NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/31) + 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-April”
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:

Scott Wendholt and Adam Kolker
Smalls, 183 W. 10th St./ 7:30PM, $20
“A snarling bass-and-drum team is all this lean and feisty foursome needs to offset the authority of its front-line horns, the trumpeter Wendholt and the saxophonist Kolker. The joined-at-the-hip rhythm section of Victor Lewis, on drums, and Ugonna Okegwo, on bass, provides the horsepower.” (NewYorker)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> ANDREW CYRILLE QUARTET
>> Così fan tutte
>> TIA FULLER
>> The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
>> STREB EXTREME ACTION
>>Bugapalooza 2018
Continuing Events
>> New Directors/New Films
>> New York International Auto Show
>>Macy’s Flower Show
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

ANDREW CYRILLE QUARTET (March 27-April 1)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $35
“An experimental drummer who can easily balance propulsion and sensitivity, Mr. Cyrille began his career in the 1960s, when he apprenticed with Philly Joe Jones and recorded with the big-band-era eminence Coleman Hawkins. Then he embarked on a 10-year stint with Cecil Taylor, a pioneer of free jazz, establishing himself as a protagonist on the avant-garde. Now 78, Mr. Cyrille has never lost his omnivorous musical appetite; his work ranges from free improvisations to smoldering small-group jazz to a collaboration with Haitian musicians. He performs here with the personnel from his entrancing 2016 release, “The Declaration of Musical Independence”: Bill Frisell on guitar, Richard Teitelbaum on synthesizers and piano, and Ben Street on bass.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Così fan tutte (Mar 15 – Apr 19)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $
“A winning cast comes together for Phelim McDermott’s clever vision of Mozart’s comedy about the sexes, set in a carnival-esque, funhouse environment inspired by 1950s Coney Island—complete with bearded ladies, fire eaters, and a Ferris wheel. Manipulating the action are the Don Alfonso of Christopher Maltman and the Despina of Tony Award–winner Kelli O’Hara, with Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss, and Adam Plachetka as the pairs of young lovers who test each other’s faithfulness. David Robertson conducts.”

TIA FULLER (March 30-April 1)
at Smoke / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $38
“Scalding and propulsive, Ms. Fuller always seems to be testing the limits of her own power — as if seeing if she can single-handedly overload your ear’s switchboard. It’s not every alto saxophonist’s way, but with Ms. Fuller’s blend of impeccable straight-ahead-jazz chops and gospelly inflections, it’s engrossing. Later this spring, she will release “Diamond Cut,” her first album in six years. She plays this weekend with the pianist Shamie Royston, the bassist Mimi Jones and the drummer Tyson Jackson.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s 25th Anniversary Celebration (Mar.28-April 1)
Dizzy’s Club, Broadway at 60th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“All-female big bands are nothing new—the International Sweethearts of Rhythm were swinging for all they were worth back in the forties—but they’ve been few and far between. DIVA, under the intrepid direction of the drummer Sherrie Maricle, has nurtured outstanding women jazz musicians for a quarter century now, proving that novelty has nothing to do with this crack ensemble’s success. The band couldn’t have picked a better social moment to celebrate its longevity.” (NewYorker)

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

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 (until April 8, Friday-Sunday 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)

It is April Fool’s eve, but this is not an April Fools event. Believe it or not.

Bugapalooza 2018
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! / 8pm; $29–$69
“Though 80% of the world regularly eats insects, it seems the rest of us are still holding on to our classic carnivore habits. Dig deep into the delicious, protein-packed world of bug cuisine at this fest for the daring, featuring expert dishes from Brooklyn Bugs’ Chef Joseph Yoon. After trying chapulines popcorn and grilled cheese with cricket bites, you’ll likely have a new eating obsession.” (TONY)

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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  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – 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 Directors/New Films (March 28 through April 8.)
Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA, / various times, $12-$17
“Delightfully eccentric.
In its 47th year, ND/NF opens with a portrait of freewheeling rapper M.I.A., Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., drawing on videos she made herself, and features Portuguese director Pedro Pinho’s three-hour The Nothing Factory — an epic portrait of an elevator-factory strike with musical numbers.” (D.E., NYMagazine)

Love this festival. After the film screens, the Q&A with the directors and cast (sometimes) is always fascinating. Who knows, you may discover the next Pedro Almodovar – we did.

New York International Auto Show (3/30-4/8)
“The 2018 New York International Auto Show is home to an awe-inspiring display of technology and design, as 1,000 new cars and trucks are arrayed across the acreage of the Javits Convention Center. You can check out all the latest models from a hands-on, driver’s seat vantage. The show also features the hottest exotics, joined by futuristic concept cars and a few shiny classics. Some 60 world and North American debuts can be found at this year’s show! You’ll even leave with a gift bag or two.” (cityguideny)
WHEN | WHERE Friday, March 30, through April 8 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, 655 W. 34th St.
INFO $17, $7 ages 12 and younger, free 2 and younger, autoshowny.com

Visit the Macy’s Flower Show
“It’s a floral fairy tale at Macy’s for the store’s annual spring flower show, “Once Upon a Springtime.” Flowers, plants and trees take over windows and countertops, are featured in gardens and on bridges on multiple floors. Events range from a family fun day and breakfast with the Easter bunny to a sip-and-paint class and a men’s grooming and beer tasting.”
WHEN | WHERE Sunday, March 25, through April 8 at Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W. 34th St.
INFO Free (events range up to $24), 212-494-4495, macys.com/social/flower-show/new-york  (Newsday)

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Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

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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” finally closed, now it’s “Mean Girls.”)

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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