NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/08) + 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:  February 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:

The New York Pops: Unforgettable—Celebrating Nat King Cole and Friends
Carnegie Hall, Perelman Stage / 8PM, $20+
The Pops snap and crackle through a concert that celebrates the centennary of the smooth-singing Nat King Cole, joined by Broadway ingenue Nikki Renée Daniels (The Book of Mormon) and Grammy-nominated soul singer Ryan Shaw. Among the Cole-powered hits to be performed are “When I Fall In Love,” “Embraceable You,” “Smile,” and “Unforgettable”. (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Victor Wooten
>>Charles Busch: Native New Yorker
>>
The New Drum Battle
>>One-Time-Only Program – George Balanchine works:
>>Carmen
>> Freddy Cole Quintet: Songs for Lovers
>> The Changing Face of Opera: From Mozart to Wagner

Continuing Events
>> Restaurant Week
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> Magic After Hours
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Victor Wooten (Feb.8-9)
Iridium / 8PM, +10PM, $58+
“Best known as the longtime bassist of Bela Fleck’s Flecktones, Wooten’s turned up in various capacities in the city the past several years, including alongside Chick Corea for the keyboard pioneer’s 75th birthday celebration. No telling whether he’s helming his own funky ensemble here or blowing through fiery solo improvisations, but you can certainly expect to be awed.” (TONY)

Charles Busch: Native New Yorker
54 Below / 7PM, $35+
“Ever since 1984’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Charles Busch has been working toward the title of First Lady of the American Stage, delivering hilariously nuanced portraits of defiant yet vulnerable women, in the style of the great film stars of the 1940s. In his return to Feinstein’s/54 Below, he sets drag aside to continue his side career as a cabaret chanteur. This latest collection is devoted to pop and Broadway music from his formative professional years, including songs by the Jim Croce, Rupert Holmes, Michel Legrand and Stephen Sondheim.” (TONY)

The New Drum Battle (Feb. 8-9.)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, (btw105/106 St.) /
“Drum battles aren’t occasions for making nice; little blood is shed, but there’s always plenty of sweat and possibly even tears left on the bandstand. Kenny Washington and Joe Farnsworth, the two combatants at this now annual event, have the hard-bop ethos of competitive respect deep in their bones. The esteemed pianist Harold Mabern, a veteran player who has presumably experienced similar gladiatorial matches in his time, is in the accompanying ensemble.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (thru March 3)
One-Time-Only Program – George Balanchine works:
Agon / Orpheus / N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“This special one-time-only program brings together three of the winter repertory’s heavy-hitters: the quintessential contemporary ballet Agon and the highly-stylized narrative Orpheus, two of Stravinsky and Balanchine’s “Greek” collaborations, along with Jerome Robbins’ epic sneaker ballet N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, a breathless reflection on the fleeing joys of youth.”

Carmen
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $20+ (LAST CHANCE)
“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.”

Freddy Cole Quintet: Songs for Lovers (Feb.7-10)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $25-$45
“Freddy has an impeccable sense of swing… the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.” – The New York Times

“Whatever the accompaniment, Cole extracts the maximum from each tune asserting his stature as our greatest living jazz singer.” – DownBeat

Referred to as a “national treasure” by the Huffington Post, jazz pianist and singer Freddy Cole is a prolific artist of undisputed pedigree. Building his career at the same time as his brother, the iconic Nat “King” Cole, it was never going to be easy for Cole to establish his own musical identity. However, with 20 albums released in just the last 25 years, three of which were nominated for Grammy Awards, Cole has carved out a reputation as an individual and prolific force in the jazz world. Amongst the greatest contemporary crooners, Cole’s sensitivity and effortlessly powerful delivery make him an enduring favorite in our most intimate venue and a perfect artist to enjoy this Valentine’s Day week.

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

The Changing Face of Opera: From Mozart to Wagner
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 12PM, $29”
“Music scholar and author Dr. Jeffrey Langford brings his extensive research and unique perspective on the stylistic development of opera.

He traces some of the most important changes in the world of serious (as opposed to comic) opera over the hundred years from approximately 1775 (when Mozart started writing serious opera) to about 1875 (when Wagner’s Ring Cycle was completed). Examine not only changes of musical style and changes in singing, but also the underlying development of operatic philosophy that led to a continuous re-evaluation of what it meant to combine drama with music.”

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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 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 rent increase.

 

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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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