Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (09/27)

Today’s “Fab 4”/ Selected NYCity Events – FRIDAY, SEPT 27, 2013

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide check out:
♦ “Notable Events-Oct.”, “on Broadway”, and “Top10 Free” in the header above.
♦  For NYCity trip planning see links in “Resources” and “Smart Stuff” in the header above.

Dumbo Arts Festival (through Sunday)
This annual event features indoor and outdoor art installations, as well as music and dance performances in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. Area artists will also be opening their studio doors for tours. Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.; nightly projections are planned from sundown to midnight. More information: dumboartsfestival.coms

subway: #2-3 express to Clark St.; walk W on Clark to the spectacular Bklyn Heights promenade; walk N along the promenade, continuing on Furman St. to Water St. and Dumbo (maybe 15 minutes)

Melissa Aldana & the Crash Trio*
“A couple of weeks ago Melissa Aldana, a 24-year-old tenor saxophonist originally from Santiago, Chile, and now living in New York, won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, becoming the first female musician to do so. So this one-nighter will probably have the air of a victory lap — or at least a triumphant homecoming, given that the Jazz Gallery has been a kind of second home for her. She leads her Crash Trio, with Pablo Menares on bass and Francisco Mela on drums.” $20, $10 for members.” (Nate Chinen-NYT)
Jazz Gallery at Salt Space, 1160 Broadway, fifth floor, at West 27th St.
At 9 and 10:30 p.m./$20, $10 for members.
242-1063, jazzgallery.org

Fall for Dance Festival (through Oct. 5)
New York City Center is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Fall for Dance Festival with a very special season featuring performances by 20 acclaimed dance companies and artists from around the world. The Festival’s five unique programs offer an exciting mix of treasured favorites and undiscovered gems. Highlights include three new works commissioned by City Center in celebration of the 10th anniversary.
City Center, 131 West 55th St.
At 8 p.m./ $15*
581-1212, nycitycenter.org

*Unfortunately, presales are sold out. Tickets returned to the Box Office will be made available for sale starting at 6:30pm on the day of the performance. A maximum of two tickets per customer may be purchased on a first come, first served basis.
Next year buy tickets (only $15) when they go on sale. This year they went on sale Sunday, Sept. 8 at 11 AM. Mark your calendar.

Barry Altschul and the 3dom Factor*
“The drummer Barry Altschul, who turned 70 this year, has been a stealth eminence in jazz — known mainly within the avant-garde, and for music he made many years ago. But that’s changing, thanks to work like “The 3dom Factor” (Tum), his first album as a leader since the mid-’80s, which features the youngish saxophonist Jon Irabagon, who has been one agent of Mr. Altschul’s recent re-emergence, and the veteran bassist Joe Fonda, who has been another. $10 cover, with a $10 minimum.” (Chinen-NYT)
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village
At 9 and 10:30 p.m./ $10 cover, with a $10 minimum
(212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com

Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm dates and check times, as schedules are subject to change.
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A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

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

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.

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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“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.
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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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.

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“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
That covers a wide range of food – pizza,  burgers,  food trucks/carts,  vegetarian/falafel,  ramen,  chopped salad & salad bars,  hot dogs,  bbq,  soup & sandwiches,  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, provide a good hotel breakfast alternative, and have 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 casual dining places with free Wi-Fi) order a copy of my e-book: “Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($3.99).
(available Winter 2013)

 
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