NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/03) + 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-March”
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:

Africa Now!
Apollo Theater / 8PM, $25+
“South African DJ and house producer Black Coffee, the most popular noise in African electronic music, headlines the Apollo’s sixth annual “Africa Now!” festival, coproduced with the World Music Institute. Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, Coffee wraps suave Afropolitan rhythms and smooth keyboards around sensuous vocals. His music sounds nostalgic compared to that of the Congolese-Canadian Pierre Kwenders, who threw down an Afrofuturist gauntlet last year with his dazzlingly inventive MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time, an intoxicating clafoutis of angelic voices, time-warp percussion, and sinuously sly Congolese guitar. It will be man against machine when Nigerian drum legend and Afrobeat co-creator Tony Allen sets his flowing Afrobeat polyrhythms against Detroit producer Jeff Mills’s Roland TR-909 drum machine for their first American face-off. The Nigerian-Romani singer Ayo brings her eclectic acoustic articulations as well.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Madama Butterfly
>> Ben Wendel Seasons Band
>> Charles McPherson
>> Company Wayne McGregor 
>>DESMOND CHILD
>> BALLET NACIONAL DE ESPAÑA

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Madama Butterfly
The Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $25+
“Anthony Minghella’s stunning production of Puccini’s heartbreaking opera, an instant Met classic since its 2006 premiere, returns with Hui He and Ermonela Jaho in the tragic title role of the trusting geisha. Roberto Aronica and Luis Chapa alternate as her callous American lover, Pinkerton, and Jader Bignamini and Marco Armiliato conduct.”

Ben Wendel Seasons Band (Feb. 27-March 4)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30, 10:30PM
“Programmatic yet inspired, Wendel’s Seasons outfit originally began as a series of online video duets that sprang from piano pieces by Tchaikovsky. Here, the saxophonist-bassoonist leader (and member of the popular band Kneebody) brings together three duet partners to give ample voice to the music: the pianist Aaron Parks, the bassist Matt Brewer, and the drummer Eric Harland.” (NewYorker)

Company Wayne McGregor (Feb.27-Mar.3)
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $46-$71
“Algorithm meets rhythm in Autobiography, the latest smash hit from Brit Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer at London’s Royal Ballet. He’s treating his body as an archive, developing choreographic portraits based on the sequencing of his own genome; every performance is different, but they all feature ten dancers, sets and projections by Ben Cullen Williams, and an original electronic score by Jlin. Lucy Carder designs the lights, Aitor Throup the costumes, and Uzma Hameed puzzles out the dramaturgy; the piece is “an abstract meditation on aspects of self, life, and writing.” The Saturday matinee performance is “Pay What You Decide”: Make a reservation for a dollar, and then figure out what it’s worth to you after you see it.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

Charles McPherson (March 1-4)
Dizzy’s Club, Broadway at 60th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“Finding a saxophonist versed in the language of bebop may not provide much in the way of revelatory thrills, but witnessing an authentic master of the art, like the altoist McPherson, can still elicit a genuine spinal chill. McPherson came of age in Charles Mingus’s ensembles of the early sixties; these days, he fronts a rough-and-ready quintet with the guitarist Yotam Silberstein and the pianist Jeb Patton.” (NewYorker)

DESMOND CHILD (March 1-3)
at Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
“Whether you view Desmond Child as a genius or something less kind depends on your subjective opinion of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” all of which he co-wrote. What’s indisputable is that Mr. Child is one of the most successful songwriters of the past 30 years. These are his first concerts in many years, and they should be a treat for pop scholars and karaoke fans alike.” (NYT-SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON)

BALLET NACIONAL DE ESPAÑA
at New York City Center (March 2-3, 8 p.m.; March 4, 7 p.m.).
“The flamboyant Ballet Nacional de España returns to Midtown for the first time in nearly two decades to open this year’s Flamenco Festival at New York City Center. The large troupe showcases a variety of Spanish dance styles, from bolero to samplings of regional dances to, of course, flamenco. In “Suite Sevilla,” the company director Antonio Najarro also sprinkles in some ballet and contemporary dance, along with the expected fans, castanets and ruffled skirts. The festival continues the following week with Compañía Eva Yerbabuena and Ballet Flamenco Jesús Carmona.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)

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

More smart stuff coming tomorrow.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus 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 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.
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Continuing Events

New York City Beer Week – LAST DAY
“For eight crazy nights starting February 24, NYC Beer Week taps into the city with hundreds of events: parties, tastings, plenty of grub, the first-ever Fermentation Festival (gotta get those probiotics) and a closing awards gala that’ll honor the best suds in town. If last year’s fest was any indication of what’s to come—400 events took place over 10 days, and acclaimed composers George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein performed live—you’re in for quite the boozy treat.” (TONY)

This is not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is Brooklyn’s WestSide. If you have never seen these crazy, fearless performers, they are well worth the detour:

STREB EXTREME ACTION (March 2-25 at various times)
at SLAM, 51 N 1st St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“Elizabeth Streb’s cavernous Brooklyn space is known as SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics), which is also a frequent move that occurs at one of her shows. For the month of March, her fearless team of action heroes, as they’re called, will navigate intimidating industrial contraptions and fling themselves from unnatural heights, seemingly defying physics with the pep of cheerleaders. The hourlong show, “S.E.A.” (“Singular Extreme Actions”), encapsulates all the thrill, humor and energizing fun that makes this company so singular.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)

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 are underground, classic jazz joints. all 6 are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – UG, 178 7th Ave. So., villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037 (1st 8:30)
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592 (1st set 8pm)
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883 (1st 7pm)
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346 (1st 8)
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346 (1st set 7:30pm)
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319 (6pm)

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595 (1st set 7:30pm)
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080 (1st 8:30pm)
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com/ 212-864-6662 (7pm)

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538 (1st 7pm)
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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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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