NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/14) + 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:  “June 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:

This is definitely not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is surprisingly easy to get to – a marvelous free ferry ride from South Ferry, then a short walk, and you are there.

Robert Cray, Marc Cohn & Blind Boys of Alabama
at St. George Theater / 8 p.m.; $49+
“More than four decades after initially forming the band that bears his name, Cray, a much-lauded guitarist, is still playing the blues. At this Staten Island theater, he will appear with Cohn, the singer-songwriter best known for his 1991 hit “Walking in Memphis.” Recently, Cohn has been collaborating with the Blind Boys of Alabama, the gospel outfit whose sole surviving original member, Jimmy Carter, helped found the group in the 1940s. The Blind Boys are also on the bill; expect them to sing selections from “Work to Do,” the collaborative album they will release with Cohn in August.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> THEO CROKER
>> American Ballet Theatre
>> THE MARTIN FAMILY
>> CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE BIG BAND
>> Stacey Kent
>> Pilobolus 
>> Brew at the Zoo

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

THEO CROKER (June 13-16)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30
“Last month, Croker logged a vital contribution to the growing body of nouveau jazz fusion (think Robert Glasper, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Sarah Elizabeth Charles) when he released “Star People Nation,” an album that gallivants from swirling, left-field hip-hop beats to propellant swing to entrancing passages of African percussion. Through it all, Croker’s understated trumpet playing holds his small band together with swagger and poise. Here he celebrates the album’s release with Mike King on piano, Eric Wheeler on bass and Michael Ode on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

American Ballet Theatre (through July 6)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $25+
“The company continues its Lincoln Center spring season with “Le Corsaire” through Saturday, followed by eight performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s sumptuous “Manon” beginning on Monday. In that performance, Hee Seo makes her debut in the titular role, opposite Roberto Bolle as Des Grieux. The full-length production is also Bolle’s swan song at Ballet Theater: On Thursday, he gives his farewell performance. And Wednesday’s matinee will surely be a hot ticket, too, with debuts by Misty Copeland, Catherine Hurlin and Calvin Royal III.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
Tonight: “Le Corsaire”

THE MARTIN FAMILY (June 13-16)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30 p.m.; $20-$35
“The alto saxophonist, keyboardist and producer Terrace Martin has been writing and producing for pop and hip-hop acts in Los Angeles since the early 2000s; all the while, he has moonlighted as a jazz saxophonist. With the meteoric rise of Kendrick Lamar, one of his closest collaborators, Martin managed to become a household name among music fans without sacrificing either side of his artistry. This weekend he brings a bit of personal history to bear, playing in a trio with his father — the R&B drummer Ernest Martin, known as Curly — and the organist Larry Goldings.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE BIG BAND (June 11-16)
at Dizzy’s Club / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $40
“Rather than harking back to the classic swing era or the progressive large-ensemble composers of the late 20th century, this 17-piece group picks up on a lesser-touted aspect of the jazz tradition: the bebop big bands led by Jimmy Heath and Dizzy Gillespie in the 1940s and ’50s. A lot of activity often happens at once in McBride’s ensemble: spitfire soloing from the saxophones and brass; calisthenic bowed-bass workouts from the bandleader; sprightly, charging momentum from the rhythm section. But McBride makes sure everything coheres, thanks to hip-huggingly tight swing rhythms and generous coats of grease on the harmonies.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Stacey Kent (June 11-15)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, $40-$50
“The vocalist Stacey Kent, wearing her taste and her smarts on her sleeve, blends American Songbook standards, Brazilian classics, and French chansons with original compositions by the saxophonist Jim Tomlinson and such collaborators as the author Kazuo Ishiguro. Here, Kent leaves behind the orchestra that accompanied her on her latest album, “I Know I Dream”—luckily, she can also weave magic at the helm of a more compact ensemble.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Pilobolus (through June 29)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave. / 8PM, $55+
“For a long time, summer at the Joyce was synonymous with a monthlong encampment by this popular troupe of acrobat-illusionists. But five years have passed since the company’s last visit. How has the group evolved in the meantime? Its two comeback programs don’t offer many chances to find out; the most recent item is “Branches,” an ebb-and-flow nature study, from 2017. The most reliable selections, in any case, come from the better, stranger early period: “Day 2” (1980), with its primordial creatures and Slip ‘N Slide coda; “Walklyndon” (1971), with its silly stage crossings; and, best of all, “Untitled” (1972), a Victorian picnic for giantesses.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Elsewhere, but this is the largest municipal zoo in the country and it is my hometown, plus this is a beer event, so worth the detour.

Brew at the Zoo
Drink a beer with a bear
Bronx Zoo / 6-11PM, $70
“Brew at the Zoo” is an adults-only, after-hours party featuring unlimited beer tastings, animal-themed trivia, and karaoke backed by a live band (my humble karaoke suggestions: “Crocodile Rock,” “I Am the Walrus,” “The Bad Touch”). A few of the zoo’s exhibits will be open — including the lemurs, sea lions, and grizzly bears — so you can ooh and aah over the animals while getting as drunk as a skunk. Be prepared to need some hair of the dog in the morning unless, of course, you’re going cold turkey.” (Thrillist)


Continuing Events

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC IN THE PARKS (June 11-14, 8 p.m.).
“The Philharmonic’s music director, Jaap van Zweden, conducts his first concerts in the parks, now in their 54th year. Whether at Van Cortlandt Park (Tuesday), Central Park (Wednesday), Cunningham Park (June 13) or Prospect Park (June 14), the music is the same: Rossini’s overture to “La Gazza Ladra,” the Hoe-Down from Copland’s “Rodeo,” Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and, continuing an initiative started last year, two works from very young composers: Nilomi Weerakkody and Mack Scocca-Ho. Staten Island, alas, will have to make do with a free indoor concert at the St. George Theater (June 16, 4 p.m.).” (David Allen – NYT)
212-875-5656, nyphil.org

Underground Railroad Game (thru June 15)
A comedy, actually.
“Created by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard with the Philly-based company Lightning Rod Special, the incendiary Underground Railroad Game returns to New York for 18 performances. Welcome to Hanover Middle School, where a pair of teachers tackle American history, race, sex, and power in a ferocious, sensational, very R-rated lesson.” (S.H.- NY Magazine)
Ars Nova at Greenwich House, 27 Barrow Street, May 30 to June 15.

‘MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING’
at the Delacorte Theater (in previews; opens on June 11, thru June 23).
“Sigh no more, Shakespeare fans. Shakespeare in the Park — its tickets distributed free by line and lottery — returns with this sparkling comedy of sparring lovers. In postwar Messina, Beatrice (Danielle Brooks) and Benedick (Grantham Coleman) are a couple who despise each other. Until they don’t. Kenny Leon directs. ” (NYT-Alexis Soloski)
212-967-7555, publictheater.org
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COMING SOON (WFUV)

6/14 Real Estate, Webster Hall
6/15 Death Cab For Cutie w/ Jenny Lewis, Forest Hills Stadium
6/17 Keb’ Mo’, Sony Hall
6/18 & 19 Seawolf, National Sawdust
6/19 Father John Misty with Jason Isbell, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
6/19 The Lumineers, Pioneer Works

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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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