Selected Events + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (06/22)

Selected West Side Events – SATURDAY, Jun. 22, 2013

For other useful NYCity event info be sure to check out :
“Notable Events-June”, “on Broadway”,  and “Top10 Free”, in the header above.
For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.

Paul Winter Consort Summer Solstice Concert
“This annual concert by the Paul Winter Consort is a musical greeting to summer. This year there will be a new configuration of the performance space, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine: audience members will be seated in the middle, with the band surrounding them.” (NYT)
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine,1047 Amsterdam Avenue, at 112th Street, Morningside Heights
From 4:30 to 6:30 a.m. / $35.
(212) 316-7540 /

Board the Ships in Hudson River Park
Get your sea legs.
“Those old ships along the West Side that you’ve always passed by with faint curiosity? Time to satisfy it: The Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79, Pegasus, and Lilac, all at Pier 25, are open to tours.” (NYMag)
Hudson River Park / noon to 5 p.m. Free.

Tropfest New York 2013
Music and film will be in full supply along with fresh air at this free festival in the Nethermead of Prospect Park, reachable from the 16th Street and Prospect Park Southwest entrance.

It begins at 3 p.m. with music by an assortment of indie bands, including Chairlift, Bear in Heaven and People Get Ready. As night falls, about 8 p.m., screenings of short films will begin; the actor Liev Schreiber is the host. It’s all free, but reservations are suggested and can be made at:;

American Ballet Theater*
“Of all the roles in the classical repertory, there are few that test a ballerina’s technical strength and dramatic range like Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake.” (Burke-NYT)
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center
at 7:30 p.m. / $20 to $245.
212-362-6000 /

Sharon Clark: ‘Then… and Again’
This veteran jazz singer from Baltimore is only now being discovered by audiences in New York. She doesn’t imitate Sarah Vaughan, but it’s hard to imagine any fans of the Divine One who wouldn’t also adore Ms. Clark.

Her second show at the Metropolitan this year ingeniously mixes songs with similar themes from multiple generations, leading to some juxtapositions that are so audacious as to be almost perverse: Count Basie’s “Li’l Darlin'” with the Beatles’ “Oh! Darlin’,” or Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean” with the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love.”

Ms. Clark continues to be woefully under-represented on CD, but there are some marvelous full-length concerts from earlier this year (filmed in Tel-Aviv and Afula) viewable on YouTube. I haven’t even mentioned the mash-up of Ravel (in the form of “The Lamp Is Low”) and Bob Marley (“Turn Your Lights Down Low”). (WSJ)
The Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St.
At 7pm / $20 + 2 drink minimum
(212) 206-0440 /

Jazz Piano Summit: Cedar Walton and Barry Harris* 
“Cedar Walton and Barry Harris, two of the leading pianists in the bebop lineage, both National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters and mentor-instructors besides, take their stations at a pair of nine-foot Steinways for this concert, dedicated to the memory of Mulgrew Miller, a beloved peer.

The evening, presented by Jazz Forum Arts as a part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival, will feature solo and duo piano elements, as well as the efforts of the bassist Buster Williams and the drummer Willie Jones III.” (Chinen-NYT)
Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center,
60th Street and Broadway
at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. / $55 to $95.
721-6500 /

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

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 and lite meals, 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.

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

“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.


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 – no reservations needed).

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 a few more PremierPubs and Good Eating places see previous Featured Neighborhoods in the right sidebar.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places and descriptions of my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods (plus 27 eating places with free Wi-Fi) order a copy of my e-book: “Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($3.99).

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