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

Today’s “Fab 5″/ Selected NYCity Events – SATURDAY, APR. 04, 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.”

Damien Rice   —   Folk / Rock    (8pm)   

“Birdman”  —   Special Event  / Film & Music  (8pm)

Sara Serpa  —  Jazz    (8:30pm)

Macy’s Flower Show   Special Event

Back in the Bronx featuring Arlene Alda   —  SmartStuff/ Book Talk     (12pm)     

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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Damien Rice
“Remember that tender moment during the first season of Lost when good guy Hurley is enjoying Damien Rice as he contentedly looks upon his fellow castaways? The Irish singer-songwriter specializes in crafting calm, acoustic beauties ready to soundtrack the significant little moments. For his third album, last October’s My Favorite Faded Fantasy, he worked with Rick Rubin to vamp up the production and instrumentation for a meatier record. Few artists can make melancholy sound this appealing. Opening is the Icelandic/Swedish duo My Bubba, who yarn delightful café-ready folk.” (Silas Valentino, VillageVoice)
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, at 74th Street,
800-745-3000, beacontheatre.com.
8 p.m., $45.00–$69.50

“Birdman”
“There’s plenty to love in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award-winning black comedy “Birdman,” not least of which is the original score, a visceral, improvised set of percussive jazz written and performed by the Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sánchez. His music, which was not eligible for a Best Original Score Oscar (the film also features more than a half hour of non-original classical material), flutters in fits and starts across a traditional trap set, with each character granted a recurring rhythmic theme.

While the soundtrack does stand on its own, it soars underneath Michael Keaton and Ed Norton’s spontaneous, feverish performances, and this week Sánchez comes to the Upper West Side for a rare performance of his score while the film is screened.” (NewYorker)
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St.
at 8PM/ need to stub hub / craig’s list this one
wordlessmusic.org.

Sara Serpa
“This singer doesn’t have an overpowering voice, but her subtlety and sureness command serious attention. Her City Fragments ensemble, at the Cornelia Street Café on April 4, unites her with two other singers, Sofia Rei and Aubrey Johnson, who are backed by a notable instrumental trio of the guitarist André Matos, the bassist Thomas Morgan, and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey.” (NewYorker)
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St.
8:30pm / $10
212-989-9319.

Macy’s Flower Show (Last Day)
“This two-week floral display titled “Art in Bloom” features ceiling-to-floor greenery, fresh blooms as well as free workshops including terrarium making and floral design.” (TONY)

“For two weeks, the clothing and accessories at Macy’s won’t be the only colorful items on display by the iconic department store. Outside in Broadway Plaza, beautifully bright floral arrangements will announce this year’s Macy’s Flower Show. Check macys.com for updates. Expect live music, kids’ activities and various “bouquets of the day” throughout the show.” (NYCGO)

“Get a taste of spring while shopping till you drop at the 2015 Macy’s Flower Show at Macy’s Herald Square. This year’s theme is Art in Bloom.” (flavorpill.com)

Elsewhere, but if you were a “Kid From the Bronx”, you’ve got to be there:
BACK IN THE BRONX FEATURING ARLENE ALDA
Author and photographer Arlene Alda joins us for a signing of her new book “Just Kids from the Bronx.” Alda will share personal anecdotes about growing up in the borough, and read excerpts and sign copies of her book. Rick Meyerowitz, Bronxite and New Yorker cartoonist featured in Alda’s book, will be a special guest. Lunch by David Greco’s Arthur Avenue Caterers is included in the ticket purchase.
Bronx Museum, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St.
2nd floor North Wing
12:00pm to 1:30pm / Free admission for members; $10 lunch for non-members

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 was 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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