NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/25) + 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:  January NYC Events”
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.
To make your own after dinner plans TONIGHT, see the tab above;  “LiveMusic.”

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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Damien Rice
at The Town Hall
“Concerts, especially on this side of the Atlantic, have become increasingly rare for Damien Rice. The Irish singer-songwriter has been focusing on writing and recording new material, including while sailing around the Caribbean for a week earlier this month. After all, it’s hard not to fall when you float like a cannonball” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 4pm, +8pm., The Town Hall, 1260 6th Ave.,
INFO $49.50 to $75; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> The Cookers
>> INGRID JENSEN QUINTET
>> L-E-V
>> Kacey Musgraves
>> Ann Hampton Callaway

>> Animation First
>> New York Boat Show

Continuing Events
>>
Restaurant Week
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> Magic After Hours

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Cookers (Jan.24-27)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 6:30PM, 8:30PM, $25+
“Jazz veterans, colleagues, and kindred spirits Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, George Cables, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, and David Weiss forge a world-class union. Taking their group name from a 1965 Freddie Hubbard album, The Night of the Cookers: Live at Club La Marchal, this exciting all-star sextet summons an aggressive mid-1960s spirit. Their repertoire includes a potent collection of expansive post-bop originals, marked by the requisite killer instincts and pyrotechnic playing expected of the scene’s heaviest hitters.

Trumpeter and bandleader Weiss says of the group: “They came up at a time when this music was at its most vital and exciting and was part of something epic and historic, yet they are still going strong, playing with the same freedom, passion, and intensity that encompassed this great music.” The depth and power of their music speaks of the seasoned track record of its members, who, combined, have over 250 years of experience in the jazz world and have been a part of over 1,000 recordings.”

L-E-V (Jan.24-27)
at the Joyce Theater / 8PM, $50+
“Two years ago, L-E-V made its Joyce debut with a mesmerizing work, “OCD Love,” that called to mind a groovy, erotic, futuristic rave, which is how many of their works come across. Founded in 2013 by Sharon Eyal, a former star of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, and Gai Behar, a former producer of underground music events, the troupe returns to New York in the coming week with “Love Chapter 2,” which explores isolation and loneliness. Once again, the D.J. Ori Lichtik provides a score that shifts from manic to melancholy while L-E-V’s seductive performers dance out their demons.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

INGRID JENSEN QUINTET (Jan. 23-26)
at the Birdland Theater / 7 and 9:45 p.m.; $30
“A trumpeter who’s as versatile as she is vigorous, Jensen released a standout album last year with the tenor saxophonist Steve Treseler. Titled “Invisible Sounds,” it pays tribute to Kenny Wheeler, an influential trumpeter and composer who died in 2014. Jensen and Treseler reinterpret nine of Wheeler’s compositions, which tend to be lyrical and songlike, whether moving at a quick clip or drifting as slowly as cloud cover. Though Jensen is the nominal bandleader for the gigs on Wednesday and Jan. 24, Treseler will also be there; they’ll be joined by Christine Tobin on vocals, Gary Versace on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Jon Wikan on drums. On Jan. 25 and 26, Jensen will revisit the material from her 2003 disc, “Project O,” with the pianist Gary Versace, the bassist Richie Goods and the drummer Jon Wikan. (The tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm will sit in on Jan. 25 only.) (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Ann Hampton Callaway (Jan.23-26)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $30-$40
“Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway, one of the leading pop/jazz singers of our time, has created an exciting night of songs and stories in celebration of one of America’s most beloved artists, Linda Ronstadt!

This show celebrates the many faces of love in Ronstadt’s iconic songs from her Stone Poney Days like “Different Drum” and “Long Long Time” to pop/rock classics like “You’re No Good,” and “Desperado” to unforgettable classics from her three Nelson Riddle albums like “What’s New” and “Am I Blue,” to her iconic duets which Callaway will perform with her brilliant MD, Billy Stritch.”

Kacey Musgraves (Jan.24-26)
Beacon Theatre, Broadway at 74th St./ 8PM, $135+
“The history of music and psychedelics is as vast as it is colorful. Last year, Kacey Musgraves added a remarkable chapter with her chromatic country-pop (and Grammy-nominated) album “Golden Hour.” Only two of the songs are said to be the souvenirs of a trip, but one of them, the serenely crawling “Slow Burn,” became the record’s opening track and set the tone for what has become the singer-songwriter’s shining moment. A sense of euphoria blankets the entire project, bestowing both kiss-off ballads and breezy anthems with a Zen-like calm—breaking up has never sounded as gorgeously hopeful as it does on “Space Cowboy.” Jan. 25-26, Musgraves plays Beacon Theatre, where the lines between happy and sad (to borrow her lyric) will blur until they disappear altogether.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events

Animation First
See French animated films
“Animation First, a festival dedicated to French animation, includes features, shorts and selections from the renowned Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Be aware that some programs may contain adult content.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Friday through Sunday, Jan. 25 to 27, at French Institute Alliance Francaise, 22 E. 60th St., Manhattan
INFO Tickets $10 to $25, passes $40 to $120; fiaf.org

New York Boat Show (Jan.23-27)
Javits Center / 12PM, $16
“If your life, your love and your lady is the sea, then you’ll be more than satisfied by this five-day nautical convention, which features a vast variety of yachts, sailboats and more. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to sharpen your boating skills with interactive workshops. Little ones can build their own miniature wooden vessels at the Create-a-Boat station. And for the first time, the Icon A5 Aircraft (a sports plane with wings that fold back) makes its NY Boat Show review.” (TONY)

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Continuing Events

Restaurant Week (January 21 to February 10)
“Some of New York’s best known “deal holidays,” including NYC Restaurant Week and NYC Broadway Week, are joining forces this winter to create, wait for it… NYC Winter Outing.

From January 21 to February 10, NYC Broadway Week, NYC Restaurant Week and NYC Must-See Week will all be running simultaneously offering full nights out for drastically reduced rates. During this time, a selection of Broadway shows, museums, attractions and tours will be available at two-for-one prices and almost 400 restaurants across the city will be offering prix-fixe menus. As in previous years, that means $26 prix-fix lunches and $42, three-course dinners.

For more information on Restaurant Week, including our recommendations for the best deals to take advantage of this season, check out our NYC Restaurant Week page.” (TONY)

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)


Magic After Hours
Tannen’s Magic, Midtown West (Until Dec 31 2019)

“Twice a week, after closing time, 20 people crowd into the city’s oldest magic shop, Tannen’s, for a cozy evening of prestidigitation by the young and engaging Noah Levine. The shelves are crammed with quirky devices; there’s a file cabinet behind the counter, a mock elephant in the corner and bins of individual trick instructions in plastic covers, like comic books or sheet music. The charm of Levine’s show is in how well it fits the environment of this magic-geek chamber of secrets. As he maneuvers cards, eggs, cups and balls with aplomb, he talks shop, larding his patter with tributes to routines like the Stencel Aces and the Vernon Boat Trick—heirlooms of his trade that he gently polishes and displays for our amazement.” (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 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: 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 / 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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