NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (WestVillage)

“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 12/15” tab ain’t bad, either.
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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Dorrance Dance ((Dec. 19-31)
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $81+, may have to select a later date for best seats.
“The rare artist who can make a dance that is as innovative as it is engaging, MacArthur Award-winning tap dancer Michelle Dorrance leads a company comprised of some of the best hoofers in the business. For its Joyce engagement, Dorrance Dance performs Myelination, “a glittering closer that needs to have a second life” (The New York Times). Newly reborn and extended, this work includes original, live music composed by Gregory Richardson and Donovan Dorrance, the choreographer’s talented brother, featuring eclectic-soul vocalist Aaron Marcellus. Also on the program is the world premiere of Until The Real Thing Comes Along (a letter to ourselves) which is set to the music of Fats Waller, and highlights the astounding skill and exuberance of this show-stopping group.” (cityguideny.com, has a $5 off coupon)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> CHRIS BOTTI 13th ANNUAL HOLIDAY RESIDENCY
>> KENNY BARRON
>>Norm Lewis: Santa Baby
>> STONEFEST
>>YO LA TENGO
>>DICK HYMAN
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

CHRIS BOTTI 13th ANNUAL HOLIDAY RESIDENCY (thru Jan.07)
​Blue Note Jazz Club / 8PM, +10:30PM, $65-$125
“Botti, described by The Wall Street Journal as “a December institution in the Big Apple at the Blue Note, has called the club his home every December since 2005.

Since the release of his 2004 critically acclaimed CD When I Fall In Love, Chris Botti has become the largest-selling American instrumental artist. His success has crossed over to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his ongoing association with PBS has led to four #1 jazz albums, as well as multiple Gold, Platinum and Grammy Awards. Most recently, his latest album Impressions won the GRAMMY® for Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 2013 55th GRAMMY® Awards. Performing worldwide and selling more than four million albums, he has found a form of creative expression that begins in jazz and expands beyond the limits of any single genre.”

KENNY BARRON (through Dec. 24)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM
“Mr. Barron, a pianist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, this weekend finishes a six-night run at the Vanguard with his quintet. He then takes a break on Monday before moving into another week of shows, this time with his trio. Molten and bluesy, Mr. Barron is equally indebted to the tweaked angularity of Thelonious Monk and the graceful parlance of Hank Jones; he’s one of jazz’s unassailable piano gurus. His trio includes Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Norm Lewis: Santa Baby (Dec.18-23)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 9:30PM, $65+
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his annual Christmas set at Feinstein’s/54 Below, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

STONEFEST (Dec. 17-19)
at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium / 7PM, $
“The Stone, the beloved avant-garde performance space on the Lower East Side, is transitioning into new digs at the New School, where it will move permanently at the end of February. In anticipation, the university is hosting a three-day festival, featuring a potent lineup of improvisers, at its Tishman Auditorium. On Sunday, the headliners include the guitarist Mary Halvorson’s quartet and the pianist Craig Taborn. The following night, the Kris Davis Trio will play, along with a large band performing John Zorn’s “Cobra,” an improvisation-driven composition. On Tuesday, the drummer Milford Graves leads a trio and the inventive trumpeter Peter Evans gives a solo set.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

DICK HYMAN (Dec. 18-19)
at Dizzy’s Club / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $
“The pianist Mr. Hyman, 90, is perhaps jazz’s foremost practitioner of classic ragtime and stride technique. His remarkable precision and playful articulation will be on full display at this two-note run, when he performs solo.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

YO LA TENGO (LAST DAY)
at the Bowery Ballroom / 8:30PM, $40
“Throughout the 2000s, indie-rock fans looked forward each winter to Yo La Tengo’s eight-night Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s, a club in its native Hoboken, N.J. Maxwell’s closed in 2013, and so ended the band’s yearly tradition — but like the oil in the legend, Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah shows are burning bright once again this month, at a new location. All eight nights are sold out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the resale market for miracles.” (NYT-SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON)

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

coming soon.

Continuing Holiday 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)
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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)

“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” continues performances throughout the month. It never disappoints, from its onstage snowstorm to the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. And there’s also, of course, Balanchine’s remarkable choreography, which brings the Tchaikovsky score to dancing life. This week, many of the principal dancers get a shot at Sugar Plum — Sara Mearns, Megan Fairchild and Lauren Lovette, among them — but not to be overlooked is the soloist Indiana Woodward, who is scheduled to do the honors on Dec. 7 opposite Chase Finlay as her Cavalier. She’s a delight.” (NYT 12/01-Gia Kourlas)

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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 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:
(5 underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 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 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 / West Village

Corner Bistro 331 W. 4th St.

Sometimes you just need a beer and a burger. If so, Corner Bistro is the place you want. Located just outside the hip Meatpacking district, this corner bar and grill is decidedly unhip, but it’s not uncrowded, especially at night. Seems that everyone knows this place has one of the better burgers in town.

kac_120405_phude_corner_bistro_bar_1000-600x450In the maze of streets known as the West Village, where West 4th intersects with West 12th (and West 11th, and West 10th, go figure), you will eventually find Corner Bistro on the corner of West 4th and Jane Street. An unassuming neighborhood tavern, it looks just like dozens of other taverns around town.

The bartender tells me that the Corner Bistro celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year. The well worn interior tells me that the place itself is much older.

Corner Bistro has outlasted many of those other taverns around town because they know how to keep it simple — just good burgers and beer, fairly priced. The classic bistro Burger is only $6.75, and should be ordered medium rare, which will be plenty rare for most folks. Actually, it will be a juicy, messy delight – make sure you have extra napkins. I like to pull up a stool and sit by the large front window in the afternoon, where I can rest my burger and beer on the shelf, and watch the Villagers walk by.

Corner Bistro seems to attract very different groups of patrons depending on time of day. While it’s crowded with locals in the evening, in the afternoon you hear different foreign languages, and watch groups of euro tourists wander in, led by their guidebooks and smartphones.

For the classic Bistro experience, order your burger with a McSorley’s draft, the dark preferably. This is the same beer that you can get over at the original McSorley’s in the East Village, the pub that claims to be the oldest continually operating bar in NYCity. The only difference is that this McSorley’s ale is served with a smile by the bartenders here. Or you can get a Sierra Nevada, Stella, or Hoegaarden on tap if you want to go upscale a bit. Either way this is a simple, but quality burger and beer experience that is just too rare these days (sorry for the pun).
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Website: cornerbistrony.com
Phone #: 212-242-9502
Hours: 11:30am-4am Mon-Sat; 12pm-4am Sun
Happy Hour: NO
Music: Juke Box
Subway: #1/2/3 to 14th St. (S end of platform)
Walk 2 blk W. on 13th St. to 8th Ave.; 1 blk S. on 8th Ave. to Jane St.
Update:
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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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