NYC Events, “Only the Best” (12/20) + Today’s Featured Pub (Tribeca)

“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-December”
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:

Kenny Barron Trio (Dec.18-23)
Village Vanguard / 8:30, +10:30PM, $35 (may need to try late set)
“In 2001, the pianist Kenny Barron and the violinist Regina Carter released “Freefall,” a duet recording that found these two unleashed virtuosos romping through a program of standards and open improvisation. Carter, in a less intimate but equally stimulating setting, joins Barron’s immaculately crafted trio, featuring the bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and the drummer Johnathan Blake.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> ¡VAYA! 63: Miss YaYa
>> Cynthia Erivo
>> ANDY MILNE & DAPP THEORY PLUS
>> ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
>> Winter Rhythms 2018
>> Pentatonix
>> Norm Lewis: Nutcracker Cool
Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

¡VAYA! 63: Miss YaYa
Opening set by DJ TRU TITAN
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“With her strong, resonant voice and electrifying stage presence, Grammy-nominated salsera Miss YaYa brings her high-energy mix of urban salsa, merengue, and bachata to the Atrium. The native New Yorker with Dominican and Puerto Rican roots started out on television singing competitions before being named the frontwoman of the DLG (Dark Latin Groove) salsa crew. While she still works with DLG, she has also broken out as a formidable solo artist and bandleader on the salsa scene. Join her for a perfect December night on the dance floor.”

Cynthia Erivo
Live From Lincoln Center presents Stars in Concert
Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall / 7:30,9:30, $55+
“Bursting onto the scene with her star-making performance in The Color Purple, Cynthia Erivo is swiftly approaching the haloed EGOT status. The classically trained actor—she graduated from the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art—with a powerhouse voice already has a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award under her belt, and is now seamlessly making the transition from Broadway to the big screen. During this momentous time in her career, Erivo brings her rich vocals and radical talent to The Appel Room for a soulful evening of song.”

ANDY MILNE & DAPP THEORY PLUS
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $20
“To create a rigorous, engaging suite of music singing the praises of homeopathic healing and improvisation, you need chutzpah and imagination in equal doses. A resourceful pianist with a crisp touch and a constantly shifting harmonic approach, Milne possesses plenty of both. Here he will celebrate the release of “Seasons of Being” — the latest album from his band, Dapp Theory — an ambitious and rewarding disc that was long in the making. The group will appear in an augmented, eight-piece iteration, with two vocalists adding poetry and narration.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (through Dec. 30).
at New York City Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“This troupe continues its run at City Center with its “Three Visionaries” program, opening on Friday. It spotlights dances created by the artistic directors who have presided over the company since its formation in 1958: Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison and Robert Battle. From Jamison, the artistic director emerita, are excerpts from “Divining” and “Forgotten Time.” Battle, its current artistic director, offers “Mass” and “Ella,” and from Ailey, its founder, there are the classics “Cry” and “Revelations.” Another program pick is “Timeless Ailey” (on Saturday), a presentation of rarely seen Ailey dances, including “Pas de Duke” and “The Lark Ascending.” Both are gems.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Winter Rhythms 2018 (thru Dec.22)
Urban Stages / 7PM, +9PM, $30
“The tenth annual edition of Urban Stages’s cabaret festival comprises 22 shows, including sets devoted to Johnny Mercer, Madeline Kahn, Bea Lillie, Czechoslovak soprano Jarmila Novotná and the concept of hope. The starry December 17 performance, a celebration of Britwit Noël Coward, features Jim Dale, Jim Naughton, Jeff Harnar, Edward Hibbert, Simon Jones, Sidney Myer, Marissa Mulder, KT Sullivan, Eric Comstock and Coward lionizer Barry Day.” (TONY)

Pentatonix (Dec.18-20; Dec. 22)
Beacon Theatre, Broadway at 74th St./ 8PM, $65+
“The a-cappella group Pentatonix knows all about holiday cheer. Their first Christmas project, released in 2014, remains their highest-selling album, with their festive 2016 collection not far behind. In keeping with the tradition, this year’s “Christmas Is Here” runs the gamut of classics and pop-culture favorites, including a gorgeous cover of “When You Believe,” featuring Maren Morris, and an altogether jolly (and orchestral) version of “Jingle Bells.” The Grammy-winning quintet is nothing if not keenly aware of the unique and reliable power of a cappella to channel the energy of the season.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

Norm Lewis: Nutcracker Cool (thru Dec.22)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his annual Christmas set at Feinstein’s/54 Below, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

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

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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Continuing Events

So much going on in this town over the holidays. Too many events & performances to list here. For a much fuller list, expanding every day, check out the tab above: “Holidays.”

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40

“New York City Ballet continues performances of its acclaimed 1954 production that would melt the Scroogiest of hearts. The elaborate staging includes a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a 12 feet to 41 feet and an 85-pound, nine-feet wide Mother Ginger. The ballet highlights dozens of talented and adorable children from the School of American Ballet, but the star of the show isn’t just one dancer but a bevy of Snowflakes. Their waltz — full of beauty and daring — will take your breath away. ” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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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: 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.

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

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove 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.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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A PremierPub / Tribeca

B-Flat / 277 Church St. (btw Franklin/White St)

b_flat4There are some places that are tough to find, then add a layer of mystery when you do find them. B-Flat has a nondescript, almost unmarked door at street level – today’s speakeasy vibe. Open this door and you face a dimly lit stairway down to their basement location. It almost takes a leap of faith to follow the stairs down to their interior door.
But open that door and a pleasant surprise awaits you.

It’s a basement jazz spot all right, but not like any traditional jazz joint you may have been to before. This place looks as fresh as today, probably because it’s only been open for 6 years. Even though it hasn’t had a chance to age gracefully, the cherry wood accents and low lighting make this small space very inviting.

There is always jazz, often progressive jazz, playing over their very discrete, stylish bose speakers, setting just the right tone as you find a seat at the bar, or one of the small tables. There is wine and beer available, but this place has some expert mixologists making some very creative cocktails, which I’m told change seasonally, a nice touch.

Come at happy hour and tasty cocktails like the el Diablo or the lychee martini are $8 – not bad. I am a sucker for any drink made with lychee and how can you not try a tequila drink named el Diablo. There is also nice selection of small bites available at happy hour and a food menu that is as innovative as the cocktail menu, so this does not have to be a happy hour only stop.

It wasn’t surprising to find a tasty prosciutto and arugula salad with yuzu dressing, but I did not expect to find such a good version of fried chicken breast on the apps menu. Here it’s called “Tatsuta.” Best bet is to sample happy hour, then dinner on a Monday or Wednesday night, when you can finish with no cover live jazz that starts around 8.

This place is tough to find (look for a small slate sandwich board on the sidewalk out front advertising happy hour) and on some nights when there is no live music it may be a little too quiet for some. But I think it’s worth searching out if you want a place with good music, food, and especially drinks, away from the maddening crowd.

Website: http://http://www.bflat.info/index.html
Phone #: 212-219-2970
Hours: Mo-Wed 5pm-2am; Th-Sat 5pm-3am; no Sun
Happy Hour: 5-7pm every day; $8 cocktails + special prices on apps
Music: Mon/Wed 8pm
Subway: #1 to Franklin; walk E 1 blk to Church; N 1 blk to bFlat

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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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