NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/01) + 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: “NYC Events-December”
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:

Steve Miller, Jimmie Vaughan & Charlie Musselwhite: The Blues Triangle
Rose Theater, Jazz @ Lincoln Center / 8PM, $35+
“Renowned blues-rock guitarist, singer/songwriter, and 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Miller returns to Rose Theater for a journey through the Blues Triangle. Having learned his first chords at age five from his godfather Les Paul, how to play lead guitar from T-Bone Walker at age nine, and then working with the best bluesmen in Chicago — Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, and Paul Butterfield — Miller has a serious affinity for the blues. In this program, he will explore music from three essential blues hubs: Memphis, Texas, and Chicago. As fans of the genre know well, the blues adopts its own unique flavor depending on the location, and Miller is well equipped to highlight the important nuances and similarities between these vibrant musical cities.” ===========================================================

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Norma  (next performance Dec.05)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $30+
“Ponselle, Milanov, Sutherland, Callas … after last night, Radvanovsky can add her name to the list,” declared the Huffington Post when Sondra Radvanovsky made her Met role debut as Norma in 2013. The 2017–18 season opens with a new production of Bellini’s masterpiece, starring Radvanovsky as the Druid priestess and Joyce DiDonato as her archrival, Adalgisa—a casting coup for bel canto fans. Tenor Joseph Calleja is Pollione, Norma’s unfaithful lover, and Carlo Rizzi conducts. Sir David McVicar’s evocative production sets the action deep in a Druid forest where nature and ancient ritual rule.”

MARCUS ROBERTS TRIO (Nov.28-Dec.2)
at Birdland / 8:30 and 11PM, $40
“Mr. Roberts, a pianist, has just released “Trio Crescent,” reworking the five original compositions on John Coltrane’s somber, interrogational “Crescent” (the album that came just before Coltrane’s landmark “A Love Supreme”). Mr. Roberts’s inclinations run slightly brighter and less implacable than Coltrane’s did, but the album — which will presumably provide some grist for these performances — attests to both the hospitality of these compositions and Mr. Roberts’s fluency as an interpreter. He appears here with the band from “Trio Crescent,” featuring Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Danilo Pérez Trio: Panamonk (Nov.30-Dec.03)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“There really is no end to what can be brought to the durable compositions of Thelonious Monk, and the Panamanian pianist Perez proved it with his compelling 1996 album, “Panamonk,” which adorned these iconic tunes in Latin finery. He calls on one of the recording’s participants, the drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and enlists the bassist Ben Street to round out his rhythmically charged trio.” (NewYorker)

The Chase Brock Experience (Nov.27–Dec. 9)
Clurman, 410 W. 42nd St./ 8PM, $29
“Only thirty-four, with choreography credits that include a video game for Nintendo’s Wii and the ill-fated Broadway musical “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark,” Brock is already celebrating the tenth anniversary of his troupe. His sensibility is peppy, poppy, amped up with theatre-geek zeal. His on-the-beat, on-the-nose illustrations of music and lyrics have a let’s-put-on-a-show innocence. This anniversary program ranges chronologically from the 2007 work “Slow Float,” which treats Laura Nyro songs in the manner of “Hair,” to the première of “Men I’ve Known,” which is set, more ambitiously, to Satie’s austere “Ogives.” (NewYorker)

CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE AND TIP CITY (Nov.28-Dec.3)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $30
“Mr. McBride plays the upright bass with a deft assurance, and leads his bands with a sense of avuncular discipline. His recent album, the strong “Bringin’ It,” features Mr. McBride’s large ensemble, but here he appears with a stripped-down trio, with Emmet Cohen on piano and Dan Wilson on guitar. (Mr. McBride will continue his run from Dec. 5 to 10, with his quintet, Inside Straight.)” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

David Lebovitz and Deb Perelman in Conversation
92nd Street Y,1395 Lexington Ave./ 7:30PM, $35
“Two world-renowned chefs and bloggers, David Lebovitz and Deb Perelman, discuss their upcoming books, L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home (Lebovitz) and Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites (Perelman).

Lebovitz’s adventure renovating his Paris apartment serves as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one’s life while Perelman shares real recipes for real people who want to enjoy cooking as an escape from everyday drudgery – where discoveries in the kitchen can change the course of your day and also produce a delicious meal.”

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.

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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 31)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / various times and prices
“As a young dancer in St. Petersburg in the nineteen-tens, George Balanchine performed the lead in the Harlequins’ “Hoop Dance” in the Mariinsky Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” By all accounts, he was rather proud of his performance, and in 1954, when he created his own “Nutcracker” for the New York City Ballet, he included the dance verbatim in the second act, and renamed it “Candy Cane.” With its double hoop jumps, it is still one of the most beloved sections of the ballet, performed by one adult dancer and eight children from the school. This merging of past and present, adult prowess and youthful flair, has helped insure this production’s enduring appeal for more than sixty years. It returns for a monthlong run.” (NewYorker)

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(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

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Let there be light!

Luminaries installation at Brookfield Place in the Winter Garden, a stunning holiday arrangement, comprising 650 LED lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Make sure to pack your skates and enjoy ice-skating next door, along the waterfront.
AND
Erwin Redl’s Whiteout, a newly commissioned public art project, will light up in Madison Square Park. It consists of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a white LED light, and suspended from a square grid of steel poles. The swaying sequence of light will be on display until April 2018.

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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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