Today’s Elite 8 > WEDNESDAY / AUGUST 12, 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
>David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
Birdland, 315 W 44th St. (btw 8/9 ave.) / 5:30PM, $25
“Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form.”
I bet there is no better music anywhere in America at 5:30PM. And what a bargain!
>The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance and Music – SummerStage
Central Park, Rumsey Playfield, / 7-10PM, FREE
“George Faison, internationally celebrated producer, writer, composer, director, choreographer and dancer, made history in 1975 when he became the first African American to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography for The Wiz. In honor of the Broadway hit’s 40th anniversary this year, Faison will present performances of original songs and dances from the show.”
> Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca (through Aug. 15)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 West 86th St. / 8:30PM, $20-$50
“There are many ways of retelling Sophocles’s “Antigone,” and thanks to this company, flamenco is now one of them. In “Antigona,” the artistic director Martín Santangelo has adapted the Greek tragedy for 14 performers and four musicians, with choreography by the troupe’s irrepressible star, Ms. Barrio.”(NYT-Burke)
> “Cymbeline” / Shakespeare in the Park (through August 23)
Central Park, Delacorte Theater / 8PM, FREE
a fairytale tucked within a tragedy. Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe in the Bard’s romance where cross-dressing and fake deaths move the plot. this is one tough ticket
– if you qualify, try the new line for seniors 65-plus at the Delacorte Theater.
– take your chances with the online ticket lottery (click here to learn how)
– or try the new ticket lottery at the Public Theater near Astor Place (instructions here).
Elsewhere, but Willie is always worth the detour:
>Willie Nelson (benefit for the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival)
Prospect Park Bandshell, Prospect Park West and Ninth St. / 7PM, $52.50
(this will be a tough ticket, may have to stub hub it.)
country crooner is still touring at age 82. expect him to play old faves like “Crazy” and “Always on My Mind” and some tunes from his new album “December Day.”
Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
>Word for Word: Al Roker
Bryant Park, 42nd St (btw 5/6 ave) / 12:30PM, FREE
NBC weatherman Al Roker, talks about his history book, “The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900.”
> NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2015 (LAST WEEK-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!
>Alice Ripley – All Sondheim
54 Below, 254 W54th St. / 7PM +9:30PM, $40-$50
“Tony Award winner Alice Ripley returns to 54 Below for the first time in over a year with a brand new show! The multi-talented star of Broadway’s Next to Normal, Sunset Boulevard, The Who’s Tommy, Side Show, and The Rocky Horror Show explores the provocative lyrics and enduring melodies of songs written by the legendary Stephen Sondheim.
Ms. Ripley has gathered some of her favorites — and will even revisit classic Sondheim characters she’s played, remembering anecdotes along the way. From “Worst Pies In London” to “Getting Married Today”… from “Losing My Mind” to “Rose’s Turn”… from “Being Alive” to “The Ladies Who Lunch”… this is a show you do NOT want to miss. Spend a summer night celebrating Sondheim with one of the Great White Way’s favorite stars.”
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:
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
♦ 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’. ”
Each 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
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:
Fish – 280 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.