NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/20) + 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:  “January 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:

34th Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music / 10:30AM
“This full day of free events commemorating King’s legacy will feature a keynote speech by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a domestic correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, focusing on racial injustice. The musical performers include Son Little and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir. As usual, free tickets will be distributed on a first come, first seated basis.” (NYT)
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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Natalie Douglas: Tributes – Ella Fitzgerald.
>> Harlem Gospel Choir celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day
>> The Glorious Death of Comrade What’s-His-Name
>> Beth Leavel: It’s Not About Me
>> The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
>> MLK & Mary Shelley

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Natalie Douglas: Tributes – Ella Fitzgerald.
Birdland / 7PM, $35
“The Broadway at Birdland concert series is proud to announce that singer Natalie Douglas will return to the historic music room with more “Tributes!” On Monday, January 20 at 7pm, she will celebrate the music and magic of the one and Ella Fitzgerald.

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, – will return to her home perch at Birdland Jazz Club with a new monthly residency as part of Jim Caruso’s Broadway at Birdland Series with another edition of her hit series entitled “TRIBUTES.” One Monday each month, Natalie will perform a new tribute show.”

Harlem Gospel Choir celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Sony Hall / 12:30PM, $35
“The Harlem Gospel Choir will mark the day joyfully with a concert featuring the sounds and singers from Harlem’s black churches. The choir itself was founded in 1986 when its founder Allen Bailey attended a celebration in honor of MLK at the Cotton Club.” (TONY)

The Glorious Death of Comrade What’s-His-Name
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 9:30PM, $45+
“A miserable man in Stalin’s Soviet Union contemplates ending it all—as his communist friends and neighbors try to capitalize on his demise—in this one-night concert of a musical by David Bridel, Simon Gray and Raymond Bokhour. The cast, directed by Don Stephenson, includes Bokhour, Drew McVety, Jim Borstelmann, John Jellison and Madeleine Doherty.” (TONY)

Beth Leavel: It’s Not About Me (LAST DAY)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $85
“The gutsy, funny Tony-winning star of The Drowsy Chaperone (and survivor of Baby, It’s You!) does her Leavel best to entertain in a show that surveys the ups and downs of her three-decade career onstage.” (TONY)

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave. South (btw W11th/Perry St.) / 8:30PM +10:30PM, $35
“World class big band with 16 members on that small stage, a monday night institution.
“Almost exactly half a century ago, the trumpeter-composer-arranger Thad Jones and the drummer Mel Lewis began their Monday-night big band residency at the Village Vanguard, establishing what became a hallowed tradition.” (NYT)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party (Cabaret)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St. (btw 8/9 ave) / 9:30PM, $20-$30
“The witty host attracts broadway stars on their night off, along with up and comers.”
“Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

MLK & Mary Shelley
Patricia Kim at Federal Hall / 2PM, FREE, but RSVP to reserve a seat.
“Social worker/professor Patricia Kim hosts a Think Olio session that looks at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observations on society through the lens of Frankenstein. MLK Day is a perfect time to consider “our obligation to remain maladjusted to racism, religious bigotry, economic inequality, and violence.” (ThoughtGallery)


Continuing Events

COMING SOON.

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

1/21 Temples, Webster Hall
1/22 Rufus Wainwright, Alice Tully Hall, NYC
1/22 J Roddy Walston, The Bowery Ballroom
1/22 Toshi Reagon, Joe’s Pub

Fall Concerts (nycgo.com)

David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway
LAST DAY
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: 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 Triad – 158 W72nd Street (btw Amsterdam/Columbus Ave.)

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher 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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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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