Selected Events (10/17) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s ELITE 8 > SATURDAY / OCT. 17, 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.)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:
Dionne Warwick
B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St./ 8PM, $85
“The legendary singer got her start in family groups—the Drinkard Singers, the Gospelaires, the Sweet Inspirations—in and around her native East Orange, New Jersey. She was singing backup at a session for the Drifters’ “Mexican Divorce,” in 1962, when the song’s composer, Burt Bacharach, approached her, marking the start of one of the most fruitful pop collaborations of all time.

Bacharach and the lyricist Hal David composed a glorious series of varied and unusual little masterpieces tailored to Warwick’s smooth, slightly smoky delivery: “Walk on By,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Alfie,” and “Promises, Promises,” to name a few. She simply won’t have time to sing all her hits.” (NewYorker)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Elsewhere. I may have been remiss to not have selected any of the music from this year’s CMJ, so on the Marathon’s last day here is one that looks good:
The Adhoc Car Wash
Hand & Detail, 646 Lorimer St., Brooklyn / 12PM, $10
“The C.M.J. Music Marathon, no matter how good the participating bands, isn’t an ideal festival for live music; groups are hurried from club to club without sound checks, playing rushed sets for industry hacks glued to their iPhones. Luckily, the local music blog AdHoc is hosting this unofficial daytime party at a car wash situated under the B.Q.E. The headliner is Destruction Unit, an Arizona punk band with a penchant for dark psychedelia. The group is joined by several of the rock acts worth seeing at C.M.J. this year, including Perfect Pussy, Porches, Potty Mouth, Sheer Mag, and Protomartyr.” (NewYorker)

Mary Lynn Rajskub (through Oct.18)
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway (btw 49/50 St)/ 7:30 + 10:00PM, $38-$109
“Though best known as Chloe on “24”, make no mistake: Rajskub is a goofball. She’s been described onstage as “cheerfully vulgar” while reflecting the tone of her roots (HBO comedies Mr. Show and The Larry Sanders Show).” (TONY)

Alan Broadbent and Putter Smith
Mezzrow, 163 West 10th St. / 9:30, $20
“The elegant mainstream pianist Broadbent was a trusted associate of the late bassist and bandleader Charlie Haden; Smith, another close friend of Haden’s, was the bassist in Broadbent’s lyrical trios of the eighties and nineties. (Dig up the overlooked 1997 album “Personal Standards.”) An intimate duet setting is sure to generate plenty of melodic radiance.” (NewYorker)

Jane Monheit (LAST DAY)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St./ 8:30 +11PM, $
“When she arrived on the scene 15 years ago, Ms. Monheit was praised and criticized for her fealty to the style of Ella Fitzgerald, her chief jazz-vocal influence. A lot has happened for Ms. Monheit since, as an artist and a person, and it seems likely she’ll bring an unforced maturity, along with a deep reserve of affection, to this tribute, titled “The Songbook Sessions: The Music of Ella Fitzgerald.” (NYT-Chinen)

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the ferry ride on a glorious, clear day:
Staten Island Jazz Fest
Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace / 2-7PM, $25
2015posterthumb“After nearly three decades of simmering riffs and slowburn free jams, it’s still one of the best-kept secrets of the proverbial “Forgotten Borough.” But aficionados of the American art form always remember the Staten Island Jazz Festival.

Internationally acclaimed headliners include the Danny Mixon Quartet, the Winard Harper Ensemble, and Betty Shirley. Other talents include Kiane Zawadi, who’s played alongside legends Dizzy Gillespie and Aretha Franklin, and Hamiet Bluiett, who’s performed with superstars Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.” (

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

“This annual event opens the doors to hundreds of buildings throughout the city, many of which are usually closed to the public. In addition to sites featured on previous Open House weekends, such as the Grand Lodge of Masons and the TWA terminal at J.F.K. (which will soon be converted into a hotel), this year’s edition adds various first-time locations, including the renovated City Hall, Google’s Chelsea outfit, and the World’s Fair Pavilion. In a special series, the engineers for innovative structures such as the High Line park and the glass cube above the Apple store on 59th Street lead tours of their projects. All events are free, but some require advance booking. ( Oct. 17-18.)” (NewYorker)

Archtober (Oct. 01-31)
This month offers a prime opportunity to honor the beauty of the NYCity skyline with Archtober, a festival of tours, talks and exhibitions exploring the city’s architecture. The festival showcases a different building each day.

Today’s Building of the Day: The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York (Tour at 12PM)
The building at 20 West 44th Street is the home of The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen and the ICAA, among other nonprofit organizations. The façade of the building is a New York City landmark, and the building itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour Guide: Victoria Dengel, Executive Director, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York

For all other events today check out the calendar at

Architecture and Design Film Festival (through Oct. 18)
Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas 9, 260 W23rd St./ various times
“The lineup for this festival may seem niche, but the subject matter affects out daily lives: housing, preservation, the environment. Highlights include a virtual reality lounge, and a Rizzoli pop-up bookstore.” (NYT-SpareTimes)
Today’s screenings:
3:30 P10 Silo 468
4:00 P14 OVE ARUP: The Philosopher Engineer
4:15 C4 Housing Excess, Housing Scarcity
5:30 P7 The Land of Many Palaces
6:15 P13 SlingShot
6:45 P6 David Adjaye – Collaborations
8:15 P4 Barbicania
9:00 P15 Under the Skin of Design
9:30 P3 Concrete Love – The Böhm Family

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 Winter 2015).
◊ Order before Dec. 31, 2015 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.


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