NYC Events,”Only the Best” (11/15) + 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: “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 over town, all through the month.
The curated list of events you will find in the “This WEEK” tab ain’t bad, either.

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

LIVE from the NYPL |
Daniel Mendelsohn with Rebecca Mead: Fathers, Heroes, Sons
New York Public Library—Main Building, 476 Fifth Ave./ 7PM, $25
“When Daniel Mendelsohn’s father, Jay, enrolled in his son’s undergraduate Odyssey seminar at Bard College, it set the two men on a journey toward mutual understanding that was at times as treacherous as the straits of Scilla. Mendelsohn tells the tale in An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic. Arguing over Homer’s classic in the classroom and then recreating Odysseus’s voyages in an unforgettable Mediterranean journey, the scientist father attempts to appreciate the path of his writer/classicist son, while the son gradually uncovers long-buried secrets that explain his difficult parent. Mendelsohn, an award-winning memoirist and critic and frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, will speak with New Yorker staff writer Rebecca Mead.”

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>BRIAN BLADE AND THE FELLOWSHIP BAND
>>Stanley Clarke
>>John Zorn’s Masada
>>Dream Hoarders: Is the Upper Middle Class Leaving Everyone Else Behind? 
>>Marvin Carlson: 10,000 Nights
>>“Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer”
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

BRIAN BLADE AND THE FELLOWSHIP BAND (Nov. 14-19)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $30
“One of jazz’s most distinctive and sought-after drummers, Mr. Blade is known for his broad, forceful playing, which can both pummel and levitate. He’s not concerned with projecting a rhythmic concept so much as evoking something wholesale, cathartic and consuming. His Fellowship Band has been together for 20 years, and here it celebrates the release of a new record, “Body and Shadow.” The album — collecting seven original tunes and two takes on a Christian hymn — reflects the group’s ethereal, communal approach. The Fellowship Band appears here in a five-piece iteration, with Melvin Butler on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Myron Walden on tenor and soprano saxophone, Jon Cowherd on piano and Chris Thomas on bass.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Stanley Clarke (Nov. 14-19)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $30-$45
“What hasn’t Clarke played over the course of his four-decade career? He’s proficient in mainstream jazz, of course, but he has also taken on chamber-scaled projects of genuine delicacy and electric fusion of arena-rock proportions. He turns up here with a combo that includes the legendary Lenny White on drums.” (TONY)

John Zorn’s Masada  (Nov. 14-19)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $30
“Where it once seemed like a massive turning of the tide for the iconoclastic Zorn to get a stint at this hallowed jazz institution, by now it feels like old home week. Nine different ensembles will present work from the third book of the composer’s ever-growing Masada repertoire. Participants include Bill Frisell, Christian McBride, Julian Lage, and Frank London; Zorn himself is scheduled to perform with the Zion 80 band on the final night.” (NewYorker)

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

Dream Hoarders: Is the Upper Middle Class Leaving Everyone Else Behind?
Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave. Rm.C200: Proshansky Auditorium  / 6:30PM, FREE
In his much-discussed book Dream Hoarders, Richard V. Reeves asserts that the most important gap in America is between the top 20% (not just the 1%) and everyone else. Is the upper middle class hoarding the American dream? Graduate Center professors and scholars from the GC’s Stone Center—Janet Gornick, Paul Krugman, and Leslie McCall—take a critical look at Reeves’ conclusions in conversation with the author, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.”

Marvin Carlson: 10,000 Nights
Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave.; Rm.1218: Segal Theatre/ 6:30PM, FREE
Only Marvin Carlson could have written such a wonderful and engaging theatre history.” –Erika Fischer-Lichte, Freie Universitat Berlin
“Join us for a celebration of Marvin Carlson’s latest book Ten Thousand Nights: Highlights from 50 Years of Theatre-Going. This volume collects an astonishing chronicle of a half-century of theatre-going, in which Carlson recalls 50 memorable productions, out of over 10,000—choosing one from each year spanning from 1960 to 2010. The range of performances covered is wide and represent a history of theatre in itself–edgy experimental productions, theatre classics, mainstream musicals, and street performance. Travel with the author to stages and sidewalks across Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Milan, New York, and elsewhere.

Carlson provides unique insight on what theatre-going meant in each decade, what kind of theatre the zeitgeist produced, and his personal accounts of the productions. These engaging vignettes portray vivid descriptions of productions, venues, and neighborhoods, all told with necessary cultural context—covering significant theatre movements and artists from the late twentieth century to the present.”

“Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer”
Metropolitan Museum / 10AM-5:30PM, $25
“The largest Michelangelo in the history of the Met opened on Monday.  “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” features 133 drawings, three marble sculptures and the iconic Renaissance artist’s earliest painting.

The last Michelangelo exhibition to take place in New York consisted of a reproduction of the Sistine Ceiling at the Oculus in Lower Manhattan. But now, the real deal is coming to town thanks to the exhibition, “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer,” at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Announced in May, the show is the largest monograph of the Renaissance genius ever mounted at The Met. It’s been hyped—not without reason—as a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit featuring 133 drawings, three marble sculptures, as well as the artist’s earliest painting.

The show also includes a wooden architectural model for a chapel he designed, along with paintings by some of his contemporaries. “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” opens November 13, and is bound to be packed.” (TONY)

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)
Tree Lighting
As one of the most popular holiday markets in NYC, the Winter Village has big plans to make their tree-lighting ceremony (held 6PM, Friday, December 1) a smash. When you go, you’ll be dazzled by a theatrical ice-skating show starring World Champions and Olympian skaters Kimmie Meissner, Meryl Davis and Charlie White as well as Jeff Buttle. The legendary Johnny Weir will also hit the 17,000-square-foot rink.

(11/10/17-1/1/18) The NYC perennial holiday favorite Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes® returns. Fan favorites include “New York at Christmas,” where the Rockettes® board a real double-decker bus, and the high-energy tap number “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Of course, beloved classics like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity” will also be back. rockettes.com/christmas

Elsewhere, but come on, “just Mangia,” and make this worthwhile detour:
“Savor the Bronx” – a Bronx version of Restaurant Week. (Nov.06-17)
Go check it out to get deals at the best restaurants in the Bronx.

“The Bronx’s culinary diversity get its rightful spotlight during this price-slashed, borough-specific restaurant week. For 11 days, more than 30 eateries will serve prix-fixe menus at a budget-friendly rate of just $16.41 for lunch and $20.15 for dinner. Snack your way through Latin cuisines ranging from Mexican at Xochimilco Family Restaurant to Dominican at Mamajuana Cafe, or tap into the borough’s rich Italian history at red-sauce standbys like Enzo’s of Morris Park and Tosca Café. In addition to food, Bronx-bound bargoers can throw back beers at Bronx Alehouse or the venerable Bronx Beer Hall, that storied bazaar where Robert De Niro first met Joe Pesci.” (TONY)

Canstruction (Nov.02-15)
Brookfield Place; /10AM – 8PM; FREE
“Give “food as art” new meaning beyond those food-porn Instagrams at this 24th annual cans-for-a-cause competition, pitting architecture teams against each other to create larger-than-life Pop-Art–installations using more than 120,000 cans of nonperishable food, all in the name of ending hunger (every can is donated to City Harvest). Head down to Brookfield Place to see the unveiling of these engineering spectacles, all built overnight after months of planning, and check back to see if your favorite takes home any titles in judges’ categories like Best Use of Labels, Best Meal and Structural Ingenuity. You’ll also be able to cast a ballot for the “People’s Choice” winner online. Admission is completely free, but you can do your part by bringing the suggested donation of one canned good per person.” (TONY)

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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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