NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/08) + 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:  “July 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:

Into the Woods in Concert
The Town Hall / 7:30PM, $77+
“Fairy-tale characters get to their happily-ever-afters and then face giant aftershocks in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s brilliantly disenchanted 1987 musical. This one-night concert staging, a benefit for Cleveland Musical Theatre, features a starry cast of actors with backgrounds in Ohio, including Alice Ripley as the Witch, Tony Yazbeck as the Baker, Kate Shindle as the Baker’s Wife, Betsy Wolfe as Cinderella, Matt Bogart as the Wolf, John Riddle as Cinderella’s Prince, Pamela Myers as Jack’s Mother, Lee Wilkof as the Mysterious Man and Maureen McGovern as Cinderella’s Stepmother.” (TONY)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Gratitude – Band Members of Earth, Wind & Fire
>> ‘BONNIE MCFARLANE’S WORLD’S BEST COMEDY SHOW’
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party 
>> Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy
>> Monday Night Magic

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Gratitude – Band Members of Earth, Wind & Fire
Blue Note / 8PM, $20-$35
“Gratitude is the assembly of 9 gifted musicians of which 7 are currently touring and performing as band members of Earth Wind & Fire. This very special evening of music will feature Classic Soul, Funk and R&B Classics in addition to selections inspired by the aforementioned “Elements of the Universe” having you feel as if you’re in a Fantasy… Like a Shining Star beyond Jupiter! You’ll want to Sing a Song and exclaim Let’s Groove as you and your fellow music lovers dance your way to a Boogie Wonderland!” (wfuv.org)

‘BONNIE MCFARLANE’S WORLD’S BEST COMEDY SHOW’
at Gotham Comedy Club / 8 p.m.; $15
“The title sounds like a reach, but this new monthly showcase hosted by Ken Krantz features McFarlane and some of the funniest comedians working in the city today. The lineup includes Keith Robinson, Ted Alexandro and Gary Gulman, who just filmed a stand-up special for HBO.” (NYT-Sean L. McCarthy)

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)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Reel Talks | Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy
Bryant Park/Bryant Park Reading Room, Between 40th & 42nd Sts. and Fifth and Sixth Aves./ 12:30PM, FREE
“Talks on movies, the culture of cinema, and filmmaking.
Hosted by film connoisseur Scott Adlerberg.
Steve Massa, Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy.”

Monday Night Magic
Players Theatre, West Village / 8PM, $42.50
“For more than two decades,, this proudly old-school series has offered a different lineup of professional magicians every week: opening acts, a headliner and a host, plus two or three close-up magicians to wow the audience at intermission. Housed for the past seven years at the unprepossessing Players Theatre, it is an heir to the vaudeville tradition.

Many of the acts incorporate comedic elements, and audience participation is common. (If you have young children, bring them; they make especially adorable assistants.) Shows cost just $37.50 in advance and typically last well over two hours, so you get a lot of value and variety for your magic dollar. In contrast to some fancier magic shows, this one feels like comfort food: an all-you-can eat buffet to which you’re encouraged to return until you’re as stuffed as a hat full of rabbits.” (TONY)


Continuing Events

‘Midsummer Night Swing’ (July 2-6, 9-13)
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center
“Each summer, some of the dance at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts takes place outside, in Damrosch Park, where a variety of bands and orchestras will serve up R&B, swing, disco and other styles. Guests can dance the night away — and for those who could use a hand learning steps, group lessons are offered. ($18-$22; 6 p.m.; Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan; lincolncenter.org)” (amNY)

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

7/9 Citizen Cope, Brooklyn Steel
7/9-10 Earth, Wind & Fire, Beacon Theatre
7/9 WFUV’s on Your Radar, Rockwood Music Hall
7/10 Belle & Sebastian, Brooklyn Steel
7/10 Dar Williams, City WinerY

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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 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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