Selected Events (06/13) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s TOP 10 – SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 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

> Aaron Diehl
Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Lenox Ave, nr 125th St. / 7:30PM+9:30PM, $25
this fine young pianist is joined by jazz all-stars each night.
Saturday: baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley
Sunday: clarinetist Victor Goines and (in one of his rare New York club appearances) the                     trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

> Kurt Elling
Birdland, 315 W44th St. / 8:30PM + 11PM, $
“magisterial jazz singer, note-bender and rhythmic wizard” (NYT)

> The Losers Lounge Battle of the Bands: The B-52’s vs. Devo
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. / 7PM + 9:30PM, $25
it’s new wave all weekend here. loser’s lounge is always fun.

> The Music of Puente, Machito & Henriquez
Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St./Broadway / 8PM, $30-$120
Carlos Henriquez, the bassist in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, doubles as musical director of this program. Joining as featured guests are some surviving members of Puente’s orchestra.

> J. D. Allen Trio
Minton’s, 206 W118th St. / 6PM-11PM,
“a hard-swinging, intrepid tenor saxophonist” (NYT-Chinen)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

> 36th Annual Mississippi Picnic – Elvis in the Park
Central Park, Naumberg Bandshell (enter at 72nd St) / 12PM-6PM, FREE
outstanding music, inspiring art, delicious food.

> West Chelsea Artists Open Studios (also Sunday)
self-guided tour begins at 508 and 526 W26th St., near 10th Ave. / 12PM-6PM, FREE
meet West Chelsea artists and see where and how they work.

> Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (also Sunday)
Madison Square Park, / 11AM, FREE
pit masters from across the country, for this 13th annual BBQ bash.

> 39th Annual American Crafts Festival  (also Sunday)
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts , 64th St at Columbus Ave. / 10AM – 7PM, FREE
nearly 300 craftspeople have been chosen from the thousands who entered, so this fair gives you an opportunity to pick wares from the cream of the artisan crop.

Elsewhere, but a real treat for flapper lovers, and worth a ferry ride to Governor’s Island:
> Jazz Age Lawn Party (also Sunday)
Governors Island / 11AM-5PM, various prices.
“fox trot over to Governors Island for this 1920s-themed outdoor shindig” (TONY)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> Jazz Age Lawn Party (also Sunday)
Governors Island / 11AM-5PM, various prices.


“On the occasion of its 10th Anniversary, Michael Arenella is planning the grandest Jazz Age Lawn Party to date. Once again, the location is beautiful Governors Island, and performers include Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra, the Art Deco spectacle of The Dreamland Follies and many other Jazz Age inspired artists. Dance lessons, specially curated cocktails, vintage portraits, vintage car and motor bike exhibitions and gourmet food markets await. Tickets from $55. Also Sunday. Governors Island.” (

“Brush up on your Fitzgerald and Hemingway in time for this outdoor bash which sees Governors Island transform into a Prohibition-era soiree. Over two weekends—the second in August—you can Charleston to Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra, while wearing your finest flapper garb and zoot suits. Then Lindy Hop over to the bar for era-appropriate cocktails (that promise to taste better than bathtub gin).” (TONY)

“Sometimes history works best as full immersion, even if there’s some stray ink here and there as anachronism. The Jazz Age Lawn Party turns Governors Island into a pocket of Roaring Twenties culture, complete with gramophones, Tin Lizzies and a Charleston dance-off (the party runs both Saturday and Sunday).” (

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, 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” ($4.99, available Fall 2015).
◊ Order before Oct. 31, 2015 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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