NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/16) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s WestSide

“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.”


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

Summer Kickoff Yacht Party
Pier 40, West Village / 6:30PM, $39-$49
“If your idea of a perfect summer shindig involves watching the sunset over the New York skyline, drink in hand, then we’ve got excellent news: We’re bringing the summer vibes a little early this year with an epic celebration of boats, booze and views. We’ve teamed up with Hornblower Cruises & Events to throw the summer kickoff yacht party of your dreams on Thursday, May 16—and it involves three hours of delicious light bites, a fantastic DJ playing across the 210-foot yacht’s four floors and jaw-dropping views of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Best of all, it’s a completely open bar (yes, you read that right!). Party cruises don’t get much better than this. So grab your friends and book your tickets now before they sell out—then get ready to sail in style.” (TONY)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
Midday Jazz: Kendra Shank, vocalist;
>> American Ballet Theatre
>> Michael Feinstein: Great American Crooners
>> Parsons Dance Company
>> Ben Wendel
>> Bill Charlap Trio

>> Confronting Hate

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


Music, Dance, Performing Art

Midday Jazz: Kendra Shank, vocalist; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Dean Johnson, bass.
St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave. @ E.54th St. / 1PM, FREE
Hailed by Downbeat magazine as a top female vocalist (1999, 2006, 2007), Kendra Shank has been featured on National Public Radio’s JazzSet and Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland.

Post-bop jazz pianist Frank Kimbrough currently plays in the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra. Bassist Dean Johnson has performed with symphony orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

American Ballet Theatre (through July 6)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $25+
“The city enters peak ballet season this week, with its two major companies facing off across the plaza at Lincoln Center. A.B.T. begins eight weeks at the Metropolitan Opera House with a kind of Alexei Ratmansky retrospective—the choreographer has been at the company for a decade. It begins with his charming rendition of Marius Petipa’s 1900 commedia-dell’arte ballet “Harlequinade” (May 13-18). After that comes a trio of shorter Ratmansky works, including a new ballet set to Alexander Glazunov’s rich and danceable suite “The Seasons.” A Twyla Tharp program, two weeks later (May 30-June 3), includes an exciting company première, “Deuce Coupe,” from 1973, a playful, all-American romp to music by the Beach Boys, originally made for the Joffrey. For those who like their ballet with a heavy dose of drama, there is another company première, “Jane Eyre,” by the British choreographer Cathy Marston. The work, which is set to a selection of nineteenth-century music, premièred at Northern Ballet, in 2016, to good reviews.” (Marina Harss-NewYorker)

Michael Feinstein: Great American Crooners (May 15-16)
The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7PM, +9PM, $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.”

Parsons Dance Company (May14-26)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 8PM, $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)

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.”


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Confronting Hate
National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 180 Greenwich St./ 7PM, FREE
“Emmy Award–winning documentarian Deeyah Khan has long explored how people are drawn to extremist ideologies. She has spent years filming Islamist extremists, convicted terrorists, and former jihadis, as well as current and former neo-Nazis for her documentaries “Jihad” and “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.” Khan will discuss what she has seen and learned, and how we can forge a path forward to combat extremism.” (ThoughtGallery)

AND The Statue of Liberty Museum opens today!

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.”

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

“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)

Design Pavilion in Times Square. Explore the future at this free annual public design happening. Design Pavilion serves as the public hub for NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s annual celebration of international design. Open daily 11am-9pm between West 42nd and West 47th, bounded by Broadway and Seventh Avenue, highlights of the Design Pavilion include a 50,000 pound yacht, an interactive tiny house sculpture, FutureHAUS (the world’s best solar home), and a sound and vision exhibition. (cityguideny)



5/16-18 Broken Social Scene, Webster Hall
5/18 Rodrigo y Gabriela, Beacon Theatre
5/19 & 21 Passion Pit, The Rooftop At Pier 17
5/19 Anthony De Costa, Mercury Lounge
5/19-20 Nils Lofgren, City Winery
5/21 Jimmy Webb, City Winery
5/22 St. Lucia, Irving Plaza
5/22 Positively Bob Dylan 78th Birthday Tribute, City Winery

♦ 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.

My Fave Special Exhibitions – MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s WestSide
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museums,
and also to see their expanded reviews of exhibitions)

Museum of Modern Art

“The Value of Good Design” (through June 15)

“The simple flask of the Chemex coffeemaker, the austere fan of aluminum tines on a garden rake, and the airtight allure of first-generation Tupperware exemplify the democratic promise of the Good Design movement in this edifying survey, which highlights (although not exclusively) the museum’s role in its history. Also on view—and among the winners of MOMA’s first design competition, held in 1940-41—is a molded plywood chair by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen; it’s a classic design, but, owing to technological limitations in its day, it wasn’t mass-produced until 2006. Starting in 1938, MOMA mounted an annual exhibition called “Useful Objects,” which championed the inexpensive and doubled as recommendations for holiday gifts. No item had a value of more than five dollars the first year; a decade later, the limit was a hundred dollars. By the fifties, the museum had established partnerships with national retailers for the exhibited products, from textiles to appliances, and, in the eighties, it opened its own design store. In the current show, the most compelling items are the everyday gems: Timo Sarpaneva’s cast-iron and teak casserole, from 1959; the original Slinky, from 1945; and a collapsible wire basket, from 1953, as graceful as a Ruth Asawa sculpture.” (

“Joan Miró”  (through June 15)

“This enchanting show draws on the museum’s immense holdings of Miró’s work, along with a few loans. Its star attraction is “The Birth of the World,” painted in 1925, while the artist was under the spell of the Surrealist circle of André Breton. It presents drifting pictographic elements—a black triangle, a red disk, a white disk, an odd black hook shape, and some skittery lines—on an amorphous ground of thinned grayish paint that soaks here and there into the unevenly primed canvas. It’s large—more than eight feet high by more than six feet wide—but feels larger: cosmic. There had never been anything quite like it in painting, and it stood far apart from the formally conservative, lurid fantasizing of the other Surrealist painters. Today, we are ever less apt to base valuations on precedence—who did what first. Art of the past seems not so much a parade as a convocation, subject to case-by-case assessments. Never unsettling in the ways of, say, Matisse or, for heaven’s sake, Picasso, Miró is a modernist for everybody. He earns and will keep his place in our hearts.” (

American Museum of Natural History

‘T. REX: THE ULTIMATE PREDATOR’  (through Aug. 9, 2020).
“Everyone’s favorite 18,000-pound prehistoric killer gets the star treatment in this eye-opening exhibition, which presents the latest scientific research on T. rex and also introduces many other tyrannosaurs, some discovered only this century in China and Mongolia. T. rex evolved mainly during the Cretaceous Period to have keen eyes, spindly arms and massive conical teeth, which could bear down on prey with the force of a U-Haul truck; the dinosaur could even swallow whole bones, as affirmed here by a kid-friendly display of fossilized excrement. The show mixes 66-million-year-old teeth with the latest 3-D prints of dino bones, and also presents new models of T. rex as a baby, a juvenile and a full-grown annihilator. Turns out this most savage beast was covered with — believe it! — a soft coat of beige or white feathers.” (Farago-NYT)

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Posts in right Sidebar dated 05/14 and 05/12.


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.”


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


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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