Selected Events + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village (10/04)

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SATURDAY, OCT. 04, 2014
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to. We make it as easy as 1-2-3.”

Ancient Chinese Arts Today: Ribbon Dancing
Children will discover the art and athleticism of ribbon dancing, a thousand-year-old art that is performed during times of celebration in China. This tradition has now spread far beyond the borders of China and is being enjoyed by people all across the globe. Families will explore the fascinating history of trade and immigration between China and the United States in the exhibition Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion and take part in keeping the ancient art of ribbon dancing alive through a class led by a professional dancer from the New York Chinese Cultural Center. During the lesson, children will learn ribbon dancing techniques along with some simple Chinese vocabulary.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West
Adults $19; Children $15 / 2:00pm

Cosi Fan Tutte
Love and Seduction.

Ferrando and Guglielmo two young officers discuss the true faithfulmess of their fiancees, Fiordilgo and Dorabella. A cynical man, Don Alfonso, joins in their conversation and bets them that if they give him one day’s time, he can prove to them that all women are fickle.
The production directed by Tony-nominated Hope Clarke will feature Martin Bakari as Ferrando, Anthony Turner as Guglielmo and Stefan Szkafarowsky as the manipulative Don Alfonso. The performance will be staged with orchestra.
Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th Street & Convent Ave.
$25 / 7:00pm

‘Irish Film New York’ (through Sunday)
Here is something for a rainy day.
“A day devoted to the career of the director Jim Sheridan is a highlight of this festival.  A discussion with Mr. Sheridan, on Saturday at 7 p.m., will be followed by a screening of “In America” (2002), and preceded by “My Left Foot” (1989), at 1 p.m., and “In the Name of the Father” (1993), at 3:30 p.m. Other films at the festival include “Love Eternal,” by Brendan Muldowney (Saturday at 6 p.m.); and “Out of Here,” by Donal Foreman (Sunday at 7 p.m.). A schedule is at; screenings are $12, $10 for students, $8 for New York University students and members; festival passes are $50, $40 for members and students. Tickets to Saturday’s talk, $15, include the post-discussion screening.” (NYT)
Cantor Film Center, 36 East Eighth Street, Greenwich Village

Chick Corea & the Vigil (through Sunday)
With “The Vigil,” released last year, the keyboardist Chick Corea began another chapter in his fusion odyssey, exploring mytho-cosmic themes with an ace young band. This run will likewise feature the guitarist Charles Altura, the saxophonist Tim Garland, the bassist Carlitos Del Puerto, the drummer Marcus Gilmore and the percussionist Luisito Quintero.” (Chinen-NYT)
Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, Greenwich Village,
At 8 and 10:30 p.m. / $65 and $75 cover at tables, $45 at the bar, with a $5 minimum.

Elsewhere, but looks worth the detour:

“¡Viva Brooklyn!”
“The Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturdays programs start each month with an evening of free activities and entertainment. The next one is a celebration of the borough’s Latino communities.

Highlights include live music by Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and his youth orchestra, Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, La Mecánica Popular, and Los Rakas; interactive performances by the artists Miguel Luciano, who’s showing “Pimp My Piragua,” his mobile art project commemorating Latino street venders, and Caecilia Tripp, who will present her project “Music for (Prepared) Bicycles”’; dance by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana; a pop-up social club featuring specialty cocktails and offering salsa and rhumba lessons, provided by Global Rhythms; and an interactive mural by the artist Don Rimx, presented by Brooklyn Street Art.

There will also be gallery talks by Latino artists, a hands-on Mayan art class, and a lecture by the filmmaker William Caballero.” (NewYorker)
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway.

♦ 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.

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’ ”.

maxresdefaultEach 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. 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. $9 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”
This covers a wide range of food – the traditional pizza, burgers, & hot dogs; but also food trucks / carts, bbq, soup & sandwiches, picnic fixins’, raw bars & lobster rolls, vegetarian / falafel, ramen, chopped salad & salad bars – – no reservations needed. ================================================================================

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places and descriptions of my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods order a copy of my e-book: “Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($3.99, available Fall 2014).

Order before December 31, 2014 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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