Selected Events Manhattan’s WestSide + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (05/07)

Today’s “Fab 5”+1/ Selected NYCity Events – WEDNESDAY, MAY 07, 2014.

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

Beat The Streets Wrestling
Beat the Streets and USA Wrestling present the highly-anticipated Team USA vs. The World All-Stars international wrestling competition at New York’s Times Square. This event features top U.S. competitors against a World All-Star team featuring select wrestlers from across the world. The purpose of this event is to elevate the profile of the great sport of wrestling and to raise funds to support the operation of over 140 youth development wrestling programs in New York City, serving nearly 3,000 student-athletes.

Beat The Streets Wrestling Schedule
4:00 p.m. – Beat the Streets Exhibition Matches
5:30 p.m. – World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. The World
Times Square at 43rd Street

The 3rd Annual Village Voice Choice Streets Food Truck Event
Returning for a third voyage on the Intrepid, The Village Voice presents their third annual Choice Streets Food Truck tasting event on May 7, 2014 (rain date May 9) from 7:00 – 11:00 PM. 1,300 ticket holders will be presented with a exclusive tasting passport to gain access to over 20 of some of the city’s favorite and highly sought-after food trucks.

Set amid the backdrop of the New York Landmark — The Intrepid — attendees will feast on Pier 86 and enjoy and evening of fabulous food, complimentary drinks, free tour of the Intrepid ship and an amazing view of New York City. Only guests ages 21 and over admitted.

Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival (through May 9)
“This multi-venue event (started May 4) pays homage to legendary Harlem venues past and present such as Minton’s, Monroe’s Uptown House, Small’s Paradise and the Apollo Theater.

There’ll be jam sessions hosted by Christian Sands and Antonio Hart, discussions of the legacies of Charlie Parker and James Baldwin, big bands led by Cecil Bridgewater, Bobby Sanabria and Arturo O’Farrill, and a free (yes, free) concert by the Vijay Iyer Trio at Aaron Davis Hall (May 9). The Harlem Stage Gatehouse also promises two intriguing nights with pianists Aruán Ortiz and Manuel Valera (May 7) and trumpeter Christian aTunde Adjuah (May 8).” (Village Voice)
A full schedule is at
Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue, at 135th Street, Hamilton Heights
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. /  $10 in advance

Hillary Gardner with Joe Alterman Jazz Trio
Hillary is one of my fave NYCity jazz singers. But it’s not just me.
This is what Terry Teachout, author of “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong” and ”Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington” has to say:
“…an absolutely first-class singer. She swings effortlessly without making a big deal of it, and she has a knack for hunting down off-center tunes…Yet she’s just as adept at making something fresh and surprising out of an oft-heard chestnut.”

Tonight she is backed by JoeAlterman – “When listening to Joe Alterman perform, it is obvious that he has studied the history of jazz piano. However, his own style of playing is appealing, challenging and quite satisfying.”—Ramsey Lewis.
Don’t miss this performance in a classic Greenwich Village club.
Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones St., just S of BleeckerSt./7th Ave.S intersection
@ 8:30 pm / Never a Cover
1 (212) 691-7538 /
subway: #1 to Christopher St./Sheridan Sq.

Sheila Jordan
“Ms. Jordan, 85, is a highly accomplished and exploratory singer — she was recently anointed a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts — whose approach to jazz skews nearly kaleidoscopic.” (Chinen)
Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton,
At 8:30 and 11 p.m. / $40 cover, with a $10 minimum.

Watch the Film While You Taste the Burgers You See on the Screen –
Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick St, NYC
6:30 pm / $45
Ticket link:

Screening of Hamburger America, hosted by George Motz
Taste 3 Burgers featured in the film
Q&A with with George
After party
10 years ago, George Motz released the film Hamburger America, which spotlights 8 different American Burger joints with a focus on the story behind their burgers. That film went on to become the Hamburger America book, that in it‘s 2nd printing offers a “state by state guide to 150 great burger joints.”

♦ 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.

The Week That Was in NYCity
(courtesy NYPost, with the most unique front/back pages anywhere)

front5-1      may-2-back

0504f      0503f


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)

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