NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/15) + 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:  “May 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.
OR 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:

Gordon Lightfoot
80 Years Strong Tour
the Town Hall / 8:00pm; $39+
“Celebrating his 80th birthday, this year is special for the legendary artist, who has announced plans for a cross-country USA tour entitled “GORDON LIGHTFOOT: 80 YEARS STRONG TOUR”. The tour will feature his well-known hits as well as some deep album cuts for the die-hard fanatics. All of which are woven together with some of Lightfoot’s own behind the scenes stories and personal anecdotes about his historic 50-plus-years musical career and his 80 years of life. The event is sure to be a great thrill for live audiences and anyone who enjoys hearing great music and seeing a living legend in person.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>
Parsons Dance Company
>> Michael Feinstein: Great American Crooners
>> Ryan Shaw – Imagining Marvin
>> NEW YORK CITY BALLET
>> NICOLE MITCHELL
>> Ben Wendel

>> Bill Charlap Trio
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Parsons Dance Company (May14-26)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 7:30PM, $55+
“David Parsons got his start in Paul Taylor’s company. Now the acolyte honors his mentor, who died last year, by presenting “Runes,” a powerfully strange ritual that Taylor made in 1975 and which later served as a breakout piece for Parsons. Also on the program is the New York première of “Eight Women,” by Trey McIntyre, set to songs by Aretha Franklin, who died the same month as Taylor. McIntyre has a strong track record making dances to pop music. Here, some of the women are played by men.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

Michael Feinstein: Great American Crooners (May 15-16)
The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7PM, $80+
“The Jazz & Popular Song series continues its ninth consecutive season with a celebration of great American crooners. Michael Feinstein, known as the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” returns as director, host, performer, and all-around entertainer in this favorite concert series. With effortless charm, the Tedd Firth Big Band, and special guest vocalists Milton Suggs and Nick Ziobro, Feinstein sets a glamorous scene in The Appel Room and shines new light on America’s most beloved artists. Tonight’s performance focuses on quintessential crooners Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Bobby Darin, whose velvety voices and sentimental serenades made them superstars on stage and on screen. Relive classics like “Hello Young Lovers,” “When I Fall In Love,” and “It Had To Be You,” and enjoy incredible true stories about these legends. It’s going to be a stylish evening of timeless tunes, world-class talent, and an unbeatable view.”

Ryan Shaw – Imagining Marvin
feat/Valerie Simpson
The Cutting Room / 7PM, $35
“Three-time GRAMMY® nominated artist Ryan Shaw performs an evening inspired by the iconic singer, songwriter and composer, Marvin Gaye in his 80th birthday year.

Ryan reflects that in life we have “what ifs.” Some lead to regret, others lead to possibilities. What if Marvin Gaye were still alive today? Would his iconic recordings have evolved with his musicianship? Would he still be writing from his ever-evolving perspective? We will never have a definitive answer. But maybe the next best thing is to imagine.

Performing songs from the legendary artist, the show will also include original soul-inspired songs by Ryan. Very special guest, Valerie Simpson, who wrote songs for Marvin with her partner Nick Ashford, will join in this fitting tribute.

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 2)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“For the first time, the work of City Ballet’s founding choreographer, George Balanchine, and that of its current resident choreographer, Justin Peck, are on a program together (Friday, Tuesday and Thursday), cementing Peck’s status as the heir apparent and the shaper of the company’s modern identity. In between, spread over two shows and mixed in with other Balanchine classics, Peck’s latest piece and new dances by Pam Tanowitz and Gianna Reisen enjoy a few encores. On Wednesday, Balanchine gets his own program that comprises the large-scale “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” and “Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Tonight: BALANCHINE: BIG & BOLD
Balanchine evokes two distinct atmospheres in the ballets sharing this program, each boasting a cast of over 50 dancers.

NICOLE MITCHELL (May 14-18)
The Stone at the New School / 8:30 p.m.; $20
“Mitchell, a flutist who was recently selected to head the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious jazz program, has friends in many high places. One of the most esteemed performers and composers on the jazz avant-garde, she will gather a different group of collaborators every night during this five-day run. Highlights will include the trio appearing on Tuesday, with Val Jeanty on electronics and Chad Taylor on drums; Mitchell’s team-up with the Matthew Shipp Trio on Wednesday; and a group she’s calling Funkish — with André Lassalle, known as Dre Glo, on guitar, Jared Nickerson on bass and Calvin Gantt doing spoken word, on May 18.” (GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO-NYT)

Ben Wendel (May 14-19)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Ben Wendel, a saxophonist and bassoonist (and a member of the popular band Kneebody), created his “Seasons” project as a series of online video duets that sprang from programmatic piano pieces by Tchaikovsky. It took on a new life as both an album and a band. Here four partners from those duets—the guitarist Gilad Hekselman, the pianist Aaron Parks, the bassist Matt Brewer, and the drummer Eric Harland—join Wendel to give ample voice to his adventurously inviting music.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Bill Charlap Trio (May 14-26)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center/ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40-$45
“Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…when he sits down to play, the result is an embrace, an act of possession. The tune rises, falls, disappears, and resurfaces in new forms as Charlap ranges over the keyboard with nimble, crisply swinging lines, subtly layered textures, dense chords, and spiky interjections.” TIME Magazine
One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Bill Charlap has performed and recorded with modern masters ranging from Phil Woods and Wynton Marsalis to Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand. Since 1997 he has led the Grammy Award-nominated Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, long recognized as a leading group in jazz. Veterans of all the top jazz venues, including, this trio is exemplary for its jaw-dropping level of chemistry and on-the-fly interactivity, made possible by both technical chops and hard-earned experience.”

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More Smart Stuff coming soon.


Continuing Events

NYCxDESIGN (May 10-22)
“New York City’s annual celebration of design, attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and designers from across the globe. Taking place each May, the event celebrates a world of design and showcases over a dozen design disciplines through events taking place across the city’s five boroughs.”

Times Square transforms into a design paradise for NYCxDESIGN: What to See

“Here’s a reason for New Yorkers to head to Times Square: there are sixteen installations to check out at DESIGN PAVILION, the hub of NYCxDESIGN, the annual city-wide celebration of design.  Stretching from 42nd Street to 47th Street across five plazas (kiosks will show maps to aid your journey), there is everything from an “ecocapsule,”, a tiny house, a carousel of creative chairs, to an iconic Eastern European bloc kiosk shown in the United States for the first time.” (untapped cities)

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

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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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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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Bonus Live Music  – NYC 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.”

In Memoriam:
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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NYT Theater Reviews – Our theater critics on the plays and musicals currently open in New York City.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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