Selected Events (03/19) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – THURSDAY, MAR. 19, 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.”

New Directors/New Films Festival    Film   (various times)   

The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley   —  SmartStuff/ Book Talk  (6pm)  [FREE]

Ben Vereen —  Cabaret   (7pm)    

Asia Week New York   —  SmartStuff/ Museums    (various times)

Perfume Genius  —  Pop / Rock    (7pm)   

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:

♦ “9 Notable Events-Mar.”, 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: nyc123blog.wordpress.com
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New Directors/New Films (March 18–29)
@mx_470“Co-curated by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, this yearly festival celebrates the most innovative voices in filmmaking. Now in its 44th year, the festival has helped ignite countless careers, including those of Pedro Almodóvar, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky and Wong Kar-wai.

Explore new works by the next generation of auteurs, including France’s Sarah Leonor (The Great Man), Ukraine’s Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (The Tribe) and the United States’ very own Charles Poekel (Christmas, Again) and Rick Alverson (Entertainment).” (nycgo.com)

The Festival started yesterday and will screen 26 international features and 16 short films.
One of the features that makes this festival unique is the extended Q&A available after most screenings with the director and cast.
FilmSocietyLincolnCenterfilmlinc.com
MoMAmoma.org
$16

The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley
and the Rebirth of the Great American Song
Z“Acclaimed cultural historian Ben Yagoda discusses his new book, The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song. Drawing on previously untapped archival sources and interviews with great artists, including Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb, Linda Ronstadt and Herb Alpert, Yagoda illuminates the broad musical trends of the 1950s: the battle between ASCAP and Broadcast Music, Inc.; the revolution in jazz after World War II; the impact of music on radio and then television; and the influence and popularity of the incomparable Frank Sinatra.” (ThoughtGallery.org)
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza
212-870-1600
6 pm / FREE

Ben Vereen (through March 22)
52632-Vereen-newheadtotoe-original“The multi-talented actor, singer, and dancer perfected his craft with such masters as Bob Fosse, with whom he worked in “Sweet Charity,” “Pippin,” and the film “All That Jazz.” A Tony Award winner, Vereen is old school in the best sense; he’s out to give it his all, and won’t leave the stage until he’s done so.” (NewYorker)
54 Below, 254 W. 54th St.
7pm / $55
646-476-3551.

Asia Week New York (March 13–21)
Almost missed this, but there is still time.
“For nine days, Asian art and culture take over New York City. Among the 21 local museums, galleries and cultural institutions participating (a handful of out-of-towners will join them) are the Brooklyn Museum, the Noguchi Museum, the Museum of Chinese in America and the Rubin Museum of Art. The venues will show works from the region; five major auction houses in the area will conduct sales; and art dealers from around the world will display their collections during open houses throughout the week. There will also be a full schedule of films, lectures, symposia, curator talks and tours.” (nycgo.com)

Perfume Genius
Bewitching crooner wafts through town.
imgres“Mike Hadreas is the kind of live performer who stuns a room into rapt silence. Which is a convenient superpower to have, since his latest album, 2014’s fantastic Too Bright, is full of haunted pauses and breathe-too-loud-and-you’ll-miss-it intensity. See him at Stage 48—but maybe don’t invite that friend who’s always talking way too loudly at the movies.” (NY Magazine —L.Z.)
Stage 48, 605 West 48th St.
7pm / maybe a tough ticket; try stub hubbing it

BONUS JAZZ PICKS:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village:
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South — villagevanguard.com / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. — bluenotejazz.com / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. — 55bar.com / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 56 million visitors last year and is TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2015.  Quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./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.

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
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

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“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.
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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.

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“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 Sumer 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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