NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/09) + 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-January”
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:

CUBA FESTIVAL (Jan. 10-11, 8 p.m.; through Jan. 20)
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30 p.m.; $75
“Our country’s relationship with Cuba may still be in flux but the Joyce Theater’s commitment to Cuban artists remains steadfast. Starting Jan. 9, the space presents the Cuba Festival. First up is the frequent visitor Malpaso Dance Company, a skilled and earnest troupe that will present a diverse program of works by Merce Cunningham, Abel Rojo and Beatriz Garcia Diaz, plus Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s haunting “Tabula Rasa” (through Jan. 13). The festival continues with the company Los Hijos del Director (Jan. 15-16) and the feisty contemporary Flamenco dancer Irene Rodríguez and her self-named company (Jan. 18-20).” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Bill Charlap
>> Carmen
>> JEN SHYU AND JADE TONGUE
>> NOCHE FLAMENCA 
>> Marcus Roberts Trio
>> The American News Media: How It Got This Way
>> Walking Harlem: Karen Faye Taborn with Herb Boyd

Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> Winter Jazzfest
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Bill Charlap (Jan.8-13)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“Bill Charlap isn’t out to change the world with his elegant and resourceful piano playing—he’s just resolved to make it a more stylish place to live. In addition to a solo performance and an evening with his sparkling trio, this mainstream master will host a variety of impressive guests, including Houston Person, Tom Harrell, and Jon Faddis.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Carmen
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $20+ (next Jan.12, 8:30PM)
“Mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine reprises her remarkable portrayal of opera’s ultimate seductress, a triumph in her 2017 debut performances, with impassioned tenors Yonghoon Lee and Roberto Alagna as her lover, Don José. Omer Meir Wellber and Louis Langrée share conducting duties for Sir Richard Eyre’s powerful production, a Met favorite since its 2009 premiere.”

JEN SHYU AND JADE TONGUE
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $25
“A vocalist, poet and movement artist, Shyu is equally devoted to open-ended abstraction and absorptive storytelling. Here she presents “In Healing/Zero Grasses,” a new project with her longstanding group, Jade Tongue, that features a characteristically radical admixture of song, spoken poetry and outré improvisation, all aimed at healing humanity’s relationship with the natural environment. Jade Tongue includes Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mat Maneri on viola, Thomas Morgan on bass and Dan Weiss on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

NOCHE FLAMENCA  (also Jan.10,11)
at Joe’s Pub / 9:30 p.m.; $30
“To watch a flamenco show at Joe’s Pub is to harken back a century or so to the Café Cantantes in Seville, where song, dance, music and libations were enjoyed in intimate, immersive environs. Here, the New York-based Noche Flamenca presents “Rondan Los Deseos” (Circle of Desire), which was created by the troupe’s co-founders Martin Santangelo and Soledad Barrio, who are also its star performers. After a previous engagement at the Pub and an appearance on the Joyce stage last year, the work returns with new duets and trios.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)
(also Jan. 9, 9:30 p.m., Jan. 10, 8 and 10 p.m.; through Jan. 11).

Marcus Roberts Trio (Jan.8-12)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $30-$40
“This pianist started his jazz education in the hardbop era and worked backward from there, eventually expanding his skill set to include ragtime and stride. Ever a fascinating, even polarizing creator, Roberts manages to endow standards with surprise. Here he leads a fiery combo.” (TONY)

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

The American News Media: How It Got This Way
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 12PM, $29
“Everyone seems to have an opinion about what the U.S. news media does wrong or (occasionally) right.

But few understand how journalists adopted the values that have guided their coverage for decades. Journalism professor and historian Matthew Pressman shows how the upheaval of the 1960s and 70s gave birth to the kind of press we take for granted today: a press that interprets the news, challenges the powerful, caters to its audience, and adheres to a set of liberal values.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Walking Harlem: Karen Faye Taborn with Herb Boyd
New York Public Library—Mid-Manhattan Library
476 Fifth Ave. (42nd St. Entrance) / 6:30PM, FREE
“Sightseeing in the cultural capital of black America.

Walking Harlem: The Ultimate Guide to the Cultural Capital of Black America features five walking tours that allow readers to trace the musical, literary, visual art, dance and socio-political history of Harlem from the early twentieth century to the present. The book draws from hundreds of historical and out of print texts, newspapers, record liner notes, and films to distill the many achievements of African Americans in New York City. As an added bonus, recommended restaurants and eateries are included along the way for walkers to take a break and enjoy.

Karen Faye Taborn has been a Harlem resident for over thirty years; she has taught Harlem history at the New School and served as a historical consultant for the 135th Street Harlem Walk of Fame. She will be joined in conversation by Herb Boyd, Amsterdam News journalist and author of Baldwin’s Harlem.”

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Continuing Events

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 Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
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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Winter Jazzfest (Jan.4-12)
Various Locations, Individual shows $15-55; one day marathon pass $50–$60; two-day marathon pass $90–$105
“During the typically bleak post–New Year’s Eve concert lull, Winter Jazzfest is a bright spot on the city’s calendar. With shows spread across nine nights, the fest brings top jazzers to venues like Le Poisson Rouge, Nublu and, for the first time, Brooklyn Steel. The festivities end with its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon: a buzzy, multi-stage blowout that’s typically one of the best concerts in NYC. The marathon shows aren’t individually ticketed, so a wristband grants you access to any of each night’s gigs—as long as a given club doesn’t hit capacity. It’s a model that encourages sampling and venue-hopping. The event also requires patience and an open mind: If your preferred show is full, pull out the schedule, and head to one of the nearby spots for something unexpected. This year’s fest continues to stand with movements including #metoo and #blacklivesmatter in its active support of social and racial justice, gender equality and immigrant rights. (TONY)

Winter Jazzfest, the year’s largest survey of the jazz scene with over 100 acts playing from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, with its famous marathon sessions taking place both this Saturday and all next weekend. Here’s a full guide to Winter Jazzfest

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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 65 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:
(4 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)
The Stone at The New School – 55 w13 St. (btw 6/5 ave) – thestonenyc.com (8:30PM)

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)
Jazz Standard – 116 E27 St. (btw Park/Lex) – jazzstandard.com – (1st set 7:30)

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

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 surprised with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It was 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.
Cornelia Street Cafe – UG, 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319
And more recently we have lost Cornelia Street Cafe. After 41 years, it too became another victim of an unreasonable landlord’s rent increase.

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 / 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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