Birdland is the second-grandest dedicated facility in the city for jazz, after Jazz at Lincoln Center (also reviewed on this website). The huge, 4,000-square-foot amphitheater has dignified gray carpets covering both the floors and walls, and is decorated throughout with black-and-white pictures of the great jazz performers. Though this is not the original Birdland where Coltrane played, it still presents top acts. In fact, if your idea of jazz is a small battalion of men blowing horns, this is where to come, as the large space is able to accommodate big bands that other venues (other than the concert halls around town) simply can’t fit. My favorite night is Monday, when Jim Caruso’s Cast Party takes place, and Broadway stars from nearby theaters stop by to sing standards and trade wisecracks.
- Pauline Frommer