Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (04/21)

Today’s “Fab 5”/ Selected NYCity Events – MONDAY, APR. 21, 2014.

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

Dan Levinson’s Jam Session of the Millennium—Encore!
“Last June, the first “Jam Session of the Millennium” proved to be one of the most memorable concerts of 2013. More than a dozen assorted trumpeters, clarinetists, trombonists etc.—most under the age of 30—proved to the world that the most exciting trend in music today is what has been called the New Hot Jazz, the music of New Orleans and the Roaring ’20s as played by musicians who are themselves in their 20s.

Once again shepherded by multi-reed player Dan Levinson (at 48, a role model for the movement), this “encore” concert promises to be every bit as thrilling, encompassing as it does the core group from the continuing all-night jam fests from Mona’s on Avenue B, with clarinetist Dennis Lichtman, guitarist Nick Russo, pianist Gordon Webster, and bassist Jared Engel. Most of the other heavy hitters are in the brass department: trumpeters Gordon Au and Mike Davis, trombonists Matt Musselman and Josh Holcomb.” (WSJ)
Symphony Space Peter Jay Sharpe Theatre, 2537 Broadway, at 95th St.
At 7:15 p.m. / $35, $25 for members

Public Forum: ‘How We Tell Stories — And Why’
“The powerful effects of personal narratives will be discussed by a panel that includes Frank Rich, a writer-at-large for New York Magazine; Scott Z. Burns, a writer and director whose play “The Library,” about a survivor of a high school shooting, opened this week at the Public Theater; and the play’s director, Steven Soderbergh. Jeremy McCarter, director of Public Forum, is the host.” (NYT)
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place,
At 8 p.m., / $40.

Jonny Lang (also April 22)
The Grammy winning, former prodigy instrumentalist, who topped the Billboard New Artist chart with his first album at age 15, stands now as a mature creative force, made more sensitive yet also toughened by life’s adventures. He’s learned what it means to rise above hard times and to find meaning where chaos seemed to rule.
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St.,
At 8PM / $55

Godzilla: The Japanese Original. Run! Run!
If you are an old boomer, one who grew up as a young boy in the late 1950’s, you won’t want to miss this one.

“Dubbed and heavily edited for its 1956 U.S. release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Ishiro Honda’s restored 1954 Gojira is a haunting, funereal work with an apocalyptic intensity. The 150-foot-tall monster is a scarcely disguised symbol of the atomic bomb, a fusion of ancient and modern nightmares summoned out of the dark forces of the world. This is no masterpiece, but it has the power of one.” (David Edelstein, NYMag)
Film Forum, April 18 through 24; schedule at

James Sanders
James Sanders discusses, and has an audio-visual presentation of, his book “Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York.” Revised and Expanded.
Barnes & Noble, 97 Warren St.

♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity is a big town with many visitors where quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.


Jetpack Joyride – Queens


“Robert Courter, wearing the Bell Rocket Belt at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, demonstrating the personal transportation of the future.” April 20, 2014

Every Sunday in the NYT Metropolitan section, a photographer offers a new slice of New York. A wonderful slice of life it is – Thanks NewYorkTimes: N.Y. / Region section


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, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
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:

Fish280 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. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Sq park. 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. ================================================================================

◊ 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 Fall 2014)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s