NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/20) + 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.

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

Lyrics & Lyricists: The Bobby Darin Story (Jan.20-22)
92nd Street Y / Sun. 2, +7PM, Mon. 2, +7:30PM, $85
Listed today, but may have to try Sunday or Monday for a ticket.
“Celebrate the music of celebrated 1960s nightclub and pop entertainer Bobby Darin for three days only as two-time Tony nominee Jonathan Groff (Hamilton) and four other singers take on Darin hits including “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover” and “Mack the Knife.” Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) directs a show, scripted by new L&L leader Ted Chapin, that covers the singer’s meteoric rise and tragically early death.” (TONY)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Tower of Power
>>Al Foster Quartet
>> Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief and Mayhem
>> Ambrose Akinmusire
>> Tom Harrell
>>Malpaso Dance Company
>>Illustrated Presentation for Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Tower of Power
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill / 8PM, $60
“Formed in 1968, this skronky outfit wrote the book on horn-driven funk-rock. Just about every drummer with any proclivity toward “groove” has studied David Garibaldi’s syncopated, boppin’ intro to the band’s classic “Squib Cakes.” Five decades later, Tower of Power is still moving asses and feet with tunes like “What Is Hip” and “Back on the Streets Again.” Here the group plays two special celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary.” (TONY)

Al Foster Quartet (Jan. 19-21)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, between 105th and 106th Sts./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $38
“Those who can still picture Foster as a young eager-beaver drummer pumping galvanic rhythms behind Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins might be taken aback to realize that he is acknowledging his seventy-fifth birthday at this celebratory weekend gig. Still itching to turn up the intensity, the venerable percussionist is at the helm of a quartet that includes the saxophonist Danya Stephens and the pianist Adam Birnbaum.” (NewYorker)

Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief and Mayhem (Jan. 18-21)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St. / 7:30 9:30, $30
“Angels and demons frolic about like old pals in Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief & Mayhem, an infectiously inventive and witty quartet led by the soulful California violinist. Long the mistress of a peculiar vein of cosmopolitan Americana, Scheinman explores more combustible environs with Wilco stunt guitarist Nels Cline, the constantly surprising drummer Jim Black, and nimble bassist Todd Sickafoose — longtime associates and frequent collaborators with deep West Coast roots of their own. Scheinman, an emotionally rich font of improvisation, channels dark folk undercurrents, hot-club jazz, and anything else floating through the room. As heard on the foursome’s eponymous 2012 release, elliptic grooves and barely restrained caterwaul duke it out in tunes like “Blues for the Double Vee,” start-stop rocker “The Mite,” and ethnomusicologically playful “Ali Farka Touché.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

Ambrose Akinmusire (Jan. 16-21)
The Stone, Avenue C at 2nd St. /
“Although he could rest on his laurels as a radiantly gifted trumpeter who combines laudable technical skills with an engulfing sound, Akinmusire also has compositional and conceptual ambition to spare. His residency at this venerated spartan venue (now in the last few months at its East Village location) finds him mixing it up with such stimulating improvisers as Craig Taborn, Mary Halvorson, and David Virelles.” (NewYorker)

Malpaso Dance Company (Jan.17-21)
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $41+
“The Joyce has taken this ten-member, five-year-old Cuban contemporary dance troupe, whose name means something like misstep, under its wing, which has led to the commissioning of new works by several North American choreographers. Malpaso’s winter season includes the New York premiere of Aszure Barton’s Indomitable Waltz, to music by Alexander Balanescu, Michael Nyman, and Nils Frahm, as well as Face the Torrent, a new dance by Emmy nominee Sonya Tayeh, and a 2013 piece, Ocaso, by the troupe’s artistic director and resident choreographer, Osnel Delgado.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice)

Tom Harrell (Jan. 16-23)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Parsing the components of the trumpeter Harrell’s stylistic identity is the easy part—bebop, post-bop, Latin, and classical influences clearly run through his playing. But understanding just how this admired veteran absorbed it all and emerged with a thoroughly integrated and distinctive musical approach is more difficult. His robust quintet finds room for the saxophonist Jaleel Shaw and the pianist Danny Grissett.” (NewYorker)

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

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour.

Illustrated Presentation for Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday
The Bronx County Historical Society, 3309 Bainbridge Ave./ 2PM, FREE
“Dr. Gary Hermalyn, CEO of The Bronx County Historical Society, will celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday with an illustrated presentation about his famous work experience living in The Bronx. This free lecture will be given at the Poe Park Visitors Center, 2640 Grand Concourse. For more information, please call (718) 365-5516.

Have time after the lecture? Walk over to the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage for a guided tour.” (


PLUS “The Outsider Art Fair runs from the 19th to the 21st, focusing on odd and unique art created outside the mainstream by self-taught artists.

Also kicking off this week is the Winter Antiques Show, which will run from the 19th to the 28th. Head to the Park Avenue Armory to find one-of-a-kind finds from 70 exhibitors.” (UntappedCities)


Broadway Week began on Tuesday! Get two-for-one tickets to your favorite shows, from Chicago to Wicked

Try  a double header. “NYC Broadway Week and NYC Restaurant Week will overlap this winter, creating the perfect storm of events where you can sit down indoors. NYC Broadway Week begins first with two-for-one tickets to the best shows from January 16 through February 4. NYC Restaurant Week joins in on January 22, and it runs through February 9, offering lunches for $29 and dinner for $42.”

See TONY magazine:  Your guide to combining NYC Broadway Week and NYC Restaurant Week


Continuing Events

Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Feb. 12).

”A monument to a monument. With 133 drawings by the beyond-famous artist on loan from some 50 front-rank collections, this show is a curatorial coup and an art historical tour de force: a panoptic view of a titanic career as recorded in the most fragile of media: paper, chalk and ink. And it demands that you be fully present. Drawing is more than a graphic experience; it’s a textural one, about the pressure of crayon and pen on a page; the subliminal fade and focus of lines; the weave and shadow-creating swells of surfaces. These are effects that can’t be captured by a smartphone.” (Cotter-NYT)

The art world has been agog about this exhibition for sometime. One critic after another exclaims that it is the “Exhibition of a lifetime!” The hype has been over the top. Usually that means you’ll be disappointed when you actually experience it, because it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Not this time.

This is a huge and marvelous exhibition that shows the evolution of Michelangelo from a young artist to a mature, divine genius. An exhibition that you will remember for sometime. Even the works of other artists that are included for contrast and context are amazing.

Here are a few reviews from the critics to give you a fuller flavor of this exhibition. They strongly encourage you to make the time to see this “once in a lifetime” exhibition. I also encourage you to see it.

Only 23 days left, because the exhibition closes February 12, and that last week it will probably be crazy packed.


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.

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,, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St., 212-989-9319

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — / 212-864-6662

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — / 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.

♦ 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):

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.

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.
“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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