NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/13) + 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, check the tab above: NYC Events-JULY”
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:

Roni Ben-Hur Quartet with special guest Joyce Moreno (Jul 13-15)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center/ 7:30 pm 9:30pm, $30 – $45
“Roni Ben-Hur, is a formidable guitarist and with deep musical roots both in jazz and in the music of Brazil. For this performance, he is bringing a group of musicians from Brazil to pay tribute to some of the country’s beloved composers. “Expect uplifting sambas, sensual bossa novas, and much more—all infused with a New York jazz spice,” he explains. “I am especially excited about our special guest, legendary songstress Joyce Moreno. A true master of this music, Joyce has been on the vanguard of the evolution of Brazilian music and has charmed people around the world for many decades. I feel very fortunate to share the stage with her, and it will be a memorable experience to everyone in the room to hear her.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Sonny Fortune
>> On Kentucky Avenue
>> Django Reinhardt NY Festival:
>> Batsheva — The Young Ensemble
>> Cassandra Wilson
>> Houdini Weekend
>> FRED AND GINGER
Continuing Events
>> French Restaurant Week
>>
World Cup viewing parties
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Sonny Fortune (July 13-15)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, btw105th/106th Sts./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $38
“Fortune may be best known as a participant on two of Miles Davis’s hairiest recordings of the seventies: “Agharta” and “Pangaea,” on which the saxophonist gamely found his own space within the congested sonic terrain of guitars and percussion. The air has cleared for him since then; this enduring player leads a straight-ahead quartet featuring the pianist Michael Cochrane.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

On Kentucky Avenue (also 7 dates thru July 28)
Aaron Davis Hall (at City College)/ 7PM, $25
“Ty Stephen, N’Kenge and Andricka Hall head the cast of this musical revue by Stephens and Adam Wade, inspired by the history of Atlantic City’s Club Harlem.” (TONY)

Django Reinhardt NY Festival: Django Allstars w Romero Lubambo, Edmar Castaneda and Veronica Swift (July 10-14)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $50
“After a fabulous concert at Carnegie Hall, May 1st, titled FOREVER DJANGO “Passing the Family Torch”, The Django Festival Allstars hit the road again with a cross-country tour starting at their US home, Birdland, where it all started led by Samson Schmitt on Guitar It’s the Django Reinhardt Festival’s 19thyear and going strong.”

Batsheva — The Young Ensemble  (July10-22)
Joyce Theater, 7:30PM, $10+
“Straight from a run at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts comes Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, the junior offshoot of Tel Aviv’s leading troupe Batsheva. The outfit brings with them Naharin’s Virus, a Bessie Award–winning piece by Ohad Naharin, who recently announced that he’s stepping down as the company’s director but will continue to choreograph. Adapted from Peter Handke’s play Offending the Audience, the deeply ambiguous work, which had its U.S. premiere in 2002, includes sections of Handke’s text, a huge blackboard at the back of the stage, and other deeply theatrical strategies.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

Cassandra Wilson (July 12-15.)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $45-$65
“There may be other promising vocal talents nipping at her toes (Cecile McLorin Salvant, anyone?), but Wilson’s primacy as today’s female jazz singer par excellence remains a given. Wilson, who revelled in daring eclecticism before it became de rigueur, melds personality and chops with thrilling audacity. Don’t expect her to drift into the right lane anytime soon—recent projects have found her examining the Irish side of her ancestry.”
(Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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

Houdini Weekend / Summer of Magic (July 13–July 15)
New-York Historical Society / 7-9PM, FREE with Pay -as-you-wish Friday night
“NYHS kicks off its Summer of Magic with a weekend-long celebration of the world’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini. Watch the Great Dubini swallow needles, see an escape artist free himself from a straitjacket, and be wowed by illusionists performing the oldest tricks in the book (literally).” (whatshouldwedo.com)

FRED AND GINGER
at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (July 13-15).
“The Film Society of Lincoln Center hosts a welcome retrospective celebrating the partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It’s a chronological journey — and, sadly, over in a flash — beginning with their first collaboration, the 1933 film “Flying Down to Rio,” in which the pair were cast in supporting roles. (The star was Dolores del Rio, but their carioca stole the show.) The following year, they made “The Gay Divorcee,” which cemented their artistic partnership and led to delights like “Swing Time,” “Shall We Dance” and their crowning glory “Top Hat.”

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Continuing Events

French Restaurant Week (July 02-15)
Various locations // $17.89-$178.90
“Mais oui, it’s the start of French Restaurant Week. Indulge in some of the city’s finest French bistros and brasseries offering prix fixe specials. Participating restaurants include La Sirene, Fig and Olive, and Bistrot Leo. French Restaurant Week actually runs longer than a week, ending on Bastille Day weekend, July 15th.” (Gothamist)

World Cup viewing parties (starting June 14 – thru July 15)
Championship Match Sunday July 15:
   France vs Croatia 11AM
Don’t miss the World Cup, which only comes every four years. Many bars and restaurants will be screening the games and offering food and drink specials across the city. Here are the best lists of where you can find them::
NYT – where to watch the World Cup in New York City.
Soccer Republic – best bars to watch the World Cup in NYC.
Thrillist – World Cup bars NYC
Remeczcla – the 10 Best Venues to Watch the World Cup in NYC
Metro – NYC’s best soccer bars to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018
NYCGO – Ways to Watch the World Cup in New York City
Daily News – The best bars in NYC to watch your favorite team

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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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Bonus NYC events– Jazz Clubs:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. My favorite Jazz Clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide, feature top talent every night of the week.
Hit the Hot Link and 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.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

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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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