Selected Events (08/06) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Elite 8 > THURSDAY / AUGUST 06, 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
> Donna McKechnie
54 Below, 254 W54th St. / 7PM, $50–$95
artistpage_donna“Don’t look now, but it’s been 40 years since she first danced and sang about the music, the mirror, and the chance to dance for us in A Chorus Line — and now McKechnie is back to recall the era. In particular, she’s reminiscing about her first aspiring years in NYC and how by sheer coincidence she lived down the street from the room where she’s now appearing. Yes, she may be looking back, but because she’s always been right in the moment, she’s as vitally immediate now as she was then.” (Village Voice)

> Brasil Summerfest
Coladera – 7:30PM, $15
Marcia Castro – 9:30PM, $15
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St.
“get ready to get sweaty. Béco Dranoff, curator of this ambitious series, calls Brazilian music “the perfect soundtrack for summertime.” Checking out the schedule for the fifth annual installment of Summerfest, whose locations range from Central Park and Lincoln Center to Bushwick and several downtown locales, we’re inclined to agree.” (TONY)

> Steve Kuhn Trio (through Aug. 8)
Birdland Jazz Club, 315 W44th St. / 8:30PM +11PM, $40
“There’s a soft glow of erudition to “Wisteria,” a 2012 album by this acoustic piano trio. It comes from all three members of the group — the pianist Steve Kuhn, the bassist Steve Swallow and the drummer Joey Baron — but especially from Mr. Kuhn, 77, one of jazz’s most careful rhapsodists.” (NYT-Chinen)

> Ballet Festival (through Aug. 16)
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave, at 19th St. / 8PM, $19-$39
“The Joyce Theater celebrates the diversity of ballet with a two-week buffet of companies and choreographers who are molding the form in interesting ways.”
tonight: the Washington-based Chamber Dance Project presents four New York premieres, all set to live music.

> Rudy Royston ‘303’ (through Aug. 9)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St. / 8:30PM +10:30PM, $30
“Rudy Royston has emerged as a first-tier drummer in recent years. Drawing here from his impressive recent debut album, “303,” he leads a smartly distinctive band featuring the trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, the saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, the guitarist Nir Felder, the pianist Sam Harris and two bassists, Yasushi Nakamura and Mimi Jones.” (NYT-Chinen)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
> Broadway
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue (at 40th St) / 6:30PM, FREE
Michelle Young features vintage and contemporary photographs chronicling the history of the world- famous street. She tells the story of New York as it grew from a Dutch colony into a world-class city.

> NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2015 (through Aug 14)
Various locations and times; $25 for lunch, $38 for dinner
Enjoy the summer edition of Restaurant Week (actually three weeks) of prix-fixe three course meals at many of the city’s best restaurants. Mangia!

Have time for only one event today? Do this:

> We Like It Like That! A Boogaloo Celebration  – Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center / 7PM, FREE
with: Joe Bataan, Ray Lugo and the Boogaloo Destroyers
with special guests Richie Ray and Pete Rodriguez
and ABAKUÁ Afro-Latin Dance Company

joe bataan“As stated in Mathew Ramirez Warren’s new documentary, Latin boogaloo is New York City—a colorful expression of ’60s Latino soul straight from the streets of El Barrio, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn. Boogaloo godfather Joe Bataan unites doo-wop charm and Latin sounds in his irresistible hits. Ray Lugo’s good-time, hip-swinging originals pay homage to the style’s greats, including his specials guests, legendary pianist Richie Ray, and in one of his first performances in 40 years, Pete Rodriguez. ABAKUÁ Afro-Latin Dance Company will perform some of its signature choreography. To get the party started, in-demand DJ Turmix will spin Boogaloo gems.”

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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