Featured Neighborhood: West Village (05/02)

Selected Events / West Village & Nearby

Ideas City Festival
“This multifaceted event, part of an initiative of the New Museum, promotes and is an exploration of cultural programs that benefit urban life. This year the theme is untapped capital, and programs will draw attention to underutilized resources. The festival begins with a conference on May 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, Seventh Street, at Third Avenue, East Village. On May 3, workshops will be held at the Old School, 233 Mott Street, at Spring Street. A street fair is planned on May 4 on the Lower East Side.”  — (ANNE MANCUSO, NYT)

Cooper Union Great Hall
Seventh Street, at Third Avenue
at various times / prices vary

PEN World Voices Festival
“Bravery is the theme of this year’s celebration of the written word, with readings and discussions around the city. On opening night, writers reading from their work will include Jamaica Kincaid (“See Now Then”); the Nigerian writer A. Igoni Barrett, whose short-story collection “Love Is Power, or Something Like That” will be released by Graywolf Press in May; and the Cambodian-born writer Vaddey Ratner (“In the Shadow of the Banyan”).  — (ANNE MANCUSO, NYT)

Cooper Union Great Hall
at various times and locations
$25, $20 for members and students
7 East Seventh Street, at Third Avenue
(212) 353-1660 / worldvoices.pen.org


Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker/W4th st)
8:30 – 11:30; no cover.
691-7538 / caffevivaldi.com

Michel Camilo
“Mr. Camilo, a fastidiously percussive Dominican pianist, has an album in the pipeline —  “What’s Up?” (OKeh), due out in a few weeks — that showcases his virtuoso flair in solitude. For this run he works in the more familiar context of a trio, enlisting two longtime colleagues, the drummer Cliff Almond and the bassist Lincoln Goines.” — (NATE CHINEN, NYT)

Blue Note, 131 West Third Street
between Macdougal Street and Avenue of the Americas
at 8 and 10:30 p.m.
$35 and $45 cover at tables, $20 and $30 at the bar
(212) 475-8592 / bluenote.net

Bill McHenry Quartet
“The tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry finds a place for rugged insight in this hard-driving but elastic band, featuring the pianist Orrin Evans, the bassist Eric Revis and the drummer Andrew Cyrille. Last year the group released “La Peur du Vide” (Sunnyside), an engrossing album recorded during a previous engagement in this room.” — (NATE CHINEN, NYT)

Village Vanguard
178 Seventh Avenue South. at West 11th Street
at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
$25 cover, with a one-drink minimum
(212) 255-4037 / villagevanguard.com

Steve Kuhn Trio 
“An erudite and lyrical pianist, Steve Kuhn recently released “Wisteria” (ECM), a relaxed but compelling excursion with the bassist Steve Swallow and the drummer Joey Baron. This week he has taken the helm of another trio, with Mr. Baron and the authoritative bassist Buster Williams.” — (NATE CHINEN, NYT)

315 West 44th Street
between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
at 8:30 and 11 p.m. / $30 and $40, with a $10 minimum
(212) 581-3080 / birdlandjazz.com ========================================================== 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 – West Village

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

Corner Bistro
331 W. 4th St.

Sometimes you just need a beer and a burger. If so, Corner Bistro is the place you want. Located just outside the hip Meatpacking district, this corner bar and grill is decidedly unhip, but it’s not uncrowded, especially at night. Seems that everyone knows this place has one of the better burgers in town.

In the maze of streets known as the West Village, where West 4th intersects with West 12th (and West 11th, and West 10th, go figure), you will eventually find Corner Bistro on the corner of West 4th and Jane Street. An unassuming neighborhood tavern, it looks just like dozens of other taverns around town. The bartender tells me that the Corner Bistro will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary next year. The well worn interior tells me that the place itself is much older.

Corner Bistro has outlasted many of those other taverns around town because they know how to keep it simple — just good burgers and beer, fairly priced. The classic bistro Burger is only $6.75, and should be ordered medium rare, which will be plenty rare for most folks. Actually, it will be a juicy, messy delight – make sure you have extra napkins. I like to pull up a stool and sit by the large front window in the afternoon, where I can rest my burger and beer on the shelf, and watch the Villagers walk by.

Corner Bistro seems to attract very different groups of patrons depending on time of day. While it’s crowded with locals in the evening,  in the afternoon you hear different foreign languages, and watch groups of euro tourists wander in, led by their guidebooks and smartphones.

For the classic Bistro experience, order your burger with a McSorley’s draft, the dark preferably. This is the same beer that you can get over at the original McSorley’s in the East Village, the pub that claims to be the oldest continually operating bar in NYCity. The only difference is that this McSorley’s ale is served with a smile by the bartenders here. Or you  can get a Sierra Nevada, Stella, or Hoegaarden on tap if you want to go upscale a bit. Either way this is a simple, but quality burger and beer experience that is just too rare these days (sorry for the pun).

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