Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (11/26)

Today’s “Fab 5” / Selected NYCity Events – TUESDAY, NOV. 26, 2013

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

Tasting Tuesdays – Holiday Shops Tasting Tour
Join us for the Tasting Tuesdays Tour at the Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops!

Participants will receive a handy map and embark on a self-guided tour for nibbles and sips throughout the park. All participants are eligible to receive a gift certificate at the end of their tour, while supplies last.
Holiday Shops at Winter Village
Please sign up for your wristband and map at our check-in table at the Rink Entrance.
4:30pm – 6:00pm | Rink Entrance
Limit one gift certificate per person, maximum of two gift certificates per family.

Julie Klausner: Too Gay for Brooklyn
“Author and funny lady Julie Klausner, host of the brilliant How Was Your Week? podcast—essential listening for NYC gays…or anyone, really—returns to Joe’s Pub with a collection of witty observations and surprisingly well-sung musical numbers.”
(TONY mag)
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St, Greenwich Village
between Astor Pl and E 4th St
At 7:30PM / $25 plus two-drink minimum
212-539-8778 /

Conversation with Robert Stone and Rachel Kushner 
Two noted fiction writers — Robert Stone, a National Book Award winner for fiction in 1975 for “Dog Soldiers,” and Rachel Kushner, whose novel “Telex From Cuba” was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, will talk about their latest works. Mr. Stone’s “Death of the Black-Haired Girl” was released this month, and Ms. Kushner’s “The Flamethrowers” was released in the spring.” (NYT)
Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway, at 12th Street,
At 7 p.m. / purchase of a book or a gift card of $15 required

“The Irish troubadour has spent more than forty years fusing folk, rock, jazz, and soul into his own distinctive sound. His songwriting is sui generis—poetic, prickly, introspective, and spiritual, with an emphasis on instrumental interplay that recalls the music of such past giants as Louis Armstrong and James Brown. Last year Morrison released his umpteenth album, “Born to Sing: No Plan B,” and this fall saw the reissue of his 1970 album, “Moondance,” in vastly expanded form. He’s not always warm and engaging in concert, but he’s always Van Morrison.” (NewYorker mag)
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, at 74th Street,
at 8 p.m./ $69.50 to $250.
(212) 465-6500,

Dave Holland’s Prism* (through Nov. 30)
“The bassist-bandleader Dave Holland digs back into knockabout jazz-funk mode with “Prism,” his potent new album, which features a famous old colleague, the guitarist Kevin Eubanks, along with the brilliant pianist Craig Taborn and the indomitable drummer Eric Harland. And there’s every reason to believe that this engagement, which follows a long stretch on the road, will showcase the band even more emphatically.” (Chinen – NYT)
Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton,
At 8:30 and 11 p.m./ $40, with a $10 minimum
(212) 581-3080,

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 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.

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, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges  – 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.

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.

“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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