets. Join her for a journey over vast interstellar distances to answer an age-old question: are we alone in the universe?”
SciCafe is primarily standing room only. Your RSVP does not guarantee a seat.

Happy Birthday, Alamo!
26 Astor Place / 11AM-3PM, FREE
In November 1967 Tony Rosenthal’s now iconic “Alamo” sculpture landed at Astor Place! Join our birthday party for the “Cube” on November 1st where we’ll be celebrating fifty spinning years with the following activities. (I used to work across the street in the late 1960’s and remember the Alamo fondly.)

Astor Place & Alamo Sculpture History Talks
The now iconic Alamo sculpture was the first ever piece of public art in New York City and was originally only meant to be on display for six months…the rest is history! Find out more about that history, and Astor Place’s storied history at one of three fifteen minute Astor Place history snapshot walk’s and talks, presented by one of our walking tour guides.

Music
No birthday is complete without music nor the singing of Happy Birthday! We’ll have the Grace Church School choir and orchestra doing the honors!

Elsewhere, but you don’t want to miss this series, which is almost over:

Holy Blood: Mexican Horror Cinema (thru Nov.02)
BAMcinematek / 7PM, 9:15PM, $15
“BAM’s vital ten-film series “Holy Blood: Mexican Horror Cinema” boasts a couple of canonized works (Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre [1989], Felipe Cazals’s Canoa: A Shameful Memory [1976]); a pair of warm but still scarifying psychological slow-burners (Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos [1993], Carlos Enrique Taboada’s Poison for the Fairies [1984]); one flesh-rending Seventies softcore spree (Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda [1977]); a clutch of dead-serious black-and-white beauties that create a state of gothic delirium (Fernando Méndez’s El Vampiro [1957], Chano Urueta’s The Witch’s Mirror [1962], Rafael Baledón’s The Curse of the Crying Women [1963]); and one skull-puncturing, centuries-defiling goof (Urueta’s El Barón del Terror [1962]), made all the more gloriously funny and fascinating by the fact that it, too, is often dead serious, even as its furry rubber-masked Ferengi of a warlock sucks brains out of heads via a forked proboscis-like tongue.” (Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice)

Continuing Events

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (6th Ave. & 42nd St.)
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Enjoy Bryant Park through the winter with the Holiday Shops food and gift boutiques (thru Jan.02), Danny Meyer’s pop-up rinkside eatery Public Fare (thru Mar.04), and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 28, 2017 – March 4, 2018
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting)

EXHIBIT ‘TO QUENCH THE THIRST OF NEW YORKERS: THE CROTON AQUEDUCT AT 175’ (thru Dec 31)
“Many New Yorkers today take for granted the appearance of clean water in the city’s taps. This exhibit focuses on the history of the Croton Aqueduct, an engineering feat that brought fresh water from the Croton River upstate to fountains in the middle of the city when it was completed in the 1840s.” (STAV ZIV, Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE: Opens Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave. – INFO: $18; 212­-534­-1672, mcny.org.

Learn all about the High Bridge, which carried the Croton Aqueduct across the Harlem River. This magnificent civic structure was modeled on the old Roman Aqueduct bridges, and is New York City’s oldest and best bridge. I know, because I lived nearby in the far west Bronx neighborhood of Highbridge, and have strolled across it many times.

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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:
(5 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 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 – UG, 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 is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2017.  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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