Saturday, May 14, 2016

NYC 2016: Jazz Clubs, Plays, and Bars

Here are a few fun nightspots that we visited.

Dizzy's Jazz Club

Sitting on a high floor at Columbus Circle overlooking Central Park, this jazz club was fabulous!
 We saw the 9:30 show of the Julliard Jazz Orchestra which was great.
 Another band, Sammy Miller and the Congregation Big Band, started at 11:30 and they were fabulous!
 We also saw the Kenny Barron Trio at the Jazz Standard.  This too was a fantastic venue with a fantastic band.  The standout here was Johnathan Blake the drummer who did an absolutely astounding drum solo.  This man is going places!

Kenny Barron (piano) and Kiyoshi Kitagawa (drums) were also fantastic.
 We saw Peter Bernstein at the Village Vanguard, a venue with a great reputation.  My only complaint is that we were packed like sardines in there.  it was shoulder to shoulder!  But Peter was great and I enjoyed his between-song banter also.
 On the recommendation of a friend we stopped into the Fat Cat jazz club late one night.  We actually kind of stumbled into it looking for something to do, but once we were inside it dawned on me it was recommended to us.  It is basically a bar with a huge game room and a jazz band playing on one side of the room.  It sounds strange, but it really worked!
 Look at the smiles of the folks in these photos.

 A very fun night.
 My wife heading back to the room after the Fat Cat club, well after midnight.
 We also saw a play while in NYC - that's a must during a visit!  We saw "A Long Day's Journey Into Night" by Eugene O'Neill.  It was enjoyable, but LONG...3 hours and 45 minutes!  On the plus side, it starred Jessica Lange and we could bring glasses of wine back to our seat.  Those two things helped considerably!
 And I can't talk about the nightlife without mentioning the Russian Vodka Room / Piano Lounge.  This place is awesome.  The Pavarotti style Russian singing really lit up the place, and we stayed much longer than we planned.  We even tried to go back another night but the place was so packed we couldn't even get in the door - and this was on a Monday night...late!
 We encountered this scene after midnight one night.
 Another place we had a blast is called the Blue Bar.  We were actually heading to the place next door, but the Blue Bar looked so fun we changed plans and went in.  We were glad we did.  That bar is stunning!
 We each had three drinks and made friends with two young women about to graduate from Columbia University in nursing.  It was a fun conversation.

One warning:  drinks are expensive here!  Those six drinks were $130.
 On the way to the Jazz Standard, we encountered this.
 This is the Orthodox Serbian Cathedral of Saint Sava, constructed 1850-1855.
 Fire devastated this building on May 1, 2016.  Just days before we walked by.
 The parishioners had spent $4M repairing the church during the prior decade.  It is a very sad site today.
 I've seen photos taken before the fire - it was spectacular.  They are still deciding where to go from here.
 Walking back to the subway after being at the Jazz Standard, we stumbled across this view of the Empire State Building.  Awesome!
On a recommendation, we also went to Hurley's Bar.  It was very large, but not really our style.  The sports channels were blaring in the background.  We don't mind sports on the displays, but we'd prefer to hear music in the background.   So we left.

Finally, we had a couple of drinks at Smith's one afternoon.  It was a great place - nice rock music playing, reasonably priced drinks, and what appeared to be good bar food though we didn't have any.  Another great place to visit.

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