Selected Events (04/18) + Today’s Featured Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Today’s “Fab 5″+1/ Selected NYCity Events – SATURDAY, APR. 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 5th Annual Big Cheesy  – Food & Drink (11am-6pm)

The Landmark Dash –  Special Event   (11am-6pm)  

Record Store Day  –  Special Event Music    (various times) 

Charles Lloyd: Wild Man Dance Suite   – Jazz    (8pm)

Music, the Civil War, and American Memory  –  
SmartStuff/ Concert + Conference (10am-7pm)      

Rock Le Cabaret! Cabaret   (4pm)   (7:30pm)

For other useful and curated NYCity event info for Manhattan’s WestSide:
♦ “9 Notable Events-Apr.”, 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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The Landmark Dash
“The Landmark Dash will take you through about a dozen landmark interiors (many of which are not normally open to the public) across three boroughs of New York City to complete challenges, solve puzzles and learn about the architectural and historical significance of some of the city’s most important interiors. Players must register and play in teams of 2-4; no solo racers are allowed.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

Sponsored by Open House New York and the New York School of Interior Design.
Check-in: 10-11am
Dash time: 11am–6pm
Closing Reception: 5-7pm
Cost: $40 per person (teams of 2-4)
blog.ohny.org/announcing-the-landmark-dash/

The 5th Annual Big Cheesy – the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Showdown (also Sunday)
bgcrowd_1Try the city’s best grilled cheeses from contenders like Artisanal, Depanneur Brooklyn, Le Maison de Croque Monsieur and many more! Wash them down with two Goose Island beers – my fave, which means I’ll be there.

In honor of grilled cheese month, the Big Cheesy takes place in one-hour time slots over the course of two delicious days, April 18 and 19, from 11am to 6pm. – $30
Vote for your favorite, with some proceeds going to the Food Bank of New York.
at Openhouse, 201 Mulberry St. in NoLita.
http://www.timeout.com/bigcheesy; http://openhouse.me/

Record Store Day
“An annual retail event celebrating the culture of independent brick and mortar record stores, was conceived in 2007 and has been growing steadily ever since. Record labels prepare exclusive releases for the day and many stores also host signing events and live concerts. Participating stores in New York City include Black Star (352 Lenox Ave., Harlem), Harmony Records (1625 Unionport Rd., Parkchester), Majors Records (12 Barrett Ave., Staten Island) and dozens of stores in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In Living Stereo, (2 Great Jones St., NoHo) is featuring live bands and free beer from 1 p.m. Williamsburg’s Rough Trade NYC (64 North 9th St.) is opening at 9 a.m. and will feature live bands from noon with punk pop legends The Buzzcocks performing at 1 p.m. and Kim Gordon playing at 7:30 p.m. Check here for the full list of participating Record Store Day shops. FREE” (dnainfo.com)

Charles Lloyd: Wild Man Dance Suite
“The tenor saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd has been a notable solo artist in jazz for some 50 years (with one notable interruption), and he’ll soon become a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (see the separate listing). In this concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur — as on an album out this week — he presents a six-part suite featuring a jazz quartet along with Sokratis Sinopoulos on politiki lyra and Miklos Lukacs on Hungarian cimbalom. His rhythm section will feature Jason Moran on piano, Joe Sanders on bass and Eric Harland on drums.” (Chinen-NYT)
Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur
At 8 p.m., / $70
212-570-3949, metmuseum.org/tickets.

Music, the Civil War, and American Memory
Music, the Civil War, and American Memory is a conference and concert, hosted by the New York Review of Books at Fordham’s Upper West Side campus. Celebrates the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War and the landmark reissue of Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps, a book of war poems which includes the elegy for Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.”
at 10:00 am – 7:00 pm / FREE
Fordham University, 113 W 60th St., 12th floor lounge of the E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center, For more information about the conference and concert, visit the Fordham University event page.

Rock Le Cabaret! Starring Chanteuse Adrienne Haan
A cutting edge soiree that showcases new modern interpretations of French chansons by Brel, Piaf and Aznavour with a five-piece rock band and live appearance by acclaimed French Artist, Philippe Valy.

“For me, Ms. Haan’s best performances took place during the next two sets, sung in French. She began Jacques Brel’s “Le Port D’Amsterdam” a cappella, a wonderful change of color. The instrumentalists soon joined in, and the work crescendoed to a shattering climax. An equally successful Edith Piaf medley followed”. – NY Concert Review
Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd St.
4PM + 7:30PM / $25, $20 minimum for food/drinks.

BONUS JAZZ PICKS:
J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band and Andy Bey
“Led by its namesake bandleader, songwriter and producer, the J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band has always been a friend to vocalists, and in this engagement, the group pays a centenary tribute to Billie Holiday. Among the singers assembled are Andy Bey, Charles Turner and Melanie Charles.” (Chinen-NYT)

On Saturday April 18th the man considered by so many, including NPR, to be the greatest living jazz male vocalist – Andy Bey- will be performing with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band. It’s an extremely rare chance to see Andy fronting a large ensemble, doing his incomparable balladering with lush arrangements and also stretching out on bebop classics interacting with the pedigreed musicians that make up the Biggish Band.

This sounds too good to miss, I’ll be there.
Minton’s, 206 West 118th Street, Harlem,
subway: #2 or 3 express trains to 116th Street stop at Malcolm X / Lenox Avenue stop.
Walk 2 blocks North to 118th Street and 2 blocks West to St Nicholas
sets times are 8pm & 10pm | Music charge: $25 at the bar, $50 at tables
212-243-2222, mintonsharlem.com.

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

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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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