NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/24) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

“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:

American Ballet Theatre (through July 6)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $25+
“Beginning on Monday, Ballet Theater embarks on its annual pilgrimage to the lake — “Swan Lake” — for which the company’s top ballerinas offer individual interpretations of the double role of Odette/Odile. Some excel at evoking the poignant longing of the former, while others take great pleasure in depicting the devilishness of the latter. Year after year, it’s a joy to see fine artists grow and experiment in these roles.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Natalie Douglas Tributes: ‘Judy’ with Mark Hartman
>> Randy Napoleon’s Midwest Guitar Legacy: Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell

>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party 
>> Jason Robert Brown W/ Special Guest Stephen Sondheim Feat. Katrina Lenk
>> Laura Osnes & Tony Yazbeck: An Evening of Gershwin Greats and Other Favorites
More Smart Stuff coming soon.
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Natalie Douglas Tributes: ‘Judy’ with Mark Hartman
Birdland Jazz Club / 7PM, $35
“Natalie Douglas – the acclaimed vocalist hailed as “a true, true star” by BBC London Radio, “a true force of nature” by The Times (UK), “sensational” by Time Out New York, “a monstrous talent” by Next Magazine and “simply everything” by The Daily News, – continues her smash monthly residency in her home perch at Birdland Jazz Club as part of the Broadway at Birdland concert series with another edition of her hit series entitled “Tributes.” One Monday each month, Natalie will perform a different tribute show.” (cityguideny.com)

Randy Napoleon’s Midwest Guitar Legacy: Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“George Benson: “I like the guitar player who’s playing with Freddy Cole [Randy Napoleon]. He has an all-fingers approach; he doesn’t use just thumb or pick. He’s spectacular.” Widely recognized for touring with the iconic Freddy Cole, guitarist Randy Napoleon also successfully leads multiple groups of his own. He has performed and recorded with greats all across the jazz spectrum, and tonight he pays tributes to the Midwest jazz guitar masters: Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and Kenny Burrell. Though he approaches the instrument and tonight’s program with a voice of his own, the influence of these guitar legends is unmistakable in his playing. This performance, also featuring Jeb Patton, Rodney Whitaker, and Quincy Davis, will be a treat for all jazz guitar lovers and anyone interested in swinging, straight-ahead jazz.” (cityguideny.com)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party 
Birdland Jazz Club / 9:30PM, $25-$30
“Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is the best thing to happen to nightlife since prohibition ended.” Think “American Idol” meets “The Tonight Show.” Imagine Martin Short and Liza throw a hip house party around the baby grand…and you’re invited! Cast Party is a wildly popular happening that has brought Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night since 2003. It is the ultimate spot to mix and mingle with show folk and the people who love them. Cast Party is a hilariously impromptu variety show where showbiz superstars and up-and-comers deliver jaw-dropping musical performances and razzle-dazzle.” (cityguideny.com)

Jason Robert Brown W/ Special Guest Stephen Sondheim Feat. Katrina Lenk
at the Town Hall / 8 p.m.; $165
“In 2014, this Tony Award-winning composer, who wrote “The Last Five Years” and “Songs for a New World,” began what he thought was a yearlong residency at SubCulture, the Greenwich Village performance space favored by the contemporary classical crowd. A half-decade later, Brown is preparing for the 50th concert of his tenure. To honor the occasion, on Monday he will play this much-larger stage in Midtown, joined by another storied Broadway songwriter: Stephen Sondheim. The two will perform songs from their respective repertoires, accompanied by a 16-piece orchestra and a guest vocalist, the actress Katrina Lenk.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

All proceeds from the evening will be donated to Brady, the national organization uniting gun owners and non-gun owners alike in the comprehensive solutions that will end the gun violence epidemic.

Laura Osnes & Tony Yazbeck: An Evening of Gershwin Greats and Other Favorites
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $70+
“After leapfrogging to Broadway in Grease as the winner of a reality-TV casting series, versatile soprano Osnes has proved the snobs and cynics wrong in a succession of winsome turns in shows including Bandstand, South Pacific and Cinderella; Broadway hoofer-actor-singer Yazbeck has brightened such revivals as Gypsy, A Chorus Line and On the Town. Having teamed up for a sucessful double act last year, the two stars reunite for another evening of Great American Songbook fare.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More smart stuff coming soon.


Continuing Events

RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL at various locations (through June 29).

“Hurricane Sandy hit South Street Seaport hard in 2012. Now that event is part subject and that site is part performance space for Jennifer Monson’s new work, “Ditch,” which also explores gentrification and income inequality. One performance takes place at sunrise on Sunday at Pier 35 on the East River Esplanade; two more occur at the South Street Seaport Museum on Wednesday and June 28 at 7 p.m. Also this week, the witty, rigorous Sarah Michelson presents the New York premiere of “june2019:/\” for three performances on Monday and two on Wednesday, the location of which will be divulged only to those who R.S.V.P.” (NYT-Brian Schaeffer)
lmcc.net/river-to-river-festival

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

6/24-26 Regina Spektor on Broadway, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
6/23-24 Jackson Browne w/ Lucius, Beacon Theatre
6/24 Japanese Breakfast/Hatchie, SummerStage Central Park
6/25 Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks, Midsummer Night Swing Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center
6/25 The Bad Plus, The Jazz Standard
6/26 Canada Day w/ Alvvays & Foxwarren, SummmerStage Central Park

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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 / Midtown West

Russian Vodka Room / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys,” just down the block.
(Alas, no more. After 10 years, “Jersey Boys” finally closed, now it’s “Mean Girls.”)

lThose in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room near the piano man; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).
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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music now includes a younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.

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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: 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.”

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Bonus#2 – 9 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend New York Times (06/20/19)

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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