NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/20) + Museum Special Exhibitions: Manhattan’s 5th Avenue

“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:

A Frank and Ella Christmas (Dec.20-21)
Hear your favorite Christmas songs at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall / 8PM, $80+
“The New York Pops’ annual holiday concert is led by jazz singer Tony DeSare and Broadway star Capathia Jenkins, who will belt their way through Christmas hits like Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” and Frank Sinatra’s arrangement of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” You’ll hear all the classics — “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Let it Snow,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — as well as the NYC premiere of the Hanukkah song “Eight Days of Light.” (Thrillist)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  Lea Michele gets gleeful in ‘Christmas in NYC’
>> Noy / Carlock / Patitucci Trio
>> PAUL WINTER’S WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
>> Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice
>> Carmen Lundy
>> Winter Rhythms 2019
>> Astronomy Live: Winter Solstice and the Year Ahead

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Lea Michele gets gleeful in ‘Christmas in NYC’ (Dec.19-21)
“For some, it was the program “Glee” that served as an introduction to the talents of Lea Michele, but before that, the Bronx-born Grammy-nominated singer also starred on Broadway in “Spring Awakening.” Now she’s home for the holidays following a successful U.K. tour in support of her album “Christmas in the City.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St., Manhattan
INFO $79-$99; bandsintown.com

Noy / Carlock / Patitucci Trio (Dec. 20-22)
Iridium, 1650 Broadway / 8:30PM, $40
“Oz Noy is a guitar hero for a generation of listeners who demand that their instrumental idols possess wide-open ears. In tandem with an imposing rhythm team featuring John Patitucci on bass and Keith Carlock on drums, Noy blends jazz, rock, and R. & B.—and whatever else grabs his fancy—into a seamless whole; expect consummate technical dexterity offset by effortless cool from all. Also playing: Pharoah Sanders (Dec. 27-28) has understandably mellowed since his days as Coltrane’s obstreperous cohort, but his soulful saxophone tones and vitality of spirit belie his near-octogenarian status.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

PAUL WINTER’S WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
“Enjoy a contemporary take on the ancient rituals of the winter solstice, when people gathered on the longest night of the year to welcome the return of the sun. International musicians and vocalists perform in this colossal cathedral with its extraordinary acoustics and seven-second reverberation. This year’s theatrical extravaganza, led by saxophonist, composer and bandleader Paul Winter, highlights the natural world and includes the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-20 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave.
INFO 866-811-4111, solsticeconcert.com

Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice (Dec.17-22)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
“Who says nice guys finish last? Broadway leading man Norm Lewis exudes amiability, but that hasn’t stoppped him from a long career that has included stints in Porgy and Bess, Les Misérables, Side Show and Chicago; in 2014, he became the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway. In his annual Christmas set at Feinstein’s/54 Below, he welcomes audiences to enjoy holiday favorites, warmed by the hearth of his voice.” (TONY)

Carmen Lundy (Dec.19-22)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
Although Carmen Lundy was right on the cusp of the jazz-vocal renaissance of the early nineties, fame somehow eluded the accomplished and versatile singer. A model of persistence, Lundy has soldiered on with ever greater self-possession; her recordings, including the recent “Modern Ancestors,” resound with musical assurance—she composes much of her material—and outspoken political fervor.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Winter Rhythms 2019 (Dec.12-21)
Urban Stages / 7PM, +9PM, $30
“The 11th annual edition of Urban Stages’s cabaret festival comprises 20 shows, with artists including Karen Akers, Sue Matsuki, Carly Ozard, Meg Flather, Sally Darling, Sean Harkness, Lina Koutrakos and Marcus Simeone.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

AMNH Presents: Astronomy Live: Winter Solstice and the Year Ahead
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St./ 7PM, $15
“Irene Pease, a physicist and Brooklyn’s “Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer” joins Ted Williams, the president of the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, for a journey through the stars at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. On the cusp of the solstice, they’ll walk you through upcoming astrological events, significant scientific happenings, and everything else you need to know about the sky in 2020. Now, when something in your life goes wrong, you can say with confidence that Mercury is, in fact, in retrograde.” (thrillist)


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)

Here is the extensive Holiday Windows rundown from 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)

‘THE NUTCRACKER’ SIX WAYS

“The Waltz of the Snowflakes becomes a nor’easter this week with a deluge of “Nutcracker” productions around town. Among them are Dances Patrelle’s “The Yorkville Nutcracker,” set in 19th-century New York (Friday to Sunday, the Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College); New York Theater Ballet’s hourlong “Keith Michael’s the Nutcracker” (Friday to Sunday, Florence Gould Hall); a hip-hop infused “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” by Brooklyn Ballet (Saturday, Kings Theater); the wacky “Nut/Cracked” by the Bang Group (Dec. 19-21, the Flea Theater); a traditional staging by National Ballet Theater of Odessa (Saturday, New Jersey Performing Arts Center); and, of course, the splendid “George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker” by New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater, through Jan. 5). ” (NYT)
dancespatrelle.org
nytb.org
brooklynballet.org
thebanggroup.com
njpac.org

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COMING SOON (WFUV

12/20-21 Rebirth Brass Band, Brooklyn Bowl
12/21 Cee Lo Green – Holiday Hits Tour, Sony Hall
12/21 Marcus King Band, Beacon Theatre
12/22-25 Yo La Tengo – 8 Nights of Hanukkah, Bowery Ballroom

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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WHAT’S ON VIEW
These are My Fave Special Exhibitions @ MUSEUMS / Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
(See the New York Times Arts Section for listings of all museum exhibitions,
and also see the expanded reviews of these exhibitions)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

‘ARTISTIC LICENSE: SIX TAKES ON THE GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION’  (through Jan. 12). “Displays that artists select from a museum’s collection are almost inevitably interesting, revealing and valuable. After all, artists can be especially discerning regarding work not their own. Here, six artists — Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Richard Prince, Julie Mehretu, Carrie Mae Weens and Jenny Holzer — guided by specific themes, have chosen, which multiplies the impact accordingly. With one per ramp, each selection turns the museum inside out. The combination sustains multiple visits; the concept should be applied regularly.” (NYT-Roberta Smith)
212-423-3840, guggenheim.org

Neue Galerie

ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER (through Jan. 13).

“You could be forgiven for drawing a connection between Kirchner’s shocking color palette and his character. It would be understandable enough, considering his problems with morphine, Veronal and absinthe; the nervous breakdown precipitated by his artillery training in World War I; and his suicide in 1938, at the age of 58, after the Nazis had denounced him as a degenerate. But to linger on Kirchner’s lurid biography would be unfair to the mesmerizing technical genius of his style, amply on display in this exhibition. Surrounding more or less sober portrait subjects with backgrounds of flat but brilliant color, as Kirchner did, wasn’t just a youthful revolt against the staid academic painting he grew up with. It was also an ingenious way to articulate subjective experience in an increasingly materialist modern world. (NYT-Heinrich)
neuegalerie.org

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’

“After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought and refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles modern and contemporary art, by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze — with 4,000 years of Judaica. The works are shown in a nimble, non-chronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilletantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations.” (Farago) 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

Museum of the City of New York

NY AT ITS CORE (ongoing)
“Ten years in the making, New York at Its Core tells the compelling story of New York’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” The exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other and a subject of fascination the world over. Entertaining, inspiring, important, and at times bemusing, New York City “big personalities,” including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, Jay-Z, and dozens more, parade through the exhibition. Visitors will also learn the stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco. Even animals like the horse, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster, which played pivotal roles in the economy and daily life of New York, get their moment in the historical spotlight. Occupying the entire first floor in three interactive galleries (Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab) New York at Its Core is shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and underlie the modern global metropolis we know today. mcny.org” (NYCity Guide)

and you should be sure to check out these special exhibitions at that little museum on Fifth Ave., The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(open 7 days /week, AND always Pay What You Wish for NewYorkers)

‘THE LAST KNIGHT: THE ART, ARMOR, AND AMBITION OF MAXIMILIAN I’ (through Jan. 5).

“Kaiser Max, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the years around 1500, anchors the Met’s largest show of arms and armor in decades: a gleaming showcase of heavy metal and Hapsburg propaganda. Maximilian I, who ruled a swath of Europe stretching from the Netherlands to Croatia, would have looked resplendent on the battlefield when he wore the tapered suit of ribbed and fluted steel here. What really broadcast his power were public spectacles of chivalric glory, in which he jousted with local noblemen and foreign champions in ritualized, but still dangerous, mock combat. He also embraced the hottest technology of the late 15th century: printmaking, which allowed the emperor to broadcast his military prowess through books and monumental woodcuts. The pen, or at least movable type, was for Maximilian even mightier than the sword.” (Farago-NYT)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

GD: this is a good one. you have to see it.

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Museum Mile is a section of Fifth Avenue which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world. Eight museums can be found along this section of Fifth Avenue:
• 105th Street – El Museo del Barrio (closed Sun-Mon)*
• 103rd Street – Museum of the City of New York (open 7 days /week)
•  92nd Street – The Jewish Museum (closed Wed) (Sat FREE) (Thu 5-8 PWYW)
•  91st Street  –  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (open 7 days /week)
•  89th Street –  National Academy Museum (closed Mon-Tue)
•  88th Street –  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (closed Thu) (Sat 6-8 PWYW)
•  86th Street –  Neue Galerie New York (closed Tue-Wed) (Fri 6-8 FREE)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s premier museum
•  82nd Street – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (open 7 days /week)*
*always Pay What You Wish (PWYW) for NewYorkers

Although technically not part of the Museum Mile, the Frick Collection (closed Mon) (Wed 2-6pm PWYW; First Friday each month (exc Jan+Sep) 6-9pm FREE) on the corner of 70th St. and Fifth Avenue and the The Morgan Library & Museum (closed Mon) (Fri 7-9 FREE) on Madison Ave and 37th St are also located near Fifth Ave.
Now plan your own museum crawl (info on hours & admission updated June 2, 2015).
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For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see Recent Posts in right Sidebar dated 12/18 and 12/16.
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4 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend – NewYorkTimes (12/19/19)

Must-see theater coming to New York City stages this fall (amNY)

10 must-see Off-Broadway shows (amNY)

m

NYT Theater Reviews – NYT theater critics on the plays and musicals currently open in New York City.

and, drum roll, here are all the critics opinions on all the plays – Playbill’s “the Verdict”


For good, comprehensive and current info:

Broadway Shows: What to See and How to Get Cheap Tickets (NYT)

finally, lot’s of useful info on TKTS discount tickets from the headout blog:

Everything You Need to Know About TKTS Broadway Tickets 

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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