NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (Upper West Side)

“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:

Valentine’s Day with Dee Dee Bridgewater
at 92nd Street Y / 7:30 p.m.; $30+
“A recently minted National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, Bridgewater is one of jazz’s most beloved straight-ahead veterans of the 1970s and ’80s, with a style that’s rooted in theater; she carries forth the storytelling legacies of Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson. Her most recent album, “Memphis,” is a homage to the soul music of the city where she was born, but at this Valentine’s Day concert — joined by her typical backing trio of the pianist Carmen Staaf, the bassist Tabari Lake and the drummer Tyson Jackson — expect a more standard serving of romantic jazz fare.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Marilyn Maye: Always from the Heart
>> Tcheka
>> UPTOWN NIGHTS: Mo Beasley’s UrbanErotika
>> SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS
>> ANITA BAKER
>> Thundercat / Kamasi Washington
>> VICKY CHOW
Continuing Events 
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> Magic After Hours
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Marilyn Maye: Always from the Heart (Feb.14-17)
Iridium / 7PM, +9:30PM, $45+
“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. 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. Her Valentine’s Day set centers on love songs from the Great American Songbook.” (TONY)

Tcheka
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Part of a growing group of post-colonial Cape Verdean artists reclaiming traditional musical styles, Tcheka is building a distinctly 21st-century catalog of songs influenced by batuku and other indigenous genres, Brazilian music, Afropop, jazz, blues, and rock. With expressive vocals and dynamic guitar style, the songwriter and guitarist draws audiences into universal themes of love, loss, beauty, social justice, and what it means to be home.”

UPTOWN NIGHTS: Mo Beasley’s UrbanErotika
Harlem Stage / 7:30PM, $25
UrbanErotika is a live neo-burlesque variety show celebrating erotic love through poetry, spoken word, music, dance, and multimedia arts. “The house that Lust built, and Love saved from damnation…” will feature works that range from the soft and sensual to the bold and audacious; reflecting the full spectrum of romantic and sensual love in a healthy journey of fantasy and desire. Featuring: Regie Cabico, The SoulFolk Experience, Nemiss ChiYork, Peter ‘Rainmaker’ Seaton, Shannon Lower, Zyra Lee Vanity, Shye Poet and delicious surprises.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS
at the Knitting Factory / 8 p.m.; $18
“With a rare combination of deft, classic country sounds and plain-spoken storytelling, Shook bucks both Nashville’s mainstream and the overly self-aware Americana scene. The twist comes from Shook’s unconventionally compelling voice, which is low, steady and a little nasal, recalling Appalachian yodeling but with a grungy edge. Plentiful slide guitar and a reliance on barn-dance-ready shuffle rhythms ground the songs in tradition, and the execution is sharp enough that the band’s old-school approach is convincing, a believable transformation of country’s vintage melancholy.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

ANITA BAKER
at Radio City Music Hall / 8 p.m.; $100+
“At 61, this R&B legend concluded what was billed as her farewell tour in 2018 with a star-studded finale in September that included appearances by Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway and Kelly Rowland. Thankfully for fans, she’s back with this two-night run at Radio City. The “Giving You the Best That I Got” singer’s roster of hits may have helped define the quiet storm era, which started in the 1970s, but at recent live shows, she has sounded as vital and captivating as ever.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

VICKY CHOW (Feb.12-16)
at the Stone / 8:30 p.m.; $20
“An extraordinary new-music pianist appears in a five-concert residency, which includes a concert on Tuesday that features new works by Felipe Lara and Caroline Shaw, among others. On Wednesday Chow is joined by the composers Andy Akiho and Ian David Rosenbaum to play their pieces. And perhaps most enticingly of all, Philip Glass’s Études are spread over two nights on Thursday and Feb. 15.” (NYT-David Allen)

Thundercat / Kamasi Washington (Feb.12-17)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $30-$45
“In 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed album “To Pimp a Butterfly” flung open a portal to new jazz for audiences previously unaware of or uninterested in the genre’s offerings. But the bassist and vocalist Thundercat and the saxophonist Kamasi Washington, both of whom appeared on that record, had already long been mainstays of L.A.’s bustling modern-jazz scene and members of the influential collective West Coast Get Down. On the 2017 album “Drunk,” Thundercat injects his sharp and freewheeling musicianship with whimsical flourishes, while “Heaven and Earth,” Washington’s ambitious double release from last year, is a transcendent meditation on jazz music’s past and present. This pair of Brainfeeder labelmates—each brilliant in his own right—are leaders of a charge that is reshaping the genre and triumphantly returning it to mainstream consciousness. Thundercat embarks on a six-night, fourteen-show residency at the Blue Note on Feb. 12.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More smart stuff coming soon.

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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)


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 / Upper West Side

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que 700 W125th St. @ 12th ave.

Walk only five minutes from the 125th St. station on the #1 line to find this authentic honky-tonk barbecue joint. Some folks think Dinosaur is just a place to eat ribs. Au contraire. With 24 carefully selected taps, this is a place to drink beer, and eat ribs.

HarlHostStandNo food goes better with American craft ales than American barbecue. Dinosaur may be the best combo of good beer drinking and hearty eating in town, which makes the trip uptown to West Harlem totally worthwhile.

This second incarnation of Dinosaur in Harlem is in a two story, old brick warehouse near the Hudson River. Don’t let that run down exterior fool you. Inside it’s a large space with huge, rough wooden columns and unfinished wooden floors and brick walls – just right for a bbq joint. As soon as you open the front door you are hit with that tantalizing aroma of barbecue coming from the large open kitchen. Reminds me of those great rib joints I frequented when stationed in North Carolina all those years ago. If your stomach wasn’t grumbling before, it is now.

Head to the bar, sit down and try to decide on a beer. It’s not an easy decision – a good problem to have. This is a pretty damn good beer list to choose from, one that most beer bars should be jealous of. I love that they feature NY craft beers. You may want to try the four beer sampler, which is always fun, and in this place may be necessary.

The blues music playing in the background will get you in the mood for their North Carolina style barbecue, and even when it’s a full house your order shouldn’t take too long (assuming you snagged a table). The food is all slow smoked, so it’s already mostly done and ready to go. I always start with an order of their giant, spice rubbed wings, so good they may make you give up Buffalo wings.

Unfortunately, a place this good does not fly under the radar. There can be some long waits for a table at dinnertime. So you need a strategy – avoid prime time, and try not to arrive with your entire posse, which will limit your seating options.

A seat at the bar, a small table in the bar area, or in the summer, an outside table underneath what’s left of the elevated West Side Highway, all may open before a table inside the main dining room. Otherwise, try Dinosaur for lunch, or come very late for dinner, maybe after a show at the nearby Cotton Club nightclub.

Website: http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/
Phone #: 212-694-1777
Hours: Mo-Th 11:30am-11:00pm; Fr-Sa 11:30am-12:00am;
Su 12:00pm-10:00pm
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day; $1 off all drinks
Music: Fri / Sat 10:30pm
Subway: #1 to 125th St.
Walk 2 blk W on 125th St. to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q,
just past the elevated highway.
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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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