NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/05) + 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:  “December 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:

NY Philharmonic Open Rehearsal (next Thu. Dec.5)
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 9:45AM, $22
An Open Rehearsal is a fascinating opportunity to watch the New York Philharmonic at work, and see how a piece of music is shaped and polished by the conductor and the musicians. All Open Rehearsals are “working” rehearsals and therefore the program may not be played in its entirety.

Today: Bronfman and Beethoven
Yefim Bronfman brings his brilliance and power to Beethoven’s sublime Piano Concerto No. 4. From the same composer, Maestro van Zweden conducts the jubilant, high-spirited Second Symphony that foreshadows the power and drive we associate with Beethoven. Steve Reich’s propulsive new work pays homage to the Baroque concerto grosso.
Program to Include
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
Steve Reich: Music for Ensemble and Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Open Rehearsals begin at 9:45 AM (except where noted) in David Geffen Hall, and end at approximately 12:30 PM (sometimes extending to 1 PM, at the discretion of the conductor).

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> The Queen of Spades
>> The Hold Steady
>> Jokes and Jazz with Sheila Anderson & Wali Collins
>> Bob Dylan
>> Mary Halvorson
>> The Ultimate NYC Trivia Night
>> Book Signing with Gloria Steinem

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Metropolitan Opera
The Queen of Spades (next Dec.8, 3PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $103+
“Tchaikovsky’s eerie thriller of imperial Russia has its first performances at the Met since 2011. Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko is Hermann, the fanatical gambler whose obsession with a powerful secret drives him to madness. Soprano Lise Davidsen makes her highly anticipated Met debut as his long-suffering lover, Lisa, with mezzo-soprano Larissa Diadkova as the otherworldly Countess. Baritone Igor Golovatenko is Yeletsky, baritone Alexey Markov is Tomsky, and Vasily Petrenko conducts.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

The Hold Steady (Dec.4-7)
Veterans at work.
Brooklyn Bowl / 8PM, $45
Brooklyn indie rockers decided to start a band after seeing Martin Scorsese’s Thanksgiving rock doc The Last Waltz. Seven studio albums in, they’re a rock-and-roll institution in their own right, thanks to a wellspring of anthemic grooves and lead singer Craig Finn’s detailed storytelling. In 2016, the band came home for a run of shows to celebrate 2006’s Boys and Girls in America; it’s now an annual tradition.” (NYMag,-C.J.)

Jokes and Jazz with Sheila Anderson & Wali Collins
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Enjoy hilarious stand-up comedy in between sets of some of the country’s most talented musicians. WBGO jazz radio personality Sheila Anderson hosts this dynamic evening, joined by international headlining comedian Wali Collins. Take in Anderson’s wit and charm as she showcases the Willerm Delisfort Trio that she handpicked herself. Funnyman Wali Collins and two of his fellow headlining comedians—Joe DeVito and Joyelle Nikki Johnson— will provide the belly laughs to make it a night to remember.”

Bob Dylan (thru Dec.6)
Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway / 8PM, $99+
“Bob Dylan famously maintains a restless touring schedule that renders him a nomad for much of the year but often returns him to the place of his artistic birth; this year, he settles in for a whopping ten-night stand. Among rock élites, Dylan remains peerless. His concerts are strictly pander-free zones—no cheesy pleas to clap or sing along, no glut of backup musicians, usually no “Like a Rolling Stone.” Rather, Dylan asks audiences to ignore his legend and engage with his firecracker band, its every elegant rumble rooted to the present.” (Jay Ruttenberg, NewYorker)

Mary Halvorson (Dec. 3-7)
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30 p.m.; $20
“It’s hard to sum up this experimental guitarist in a simple word like “influential”: Her choppy, crinkled, effects-pedal-laden style is too singular to be widely replicated. But now more than ever, there is no denying the status of Halvorson — who received a 2019 MacArthur fellowship in September — as a leading figure in jazz. Next week she will take a victory lap at the Stone, a familiar stomping ground, alongside a few longtime collaborators: On Tuesday she plays in a duet with the remarkable Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier; on Wednesday and Dec. 5 she brings different trios each night; and on Dec. 6 and 7 she appears with her quintet Code Girl, which released a critically lauded album last year.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

The Ultimate NYC Trivia Night
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, $15
“The Museum of the City of New York and the Gotham Center for New York City History present a night of trivia inspired by the city we know best. From architecture and art to transportation and pop culture, we’ll put your knowledge of NYC to the test in categories spanning the city’s epic 400-year history. Prizes will be awarded to top teams!”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Book Signing with Gloria Steinem
Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St./ 6:30PM, FREE
“Join Gloria Steinem for a book signing of her latest release, which gathers key quotes from decades of struggle. In addition to Steinem’s own thoughts on categories like relationships, the patriarchy, and activism, the book includes quotes from prominent friends.”


Continuing Events

NYC holiday markets – five to explore.  (Newsday)

HOLIDAY SHOPS AT BRYANT PARK

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 31-Jan. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 40th Street and Sixth Avenue
INFO bryantpark.org/eat-drink/holiday-shops

UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Union Square Park’s southern side
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

COLUMBUS CIRCLE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Dec. 4-24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, 59th Street and Central Park West
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

GRAND CENTRAL HOLIDAY FAIR

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 18-Dec. 24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (closed Thanksgiving; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve), Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St.
INFO grandcentralterminal.com

GRAND BAZAAR NYC

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 100 W. 77th St.
INFO grandbazaarnyc.org

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Holiday windows in NYC you won’t want to miss

“‘Tis the season! As Thanksgiving draws near, New York City’s department stores are unveiling their holiday windows. Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, American Girl and others are each putting their festive foot forward for the holidays.” (amNY)

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GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER
NEW YORK CITY BALLET (THRU Jan.5)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center/ TODAY: 2PM, +8PM,; $95+
“’Twas the day after Thanksgiving and all through the land, ballet companies began trotting out productions of “The Nutcracker,” a holiday dance tradition most grand. And in New York, the grandest among them is City Ballet’s, formally known as “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” which has been performed since 1954. That title rightly emphasizes this version’s secret weapon: Act II’s glorious choreography, particularly the breathtaking final pas de deux between the Sugarplum Fairy and her cavalier. Act I has its own virtuosic feat in the form of a supersize Christmas tree, which captures all the magic and wonder of this familiar tale.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

12/5-6 Bob Dylan, Beacon Theatre
12/6 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute, Symphony Space
12/7 The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show, Concert Hall at the NY Society for Ethical Culture
12/8 Crooked Still, Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/9 Pixies, Webster Hall
12/9 Cautious Clay, Brooklyn Steel
12/10 Holiday Cheer for FUV with Mavis Staples, Nathaniel Rateliff, Yola and special guests, Beacon Theatre
12/11 Ingrid Michaelson, (le) Poisson Rouge

Fall Concerts (nycgo.com)

David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway
October 4­, 2019–January 19, 2020
Hudson Theatre
“The Talking Heads frontman hits Broadway with a show based on his latest album—but you can expect some old favorites as well.”

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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 2019 – the ninth consecutive year. 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.

I MEMORIALIZE THESE TWO WONDERFUL CLUBS AS A WARNING.
WE HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO SAVE THESE SPECIAL PLACES.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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