Selected Events (01/18) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SUNDAY, JAN. 18, 2015.
“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.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in Harlem    —  
Special Event  (3pm)

Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden   —  SportingLife / Rodeo  (1pm)  

‘Gangs of Wasseypur’    SmartStuff/  Film   (12pm)  (6:15pm)

Mark Strand Memorial —  SmartStuff/ Readings   (5pm) 

Ramsey Lewis Trio  —  Jazz   (8pm)  (10:30pm)

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

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in Harlem
“At this ninth annual event, sponsored by WNYC and the Apollo Theater, the hosts, Brian Lehrer of WNYC and Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC, will discuss the history behind and challenges to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This year’s event is titled “Hear Our Voices, Count Our Votes: MLK’s March Continues.” This free celebration will include a conversation between Mr. Lehrer and Representative Charles B. Rangel, as well as appearances by Rita L. Bender, a lawyer and the widow of Michael Schwerner, one of the three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi in 1964, and Darryl Pinckney, author of “Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy.”

Three civil rights activists who died last year will also be honored: Ruby Dee, the theater and film actress; Maya Angelou, the memoirist, poet and stage actress; and Yuri Kochiyama, who befriended Malcolm X and spent two years in an internment camp during World War II. While the event is free, reservations are required, though online registration has closed. For those who were unable to register online, a standby line will form before the event.” (NYT)
Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, Harlem,
At 3 p.m. / FREE

Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden
“For the ninth year in a row, Madison Square Garden is transformed, as 1.5 million pounds of dirt covers the floor that typically hosts Rangers and Knicks games this time of year. As part of the Built Ford Tough Series, the top thirty-five athletes of the Professional Bull Riders try to wrangle eight seconds of perilous glory. The three-time event winner J. B. Mauney returns for a chance to defend his title, in the company of other veteran riders, including his fellow-champions Silvano Alves, Renato Nunes, Kody Lostroh, Guilherme Marchi, and Mike Lee.” (NewYorker)
Madison Square Garden, Seventh Ave. at 33rd St., Midtown
1pm / $25-$200

‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (through Jan.22)
“Previous screenings of this 2012 Indian film have been scarce in New York, which finally hosts a full theatrical run of the multigenerational gangster epic: The subcontinental “Godfather.” The film chronicles seven decades of conflict between warring clans in the coal capital of Wasseypur. The cinematic sweep also reflects the history of 20th-century India, shot through with intense, explosive displays of filmmaking verve.” NYT

“A dizzying explosion of an Indian gangster film, whose epic structure and colorful, immoral killers capture the imagination for over five hours.”—Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Film Society of Lincoln Center, 144 W. 65th St.
12pm + 6:15pm / $14, $9 seniors
(212) 875-5610

Mark Strand Memorial
“The U.S. Poets Laureate Charles Simic and Charles Wright, the actor Mary-Louise Parker, the painter William H. Bailey, the composer and pianist John Musto, the playwright John Guare, the novelist Francine Prose, and others pay tribute to the former U.S. Poet Laureate and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, who died this past November. Strand’s family will host the evening.” (NewYorker)
American Academy of Arts and Letters, 632 W. 156th St.
5pm / FREE

Ramsey Lewis Trio
“In 1965, the funky hit “The In Crowd” established the Ramsey Lewis Trio as the swingin’est thing to come out of Chicago since “Playboy” magazine. The title track remains one of the most immediately recognizable of all jazz hit singles—fully as memorable as “Take Five” or “Cast Your Fate to the Wind”—but people tend to forget that the rest of that best-selling album is every bit as funky and unforgettable. There’s also the slow blues ballad “Since I Fell for You” and the starkly romantic “ Spartacus Love Theme,” while the “Tennessee Waltz” and “Felicidade” show that the trio were capable of getting furiously funky even in ¾ time or to a Brazilian beat. Fifty years later, Mr. Lewis’s s trio is the still the crowd that you want to get “in” with.” (WSJ)
The Blue Note, 131 W. Third St.,
8pm and 10:30pm / $30, $45
(212) 475-8592

♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity (pop. 8.4 million) had 54 million visitors last year and 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, soup & sandwiches, picnic fixins’, raw bars & lobster rolls, bbq, vegetarian / falafel, ramen, chopped salad & salad bars. No reservations needed. ================================================================================

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, with expanded descriptions, maps with contact info, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($3.99, available Spring 2015).
◊ Order before May 31, 2015 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places on Manhattan’s WestSide with free Wi-Fi.


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