NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/26) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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:

Rodney Crowell
City Winery / 8PM, $30+
“Crowell is no longer hungry for praise. We’ve been praising him for forty years, since the days when Guy Clark — the emphatic and acerbic father figure to several musical generations — pointed out the ebullient genius in “Bluebird Wine,” a song that would become the first song on Emmylou Harris’s first major label album. We’ve praised Crowell as a hit songwriter, as a chart-topping singer, and as a gruffly grinning member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.”


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Sondheim Unplugged
>> Tap Family Reunion
>> Parsons Dance Company
>> Bill Charlap Trio
>> Czechoslovak Festival
>> Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

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


Music, Dance, Performing Art

Sondheim Unplugged
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $35+
“Talented singers from the Broadway and cabaret worlds sing side by side in this tribute to the master of musical theater that has often featured former cast members of Sondheim shows. Guests at the May episode include Sondheim alums Sarah Rice, Hunter Ryan Herlicka, Teri Ralston as well as Carole J. Bufford, Samuel Buttery, Scott Coulter, Natalie Douglas, Stearns Matthews, Lucia Spina and Michael Winther.” (TONY)

Tap Family Reunion
Swing 46 / 12PM-6PM,
“This celebration of National Tap Dance Day, started last year by the tap leaders Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards (who has since dropped her surname), Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith, is a rough-edged and happy mix of classes and events that aim to maintain a connection between the past and the future of the art. The centerpiece performance, at the Schomberg Center on May 24, features luminaries (Michelle Dorrance) alongside up-and-comers (the teen-age Foreman twins) and an ace ensemble. The concluding jam session, at Swing 46 on the afternoon of May 26, is like a family picnic for a very talented family.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

at the Village Vanguard /8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $35
“There’s a quiet bravado to Lovano’s playing — on both tenor and soprano saxophones — that allows him to make a home in almost any jazz style, from the freely improvised to the rigorously composed. The music of this new trio, featuring the pianist Marilyn Crispell and the drummer Carmen Castaldi, lands somewhere in the middle, but it leans toward the open-ended. Melodies glide and taper, textures rise and shudder and dissipate. At the Vanguard, the trio will draw selections from a fine debut album, “Trio Tapestry,” recently out on ECM.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Parsons Dance Company (LAST DAY)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 2PM, $50+
“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)

Bill Charlap Trio (LAST DAY)
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

Elsewhere, but this is my fave NYCity beer hall, worth the detour:

The annual Czechoslovak Festival
at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden / 12PM-6PM,
“Back for another year, this celebration of the culture of the former Czechoslovakia will serve up both Czech and Slovak cuisine plus live entertainment and a raffle; first prize is a trip to Prague.” (amNY)
WHEN | WHERE Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden: 2919 24th Ave., Astoria, Queens
INFO Free; fee for food and drink, 718-274-4925,

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit (5/25-5/27, 6/1-6/2)
University Place from East 13th St. to Waverly Place / 12PM-6PM, FREE
“Twice a year, this outdoor art fest sets up shop in the heart of Greenwich Village. Up-and-coming artists line University Place, selling painting, sculpture, and photography to visitors. The tradition began in 1931 when a young Jackson Pollock, hard up for cash, sold his now-famous splatter paintings near Washington Square Park, accompanied by another future luminary, Willem de Kooning. Check out University Place from East 13th Street to Waverly Place on Memorial Day weekend, and celebrate the start of summer with some fine art! “ (cityguideny)

AND The Statue of Liberty Museum opened just last week!

Continuing Events

New York’s 31st annual Fleet Week. (5/22-5/28)
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
“The legendary aircraft carrier that’s now the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum celebrates the men and women of the armed forces during New York’s 31st annual Fleet Week. Ships of every size will come steaming into the city. On Wednesday the 22nd, events kick off with the dramatic sight of Naval and Coast Guard ships sailing up the Hudson River. Through Memorial Day, Intrepid will be hosting talks, kids’ activities, ships open for free public tours, science demos, and the chance to hear stories from former crew members. On Friday night, catch a free screening of Top Gun right on the flight deck, under the stars! Learn more: Where to Celebrate Fleet Week in NYC.” (cityguideny)



5/26 The Hot Sardines, Joe’s Pub (SOLD OUT)
5/26 Bjork’s Cornucopia, The Shed
5/29 Rufus Wainwright, City Winery
5/29 Weyes Blood, Music Hall of Williamsburg

♦ 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.

Chelsea Art Gallery District*

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art.

Josh Smith: Emo Jungle
A lush palette.
“Few painters could fill all three of David Zwirner’s giant white-cube spaces so convincingly. Josh Smith repeats a number of motifs: the Grim Reaper, a turtle-bird form, a four-legged human-spider creature. His electric color makes every painting different yet always as an expansion or response to all the rest. An encyclopedic joy.” (J.S.-NYMagazine)
David Zwirner, 525 West 19th Street, through June 15.

Here is one exhibition the New Yorker likes:

and one the NYTimes likes:

‘JEFF WALL’ (extended through July 26)

“Rumination and risk-taking, in equal measure, mark this conceptual photographer’s spellbinding new exhibition. The show, Wall’s first at this Chelsea gallery since ending a 25-year run with the rival dealer Marian Goodman, feels decidedly introspective. Figures alone in contemplative trances, or alienated from their partners in scenes of evident tension, define most of the works. The encyclopedic visual literacy that has long characterized Wall’s pictures (with their compositional echoes of old master paintings) has been pared back, allowing more psychological complexity to emerge. Just as new is an emphasis on narrative and sequence; among the pieces are two diptychs and an enveloping, cinematic triptych.” (Karen Rosenberg)


For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide ( Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better to plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm). OR try this NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 05/24 and 05/22.

Bonus NYC Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St.,, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St.,, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474
and one more, not quite WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.

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., 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.
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.


Bonus#2 – 9 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend New York Times (05/24/19)

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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