NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/06) + Today’s Featured Pub (Upper West Side)

“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-January”
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.
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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

A CONCERT FOR ISLAND RELIEF
at Radio City Music Hall / 7PM, $125+
“As the Caribbean region continues its recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, musicians are stepping up their relief efforts. A solo set by Dave Matthews and a performance by the Trey Anastasio Band — two modern jam-band masters, appearing without their usual troupes — are the main attractions at this all-star benefit concert for Puerto Rico and the United States and British Virgin Islands. But the most meaningful performance may come from Hurray for the Riff Raff, the band led by the Bronx-raised singer-songwriter Alynda Segarra, whose recent album, “The Navigator,” is a complex expression of Puerto Rican realness.”

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Amir Vahab | Celebrate Epiphany with Sufi Songs of Love
>> 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits!
>>Shanghai Dance Theatre – Soaring Wings
>>Tosca
>>Orrin Evans
>> Chelsea Art Gallery Tour
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Amir Vahab | Celebrate Epiphany with Sufi Songs of Love (Rumi and Hafiz)
Church of St. Edward the Martyr, 14 E. 109th St./ 7PM, $20
“Lend your ears to Amir Vahab as he leads his ensemble in Sufi-inspired Persian poetry and music at a Rumi Night concert-talk to celebrate the Feast of the Magi.

The repertoire of Amir Vahab and his ensemble is grounded in traditional Persian poetry and music, long known for its power to transport the listener to spiritual states through melody, improvisation, rhythm and meter — particularly that which has issued from Sufism, a spiritual stage that exists in all authentic religions.“ (ThoughtGallery.org)

54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits!
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 9:30PM, $35
“Broadway by the Year impresario Scott Siegel curates this monthly concert series, in which Broadway stars sing some of the Great White Way’s best-loved tunes. Performers at the November edition include Christina Bianco, Oakley Boycott and Brian Charles Rooney.” (TONY)

Shanghai Dance Theatre – Soaring Wings ((Jan.05-07)
NYS / DHK Theater / 8PM, $22+
“Environmental protection meets exquisite Chinese dance in Soaring Wings, a new dance drama about the crested ibis, viewed in China as “the bird of good fortune.” The Shanghai Dance Theatre makes its New York debut in this opulently costumed piece directed and choreographed by Tong Ruirui, to traditional Chinese music composed by Guo Sida. The work, which dramatizes the interdependence between people and nature, was written by Luo Huaizhen after Chinese scientists discovered the birds in the wild and doubled down in efforts to protect them.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, Vilage Voice)

Orrin Evans (thru Jan.06)
Jazz Standard / 7:30PM, 9:30PM, $30
“Multifaceted keyboardist-composer Orrin Evans joins jazz-pop trio the Bad Plus this year and performs in just about every other configuration known to jazz. Expect smart, hard-swinging, and emotionally nuanced arrangements when the Philadelphian cranks up his Captain Black Big Band, a six-horn nonet plus two singers, for a relatively rare appearance Tuesday–Wednesday. The group’s most recent album, 2014’s Mother’s Touch, includes an oblique reimagining of Wayne Shorter’s “Water Babies” alongside gospel-tinged originals and a resistance-resounding “Prayer for Columbine.” Evans downsizes Thursday and Friday with a foolproof sextet consisting of JD Allen (tenor sax), Bill McHenry (tenor sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), James Genus (bass), and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. The leader plays piano in gusts of ideas, blending head and heart while exploring subtleties of difference and repetition.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

Tosca (Dec 31 – May 12; next Jan.09, 7:30pm)
The Metropolitan Opera / 8PM, $
“Rivaling the splendor of Franco Zeffirelli’s set and costumes of the Napoleonic era, Sir David McVicar’s ravishing new production offers a splendid backdrop for two extraordinary sopranos sharing the title role of the jealous prima donna: Sonya Yoncheva and Anna Netrebko. Vittorio Grigolo and Marcelo Álvarez alternate in the role of Tosca’s revolutionary artist lover Cavaradossi, with Bryn Terfel, Michael Volle, and Željko Lučić as the depraved police chief Scarpia. Andris Nelsons conducts.”

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

Chelsea Art Gallery Tour
New York Gallery Tours / 1PM, 3:45PM $25
Meet at 526 W. 26th St. between 10th & 11th Ave.
“Take a fascinating gallery tour of Chelsea – the world’s center for contemporary art – and see the very latest in painting, sculpture, electronic media & photography. Our guide, who holds a Ph.D. in arts education, helps explain the artwork and leads the group in lively discussion. The tour takes place Sat. Jan. 6 at 1:00 PM & 3:45 PM. These two tours will be identical in every way: the same guide and the same exhibits, so choose whichever start time best fits your schedule. It will take place no matter the temperature or weather, as the art is all indoors.
SPECIAL OFFER: visit http://www.nygallerytours.com to request a DISCOUNT ticket link for $8-off admission! “

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Let there be light!
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 (UG), 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 2017.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats in advance at these top NYC events, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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A PremierPub / Upper West Side

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que 700 W125th St. @ 12th ave.

Walk only five minutes from the 125th St. station on the #1 line to find this authentic honky-tonk barbecue joint. Some folks think Dinosaur is just a place to eat ribs. Au contraire. With 24 carefully selected taps, this is a place to drink beer, and eat ribs.

HarlHostStandNo food goes better with American craft ales than American barbecue. Dinosaur may be the best combo of good beer drinking and hearty eating in town, which makes the trip uptown to West Harlem totally worthwhile.

This second incarnation of Dinosaur in Harlem is in a two story, old brick warehouse near the Hudson River. Don’t let that run down exterior fool you. Inside it’s a large space with huge, rough wooden columns and unfinished wooden floors and brick walls – just right for a bbq joint. As soon as you open the front door you are hit with that tantalizing aroma of barbecue coming from the large open kitchen. Reminds me of those great rib joints I frequented when stationed in North Carolina all those years ago. If your stomach wasn’t grumbling before, it is now.

Head to the bar, sit down and try to decide on a beer. It’s not an easy decision – a good problem to have. This is a pretty damn good beer list to choose from, one that most beer bars should be jealous of. I love that they feature NY craft beers. You may want to try the four beer sampler, which is always fun, and in this place may be necessary.

The blues music playing in the background will get you in the mood for their North Carolina style barbecue, and even when it’s a full house your order shouldn’t take too long (assuming you snagged a table). The food is all slow smoked, so it’s already mostly done and ready to go. I always start with an order of their giant, spice rubbed wings, so good they may make you give up Buffalo wings.

Unfortunately, a place this good does not fly under the radar. There can be some long waits for a table at dinnertime. So you need a strategy – avoid prime time, and try not to arrive with your entire posse, which will limit your seating options.

A seat at the bar, a small table in the bar area, or in the summer, an outside table underneath what’s left of the elevated West Side Highway, all may open before a table inside the main dining room. Otherwise, try Dinosaur for lunch, or come very late for dinner, maybe after a show at the nearby Cotton Club nightclub.

Website: http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/
Phone #: 212-694-1777
Hours: Mo-Th 11:30am-11:00pm; Fr-Sa 11:30am-12:00am;
Su 12:00pm-10:00pm
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day; $1 off all drinks
Music: Fri / Sat 10:30pm
Subway: #1 to 125th St.
Walk 2 blk W on 125th St. to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q,
just past the elevated highway.
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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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