NYC Events,”Only the Best” (11/21) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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-November”
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:

at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $30-$45
“This annual engagement celebrates the birthday of Dizzy Gillespie, the co-inventor of bebop and a champion of Latin jazz, who died in 1993. The All-Stars’ ever-evolving lineup now stands at nine and boasts some of today’s finest straight-ahead talent (the trumpeters Terell Stafford and Freddie Hendrix, the drummer Willie Jones III), including a few who played with Gillespie himself (the pianist Cyrus Chestnut and the bassist John Lee). This year’s proceedings may have an elegiac air: The trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a longtime member of the group, died earlier this month at 49.” (NYT -GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

OR because tomorrow is going to be too darn cold to go to the parade, try this instead:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation
American Museum of Natural History area / 1-8PM, FREE
“For nearly a century, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has brought huge crowds of people to Manhattan to celebrate the holiday and gawk at the giant balloons on display. It’s the world’s largest parade—roughly 3.5 million people are expected to attend this year’s parade, and other 50 million folks will watch the event on their TV sets.

But if you want to check out the giant balloons in all their glory without cutting into your Thanksgiving festivities, head to the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday. From 1pm to 8pm, the balloons will be inflated for any and all to see. The crowds can get pretty dense at the pre-Thanksgiving ritual, but it’s pretty captivating to watch SpongeBob turn from a flattened piece of polyurethane into a larger-than-life structure.” (TONY)

“The balloons slowly take shape outside of the American Museum of Natural History starting at 1 p.m., but there’s a special route: You enter West 73rd Street at Columbus Avenue and walk to Central Park West and head north to West 77th Street and walk around the museum on West 77th, Columbus and West 81st, finally exiting at West 81st and Central Park West.” (Gothamist)

6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
>> Carol Sloane
>> Jason Moran and the Bandwagon
>> Maria Schneider Orchestra
>> Marilyn Maye Gives Thanks
Continuing Events
>> Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
Birdland / 5:30PM, $30
“Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. Legendary record producer George Avakian describes the band in this way:

“There has never been a band quite like this one. Most groups, past and present, stick to one style. Some current groups attempt to recreate early recordings in their entirety. These guys do neither. Inspired by divergent bands of the 1920s and 30s, you’ll hear them swing a variety of styles in music by a wide range of composers, always true to the joy and heart of the music.”

Now in its 17th year of residency at Birdland, the weekly post-workday engagement is the city’s best musical bargain! Tuba player David Ostwald leads a rotating lineup that features talents such as clarinetist Anat Cohen, trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon, pianist Ehud Asherie, drummer Marion Felder and more!”

Jason Moran and the Bandwagon (Nov.20-25)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St. / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“The bandleader and composer James Reese Europe is as important as he is unsung. In 1912, he organized the first concert at Carnegie Hall to feature African-American composers exclusively. His death, in 1919, at the hands of a disgruntled bandmate, was followed by a quick slide into regrettable posthumous obscurity. The simultaneously adventurous and historically aware pianist Jason Moran, fronting his avidly attuned trio, addresses Europe’s legacy.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Carol Sloane (Nov. 21-24.)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 7PM, $30
“There was once a time when you couldn’t stroll from Greenwich Village to the Upper East Side without stumbling upon a trove of terrific singers, ever ready to polish American-songbook chestnuts and jazz standards into dazzling gems. The vocalist Carol Sloane was among this honored bunch, and now, hale and welcoming with a program promisingly titled “Still Autumn in New York,” she proudly carries on the tradition.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Maria Schneider Orchestra (Nov.20-21; Nov.23-25)
Jazz Standard,116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40 – looks like a tough ticket, may need to try the secondary market.
“Maria Schneider has a handsome collection of Grammys, and the accolades are well deserved: This protégée of the late bandleading/arranging genius Gil Evans fronts the most polished modern jazz orchestra on the planet, a vehicle for her lush, intricate and refreshingly accessible works. Catch her at this annual Thanksgiving engagement.” (TONY)

TWYLA THARP DANCE  (thru Dec.09)
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM; $60+
“Tharp takes inspiration from just about anything fit for a stage — from ballet to the circus to baton twirling — so she can sometimes feel like a stylistic maximalist. But early in her career, she caught the minimalism bug sweeping through the arts at the time. This nearly four-week engagement, called “Minimalism and Me,” focuses on works she created between 1965 and 1971. Among them are the now-classic “Tank Dive,” “The History of Up and Down” and “Eight Jelly Rolls,” a richly layered romp to music by the ragtime master Jelly Roll Morton.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Marilyn Maye Gives Thanks (Nov.19-24)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $70+
“Maye’s stellar past includes a string of classy RCA albums in the ’60s and a nearly unequaled number of Tonight Show appearances, but this husky-voiced, earthy belter has never sounded better than she does now. In her latest engagement at F/54, the newly nonagenarian singer shares Great American Songbook favorites, including a medley from My Fair Lady and a smattering of holiday songs. Beyond her remarkable energy and musical acuity, the astonishing Maye has a bone-deep comfort that imbues familiar songs with fresh simplicity, truthfulness and power.” (TONY)


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

More Smart Stuff coming soon.


Continuing Events

Harry Potter: A History of Magic (Now-1/27/19)
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park W.
“Gather round ye muggles and wizards, squibs and witches, tourists and natives: magic is on its way. Harry Potter: A History of Magic, commemorating the beloved series’s 20th anniversary, is now open at the New-York Historical Society. One of the most eagerly anticipated exhibits to hit the city since, well, ever, the show comes straight from the British Library in London, where, not surprisingly, it was the institution’s most successful exhibition.

Artifacts like crystal balls, Leonardo da Vinci notebooks, and the first written record of the magic word “abracadabra” are among the treasures on display, joined by original materials from author J.K. Rowling’s archives. Also on view to the public for the first time will be Mary GrandPré’s illustrations created for Scholastic’s original editions of the novels. Costumes and set models from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened on Broadway in April, will be showcased in the exhibition. A long list of events will take place in conjunction with the exhibit, including trivia night, talks, an adult costume party, and more.” (cityguideny)
Daily, except most Mondays, $21, $6 ages 5-13, free 4 and younger

♦ 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.


Bonus NYC Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St.,, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St.,, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474
and one more, not quite WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.,

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 discovery and enjoyment.

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.

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):


Chelsea Art Gallery District*

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art.

Here is one exhibition the New Yorker likes:

For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide ( Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better to plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm). OR try this NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 11/19 and 11/17.

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