NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/22) + GallerySpecialExhibits: Chelsea

“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.”


Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do This:

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)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch: A Swingin’ Birdland Christmas
>> Yo La Tengo
>> Countdown 2020
>> Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice
>> Chris Botti Holiday Residency
>> Noy / Carlock / Patitucci Trio

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


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch: A Swingin’ Birdland Christmas
Birdland /5;30PM, $30
“Three Birdland mainstays—the clarion-voiced Klea Blackhurst, the waggish host Jim Caruso and the velvety pianist-crooner Billy Stritch—get into the swing of the holiday season with a jazzy set of Christmas classics.” (TONY)

at the Joyce Theater / 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; $85, may be a tough ticket, try another day.
“For a Christmas treat that’s more Cotton Club than winter wonderland, see “The Nutcracker Suite,” a new work by Michelle Dorrance, Hannah Heller and Josette Wiggan-Freund performed to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s effervescent rendition of Tchaikovsky’s score. This week, through Dec. 29, it’s paired with “Elastic Time,” an excerpt from last year’s “Elemental,” which was created by Dorrance and Nicholas Van Young. In it, sound comes from every part of the body in snaps, slaps and scats — all in the service of finding dynamic, surprising rhythms.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Yo La Tengo (Dec.22-29)
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St./ 8PM, $50, may be  a tough ticket, try Dec.24.
“In 2017, Yo La Tengo brought its eight-night Hanukkah showcase to New York after a five-year hiatus. In doing so, the band wasn’t just rekindling the popular celebration it had originally started in Hoboken—it was giving the city a new tradition, which now doubles as a variety show packed with comedians and special performers. Last year’s events included John Oliver, Perfume Genius, and an unexpected Strangeloves reunion; the 2019 guest list is still under wraps, but there are surprises guaranteed every night.” (Julyssa Lopez, NewYorker)

Countdown 2020 (Dec.19-25)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway / 7, 9, 10:30PM, $45
“Musicians have been celebrating the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane since well before his untimely death, in 1967. Countdown 2020, a nearly monthlong tribute to the post-bop genius, continues with Countdown Quintet II (Dec. 19-22), featuring a pair of passionate tenor saxophonists, Eric Alexander and George Coleman, and Countdown Quartet III (Dec. 23-25), which joins Alexander with the pianist George Cables and the drummer Al Foster.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice (LAST DAY)
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)

Chris Botti Holiday Residency
Blue Note / 8PM, +10:30PM, $55-$95, may be a tough ticket, try the late set
“This trumpet players’s skills are actually as good as his telegenic looks, even if he rarely puts them to use playing the kind of bop he cut his teeth on. A consummate showman, Botti presents his blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles-ian ballads and assorted pop and classical chestnuts at the Blue Note for his 13th annual holiday residency.” (TONY)

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)


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

Continuing Events

NYC holiday markets – five to explore.  (Newsday)


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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 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)



12/22-25 Yo La Tengo – 8 Nights of Hanukkah, Bowery Ballroom

Fall Concerts (

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.”

♦ 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.


Chelsea Art Gallery District*

Chelsea is the heart of the NYCity contemporary art scene. Home to more than 300 art galleries, the Rubin Museum, the Joyce Theater and The Kitchen performance spaces, there is no place like it anywhere in the world. Come here to browse free exhibitions by world-renowned artists and those unknowns waiting to be discovered in an art district that is concentrated between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. Afterwards stop in the Chelsea Market, stroll on the High Line, or rest up at one of the many cafes and bars and discuss the fine art.

Here are three exhibitions the Vulture (NY Magazine) likes:

One Hundred Drawings (thru Jan.18)
New work from Jasper Johns.
“Matthew Marks curates exhibitions as well or better than most museums.
Witness the dazzling, harmonic optical convergence of 100 drawings spanning three centuries, starting with a Degas from 1859-60 and a late-19th-century ink-and-gouache drawing of a tiger hunt with elephants from northern India. Pros will be astounded at unearthed treasures; art lovers are guaranteed to be transported, surprised, enraptured, and enriched.” —Jerry Saltz
Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street,

See Jordy Kerwick
Beautifully bizarre.
“This gallery right in the belly of the Chelsea beast deserves more attention. Currently there are the oddities of painter Jordy Kerwick, who gives us strange still-lifes of flowers in vases that sit on art books. Your eye zooms in on the florals, the text on book jackets, then gets completely bombarded by the vibrant color, primitive but wonderful touch, and collaged bits.” —Jerry Saltz
Anna Zorina Gallery, 532 West 24th Street, through January 18.

Ugo Rondinone
A tribute to his love.
“Ugo Rondinone honors his late husband, the legendary poet and former Andy Warhol superstar John Giorno. In a multichannel video installation, Giorno reads a poem speaking to all his friends, lovers, and enemies from the grave. It is as riveting as it is beautiful, filled with love, irony, and triple-edged intensity. He wishes everyone more sex, more drugs, more revelations of life. Amen, poet.” —J.S.
Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st Street, through January 18.


For a listing of 25 essential galleries in the Chelsea Art Gallery District, organized by street, which enables you to create your own Chelsea Art Gallery crawl, see the Chelsea Gallery Guide ( Or check out TONY magazine’s list of the “Best Chelsea Galleries” and click through to see what’s on view.

*Now plan your own gallery crawl, but better plan your visits for Tuesday through Saturday; most galleries are closed Sunday and Monday.

TIP: After your gallery tour, stop in Ovest at 513W27th St. for Aperitivo Italiano (Happy Hour on steroids). Discuss all the great art you have viewed over a drink and a very tasty selection of FREE appetizers (M-F, 5-8pm). OR try this NYT recommendation: “When you’re done, adjourn to the newly renovated Bottino , the Chelsea art world’s unofficial canteen on 10th Avenue (btw 24/25 St.) “

For other selected Museum and Gallery Special Exhibitions see recent posts in right sidebar dated 12/20 and 12/18.

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)


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

and, drum roll, here are all the media 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


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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