Selected Events (06/01) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s TOP 10 – MONDAY, JUNE 01, 2015
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.”
We make it as easy as 1-2-3.  (click on links for complete event info)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
> Blue Note Jazz Festival – Lee Konitz Quartet
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St. / 8PM + 10:30PM, $20 + $30
alto saxophonist icon Lee Konitz starts the festival off tonight on the right note.

> Night of a Thousand Judys
Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center, 129 W67th St. / 8PM, $30+$60
cast of singers from the worlds of Broadway and cabaret in a birthday salute.

> Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
Highline Ballroom, 431 W16th St. / 7:30PM, $30+$50
this old and influential folk singer is still going strong.
Bob Dylan called him the king of the folk singers.

> Rebirth Brass Band, a true New Orleans institution
The Cutting Room, 44 E32nd St. / 7:30PM, $75
a special benefit concert featuring a performance by Grammy-winning artist Rebirth Brass Band. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Roots of Music’s after school music education programs for underserved youth in New Orleans. The price of admission includes access to an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and more.

> “The Tempest” (thru July 5) / Shakespeare in the Park
Central Park, Delacorte Theater / 8PM, FREE
actor Sam Waterston, makes his 13th Shakespearean production.
FREE tickets are available via a lottery system. check The Public Theater website.

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
> Ride
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th St., Bklyn / 8:30PM, may need to stub hub this one.
melodic psychedelic rockers reunited, on first tour in 20 years.

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
> Taste of Times Square
W46th St. (btw Broadway / 9th ave) / 5-9PM, (dishes from $2-$6)
over 50 restaurants offer a taste of their best. this is my fave food fest of the year.
event is rain or shine, now if only the rain will hold off.

Outdoor Fest (May 29 – Jun 07)
various locations and times. better get this in before the rains come.
ten-day lineup of activities, classes and a range of outdoor activities
“outdoor yoga, fishing, walks, nature-film screenings, trivia, bouldering, surfing and, naturally, beer drinking—can’t miss that.” (TONY)

> Ralph Nader
Book Culture, 450 Columbus Ave./ 6PM, FREE
Ralph keeps plugging along. double book talk: “Return to Sender“and “Unstoppable”

> “Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly: Two Masters of Song and Dance”
with Mel Haber
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th ave (btw 40/39 St.)
an illustrated lecture, with many videos of both of them performing in films.

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> Taste of Times Square
W46th St. (btw Broadway / 9th ave) / 5-9PM, (dishes from $2-$6)

there is an upside to the probable wet weather – smaller crowds and lines.
Taste of Times Square 2014

“More than fifty Times Square restaurants will be represented, including BB King Blues Club & Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Junior’s, Havana Central Restaurant & Bar, Le Rivage, John’s of Times Square, Hard Rock Café, The House of Brews, Bourbon Street Bar & Grille, E&E Grill House, Da Rosina, Paramount Bar & Grill, Bareburger, Applebee’s, Barbetta , Crossroads American Kitchen & Bar, The View Restaurant & Lounge, Virgil’s Real BBQ, Carmine’s Restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp, The Palm Restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Becco, Doubletree Suites, Blue Fin, La Pulperia, O’Lunney’s, Patzeria Perfect Pizza, Hourglass Tavern, Sangria 46, Ruby Foo’s,  Planet Hollywood, Brasserie 1605, Orso, Joe Allen’s, Playwright Celtic Pub & Restaurant, Paul’s on Times Square, Dos Caminos, URBO, The Rum House, Meson Sevilla, Schnipper’s, Shake Shack, and Toloache.

While the dishes are the main draw, Taste of Times Square features street musicians provided by the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square, including Baby Soda Jazz Band, classical guitarist Don Witter Jr., Drum Café, The Ebony Hillbillies performing bluegrass, Paul Mueller with a hammered dulcimer, Sean Grissom on the Cello, and StreetMule.” (

Bonus – Jazz Venues:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:
Greenwich Village:
Village Vanguard – 178 7th ave. South, — / 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. — / 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave. South — / 212-929-9883
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9 ave) — / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway, nr.106th St. — / 212-864-6662

♦ 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.

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 fairly priced wines,  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, NYCity 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 left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards 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
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 St.)
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 Square 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 Summer 2015).
◊ Order before Aug. 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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