Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (04/26)

Tonight’s Music  / Greenwich Village

JEM WARREN
“Jem Warren, a New York–based singer-songwriter grounded in acoustic guitar, keeps a diary of his life experiences in the form of song. He poetically expresses his perceptions of his world writing about everything from love and nature to politics and religion.

Jem is a regular in the music scene and performs at Rockwood Music Hall, The Living Room, The Bowery Electric, The Bitter End and has a monthly residency at Cafe Vivaldi. Jem continues to engage and affect audiences with his profound lyrical fragility, genuine storytelling and his melodic, haunting and hypnotic style.”

Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker/W4th)
8:30 – 9:30; no cover.
691-7538 / caffevivaldi.com

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Kendra Shank
Kendra Shank…Voice, Ben Monder…Guitar, Dean Johnson…Bass, Tony Moreno…Drums
(Last Friday of Every Month)

“Delectable…” -TIME magazine “Ms. Shank is a risk taker who ventures fearlessly onto the high wire. Her jagged phrasing, willingness to stretch and manipulate time and her refusal to resolve phrases in conventional ways give her singing genuine originality.” – ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Entrancing…” – VILLAGE VOICE

55 Bar – 55 Christopher st (btw. 7th ave S/Waverly place)
10pm; $10 cover, with a two-drink minimum.
929-9883 / 55bar.com

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Shakespeare Birthday Celebration
“The 449th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth — the actual day is April 23 — will be celebrated with an evening of readings and discussions with actors, scholars and others. James Shapiro, a Shakespeare scholar at Columbia University, will talk about Shakespeare and his sonnets; the actor Sam Waterston, who played King Lear in a 2011 production at the Public Theater, will then read some sonnets and discuss their significance to him; and Kathryn Schulz, the book critic of New York Magazine, will be part of a discussion about the influence of Shakespeare on contemporary literature. The evening will also feature Téa Obreht, author of “The Tiger’s Wife,” who will read a new poem influenced by Shakespeare’s sonnets.” — (ANNE MANCUSO, NYT)

Joe’s Pub
at 7 p.m. / $30.50, $24 for members
425 Lafayette Street, btw East Fourth Street and Astor Place
(212) 967-7555 / joespub.com

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Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm dates and check times, as schedules are subject to change.

A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, wine bars, cocktail lounges,  tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.

Caffe Vivaldi
32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker/W4th)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’ ”.

Each night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of wines, fairly priced, but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. I should note that their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYC will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30pm – 11pm, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11am-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher st
Walk 1 blk S on 7th ave S to Bleecker st, 1 blk S/left on Bleecker to Jones st, 50 yards E/left on Jones st to Caffe V

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3 Good Eating places 
It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $8 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S (corner of Bleecker)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang – 21 E 12th st (btw. University place/5th ave)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

The focus for “3 Good Eating places” is on Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style
(pizza,  burgers,  food trucks/carts,  vegetarian/falafel,  soup & sandwiches,  salad bars,  hot dogs,  bbq,  picnic fixins’,  raw bars & lobster rolls)
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There are also some casual dining, chain restaurant locations in this neighborhood that have decent food and free Wi-FI:

A. Pret a Manger @ 821 Broadway (betw 12/13 st)
Subway: #1/2/3 to 42nd st; transfer to n/q/r to 14th st/union sq
B. Potbelly @ 41 W14th st (betw 5th/6th ave)
Subway: #1/2/3 to 14th st
C. Cosi @ 53 E 8th st (betw greene/mercer)
Subway: #1/2/3 to 42nd st; transfer to n/r to 8th st

For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places and extended descriptions of 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide”.

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