Selected Events (11/04) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s SWEET 6 > WEDNESDAY / NOV. 04, 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 more complete event info.)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:
Juan Gabriel
Madison Square Garden/ 8PM, $70-$230
“Mexico pop legend Juan Gabriel began his career in the early 1970s and went on to become one of that country’s most prolific songwriters, boasting more than 1,000 songs, six Grammy nominations and more than 100 million albums sold world-wide. But while he had been on the Latin charts for decades, he had never broken into the Billboard Top 40 charts until this February, with the release of “Los Duo.” As the title suggests, Snr. Gabriel teamed with luminous Latin music stars, from Spanish singer Isabel Pantoja to Puerto Rican pop star Luis Fonsi, delivering a lush, heart-rending album of duets. Expect plenty of guests.” (WSJ)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Rumor Willis & Tye Blue
Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254W54th St./ 7PM & 11:30PM, $40-50
Rumer Willis (winner of “Dancing with the Stars: and star of Chicago on Broadway) makes her NYC cabaret debut.The jazzy double bill also co-stars her “mystery man” Tye Blue as they attempt to explain their journey as nonsexual life partners in song. Featuring a score that ranges from jazz to Motown to folk, these two voices in duet pay homage to the crooners of yore with a modern punch.

Conrad Tao, The Crypt Sessions
The Church of the Intercession, 550 W155th St (btw Broadway/Amsterdam) / 7PM, $25
“The brilliant young pianist Conrad Tao opens a new classical series in a one-of-a-kind performance space, the basement crypt in Harlem’s Church of the Intercession. Tao will play a program designed for the space (and borrowing from his new album) including works by Mussorgsky and David Lang.” (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this is Mavis Staples. This lady is worth any detour:
Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 8PM, $68
Ms. Staples, the former powerhouse anchor of the Staple Singers, remains an indefatigable performer and road warrior. Her most recent album, “One True Vine,” had an earthy dose of lo-fi Americana courtesy of its producer, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. She is currently touring with the singer-songwriter Joan Osborne, and they make one New York stop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.” (Anderson-NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
Math Encounters: Chaos in the Climate
Museum of Mathematics, 11 E26th St./ 4PM +7PM, FREE
“Why is it weird that we know the weather this week? The earth’s climate system is incredibly chaotic, and yet, scientists are able to make consistent, albeit far from perfect, predictions about its behavior.

At Math Encounters: Chaos in the Climate, Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will explain why and how mathematical models are so unreasonably effective at predicting the weather. Schmidt will discuss how math enables us to make predictions, even when they involve seemingly unpredictable systems.” (

Paul Goldberger
Macaulay Honors College, City University of New York, 35 W67th St./ 7PM, FREE
“Mr. Goldberger talks about his recently released biography of the prolific architect Frank Gehry, “Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry.” The Wall Street Journal’s architecture columnist, Julie V. Iovine, will join him in exploring why Mr. Gehry is one of the world’s most widely recognized and respected architects.” (NYT/SpareTimes)

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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