Selected Events (07/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Elite 8 – SUNDAY / JULY 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

MoMA Summergarden: New Music for New York
> Julliard Concert II: New Music for String Quartet
Museum of Modern Art, 11 W53rd St. (btw 5/6 ave) / 8PM, FREE
“titled New Music for New York, the series comprises four evenings of adventurous contemporary music, with premieres each night.”
the exhibition galleries are closed during Summergarden. entrance to Summergarden is through the Sculpture Garden gate on West 54 Street between 5/6 avenues.

> Nepal Relief Concert – Friends of Jazzmandu
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. / 6PM, $25
“A benefit for the victims of the recent Nepalese earthquake brings together a number of fine musicians who have appeared at Jazzmandu, the Kathmandu-based festival.”

> Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, at 106th St. / 7,9, 10:30PM, $,
“Mr. Strickland is a tenor and soprano saxophonist of postbop assurance, but Twi-Life represents an outlet for the millennial soul music in which he also traverses.” (NYT-Chinen)

> Henry Threadgill’s Zooid 
Village Vanguard, 178 7th St S @ 11th St./ 8:30PM, 10:30PM; $30 plus one drink
“a superb composer, saxophonist and flautist, Threadgill is a true master musician. With Zooid, he teams up with several other jazz instrumentalists to bring the funk to the Village Vanguard.” (TONY)

> Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House
Blue Note, 131 West Third St. / 8PM +10:30PM, $
“The Eleventh House, led by the trailblazing jazz-rock guitarist Larry Coryell, was one of the gleaming muscle cars of fusion’s first wave. This reunion will feature Mr. Coryell and two other charter members, the trumpeter Randy Brecker and the drummer Alphonse Mouzon.” (NYT- Chinen)

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

> VolleyBall NYC Open
Piers 25 + 26, Hudson River Park (N Mooore St.) / 8AM-6PM, FREE
image-1“Beach volleyball is finally making the trip from Manhattan Beach to the island of Manhattan. The sport that grew up on the West Coast will visit Hudson River Park this weekend — the AVP’s first event in New York City in the 33-year history of the domestic beach volleyball tour.” (NewsDay)

In addition to the world’s best beach volleyball talent, this ultimate beach festival will feature interactive activations, music, food, and more. The event will feature 16 top men’s duos and 16 top women’s duos as they compete for the grand prize of $150,000.

> Bryant Park Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet (July17-Aug02)
Bryant Park Stage, 42nd St. (btw 5/6 ave)  / today 6:30PM, FREE
presented by The Drilling Company with performances on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 – 8:30pm. and Sundays from 2:00 – 4:00pm.
“In The Drilling Company’s production for Bryant Park Shakespeare the play will be set in a modern city which is divided by wealth and class. Directed by David Marantz, it aims to send a clear message about the violence that can result from social division and corporate greed.” (BroadwayWorld)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> The Rubin Block Party
The Rubin Museum of Art, W17th St (btw 6/7ave) / 1-4PM, FREE
image-2“At this all-ages block party celebrating the new exhibit “Becoming Another: The Power of Masks,” everyone gets special free admission to the museum to create their own masks and prayer beads, participate in an outdoor family-friendly yoga session and take tours of the galleries. Check out performances by Ajna Dance and Brooklyn Raga Massive, or get in on the action by coming in elaborate garb for the costume contest.” (TONY)

“The current Rubin exhibition “Becoming Another: The Power of Masks,” has inspired this family block party, which offers Himalayan-themed arts activities, performances and refreshments. There will also be free admission to the museum today, so you can take in the show and contemplate its examination of the human desire for transformation via shamanistic practices, communal rituals and theater.” (

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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