Selected Events (06/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s TOP 10 – FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 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
> Mariachi Flor De Toloache – NYC’s First All Women Mariachi
Subrosa, 63 Gansevoort St. / 8PM, $14
these ladies play all the essential and traditional instruments, violins, trumpets, guitarron (bass), vihuela (5 string guitar) and guitar.

> Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya
Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 W3rd St. / 8PM +10:30PM, $30 +$45
“blending beguiling South African rhythms with rich Ellingtonian textures, Ekaya reflects the dual identities of its leader.” (NewYorker)

Chelsea Music Festival:
>Voices of Finland: The Tapiola Chamber Choir in New York
St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church, 315 W22nd St. / 7:30PM, $35
“one of Europe’s most celebrated choirs, the Tapiola Chamber Choir, on its first ever North American tour. a rare a cappella listening experience of lesser-known Finnish choral works as well as songs by Jean Sibelius.”

Ann Hampton Callaway (through June 20 and June 25)
54 Below, 254 W54th St., / 7PM, $55-$75
“Ms. Callaway has a phenomenal, multirange voice that has only grown stronger as she has evolved from a lachrymose piano-bar entertainer with a coloratura register into a blues and jazz powerhouse.” The New York Times

> The World Champion Judah Friedlander (also Saturday)
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway / 7:30PM, $33
“the 30 Rock star brings his World Champion schtick to Carolines for a night of hilariously skewed machismo.” TONY

> Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (through June 23, no Sunday)
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Ave / 8PM, $60-$150, tough tkt, may need to stubhub it
an unlikely duo make some beautiful jazz standards music.

> Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (through June 21)
NYS Theater (DHK Theater), 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (at W. 63rd St.) / 7PM, tkts $25+
“artistic director Robert Battle continues to present Ailey classics while introducing new choreography to the company repertory.” (TONY)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
> Lions, Tigers and Brews (also Saturday Nite)
Central Park Zoo, 5th Ave & 64th St. / 8-11PM, $49-$69
drink craft beer with the animals. unlimited 3oz samples from 100+ craft breweries.

> Transportation Landmarks
NY Transit Museum, Grand Central Terminal Gallery Annex
“In celebration of the 50th anniversary of New York’s Landmarks Law, our Curatorial team highlights the city’s most famous and least known historic transportations structures including train terminals, subways, airports, ferry and pier buildings, bridges, and landscaped parkways.”

> Ellsworth Kelly (last chance, closes June 20)
Matthew Marks Gallery , 522 W22nd St / 10AM-6PM, FREE
“much of the work is about simplicity, recycling old ideas and Kelly signatures in ways that make it feel astonishingly vital.”

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, — 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. South — 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 8/9 ave) — 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 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.

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 left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards 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
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 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.

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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, 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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