Today’s FAB 5+ > SATURDAY / JAN. 09, 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:
Chris Botti (through Jan. 10)
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8 +10:30PM, $
“Mr. Botti, whose adult-pop savvy and controlled but brooding trumpet sound have made him a global superstar, descends on the Blue Note every year around this time for an extended stay. This year, his 11th, the engagement began in mid-December and will stretch into the new year, with the usual array of unannounced guests.” (Chinen-NYT)
Music, Dance, Performing Arts
George Cables Trio (through Jan. 10)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30 +10:30PM, $
It can take decades for a journeyman musician to evolve into, and subsequently be regarded as, a near-master: consider the case of the estimable pianist Cables. He’s joined here by the same compatriots—Essiet Essiet, on bass, and Victor Lewis, on drums—who were heard on his most recent album, the celebratory “In Good Company.” (NewYorker)
Marilyn Maye: By Request (thru Jan.10)
Metropolitan Room, 34 W22nd St./ 7PM, $45
“Marilyn Maye’s stellar past includes a string of classy RCA albums in the ’60s and a nearly unequaled number of Tonight Show appearances, but this husky-voiced, earthy belter has never sounded better than she does now (at 87). Astonishingly active lately, she now returns to the Met Room with a set of tunes suggested by audience members when they buy their tickets.” (TONY)
This grand olde dame puts on a wonderful show. She’s 87, better see her now.
Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
New York Boat Show (also Sunday)
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 W34th St./ Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $
“This exhibition and pop-up sales floor sets the scene for boating culture in 2016, as it has for the past 110 years. The show’s offerings run the gamut, from one-person kayaks to to seafaring yachts. More information is at nyboatshow.com.” (NYT-SpareTimes)
The New York Times Travel Show (also Sunday)
Javits Center, 655 W34th St./ Sat 10AM-6PM, $20
“This annual event incorporates talks, exhibitions, performances and food demonstrations — all under the roof the cavernous Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Prospective travelers can peruse the various vendor booths for onsite-deals and displays of the cutting edge in travel. More information is at nyttravelshow.com. At various times.” (NYT-SpareTimes)
SPECIAL EVENT, A MUST SEE:
Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 23)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./ $25-$60
Mondays through Saturdays at 8PM
“The best part of Noche Flamenca’s flamenco musical Antigona—and it is full of astonishing parts—is the way that it tosses you between states of delight. At first, the delight stems from the ridiculous. Stalking the stage at West Side Presbyterian church, our Master of Ceremonies (a hilarious Emilio Florido) sings us the rundown on Oedipus’s family with elaborate disgust. Incest! Suicide! Fratricide! It’s dark. The flamenco company plays an abbreviated version of the entire Sophoclean trilogy with the emotional volume cranked to 11; their operatic intensity is joyful and absurd. (Spanish speakers may have a little extra fun: The elegant supertitles seem to leave out a bit of the cast’s improvisatory swearing.)” (TONY)
a personal note:
Noche Flamenca is Spain’s most successful touring company and its greatest exponent of the art of flamenco. Soledad Barrio is a goddess of dance and brings so much passion to her role as Antigona. Two wonderful Spanish guitarists and two vocalists do not get the credit they deserve. Every piece of this performance is outstanding. Go See It!
Bonus-This week’s fave and FREE NYCity App:
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station.
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 Spring 2016).
◊ Order before May 31, 2016 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.