Selected Events (02/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

 Today’s Sweet 6+ > SUNDAY / FEB. 14, 2016

“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 Potter Quartet
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St./ 8:30 + 10:30PM, $30 (looks like 8:3o set is sold out)
“Versatile saxophonist Chris Potter has been a favored sideman and soloist for a who’s who of modern jazzers and the odd rocker or two, all the while maintaining a steady stream of worthy solo albums. Last year’s, Imaginary Cities, out on ECM, felt like a real breakthrough for the originality of its conception, supersizing his usual groove combo to an 11-piece “Underground Orchestra.” Here, he returns to the quartet form with pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and Marcus Gilmore.” (TONY)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
TAO: Drum Heart
NYU Skirball Center, 566 LaGuardia Pl./ 3PM +8PM, $45-$75
“From the creative team behind the four-time Tony Award-nominated revival of Pacific Overtures comes the New York debut of TAO: DRUM HEART. The new production will play a strictly limited engagement at NYU Skirball Center before TAO continues its fourth North American tour.

Direct from TAO’s successful, sold-out world premiere run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this brand new production will be revealed in New York, and TAO will tour North America in the winter of 2016. The new show will bring you athletic bodies and contemporary costumes combined with explosive Taiko drumming and innovative choreography. TAO has critics raving about their extraordinary precision, energy, and stamina.”

Freddy Cole: Songs for Lovers (thru Feb 14)
Dizzy’s Club, 33 W60th St./ 7:30Pm, +9:30PM, $45
“His latest album may be titled “Singing the Blues,” but this veteran stylist would never willingly confine himself to an appointed genre. Getting a jump on Valentine’s Day, the impeccable singer and pianist will paint the room in shades of bittersweet romance while exhibiting the elegant poise that has made him the gold standard of his trade.” (NewYorker)

Cecile McLorin Salvant (thru Feb.14)
Appel Room, Jazz @ Lincoln Center / 7PM +9:30PM, $90-105
“With a pinch of eccentricity to add spice to her vivid artistry, Salvant has grabbed the reins in the jazz vocal race. As slyly clever as she is affecting, she stocked her 2015 album, “For One to Love,” with well-crafted original tunes and offbeat choices like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Stepsister’s Lament”—it’s anyone’s guess how her rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s dated guide to marital bliss, “Wives and Lovers,” will go down on Valentine’s Day.” (NewYorker)
This lady is like the second coming of Billie Holiday. Her show makes a special Valentine’s Day treat in a very classy venue.

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade
“Steel drums, acrobats, martial artists, dancers, ornate floats and, obviously, the iconic dancing lions and dragons snake through Chinatown’s crowded streets for the 17th annual Chinese New Year Parade. The mouth-watering smells from the neighboring restaurants and the sounds of the traditional music meld to create a joyous, immersive experience. Begins at Hester and Mott Sts.” (TONY)

Romance Under the Stars
Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space / 6PM +9:30PM, $125
(SOLD OUT, but listed here so that you can jump on this for next Valentine’s Day)
“Eschew the dinner date on Valentine’s Day and snap up tickets to this swanky soiree at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space. The night begins among the asteroids (have a “heavenly bodies” quip ready) with an open bar of cocktails and champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres and chocolate, while a jazz quartet sets the mood with standards. An hour later, cozy up in the Hayden Planetarium while an astronomer tells lovey-dovey stories based on the mythology of the cosmos.” (TONY)

and how about some hot chocolate?
City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival (thru Feb.28)
City Bakery, 3 W18th St./ opens 7:30AM, $
“Regress to childhood with skillfully concocted mugs of hot chocolate courtesy of this downtown canteen. Owner-mastermind Maury Rubin will serve a different flavor of his intoxicating cocoa every day during February.” (TONY)
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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 58 million visitors last year and was 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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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 
Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
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. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.
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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. ===========================================================================

NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24 thousand eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ 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.

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