Selected Events (04/26) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Sweet 6 > TUESDAY / APR. 26, 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:
Metropolitan Opera – Elektra
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $20+
“The soprano Nina Stemme is remarkable in Patrice Chéreau’s insightful production of “Elektra.” The superb cast also includes Waltraud Meier as Klytämnestra and Eric Owens as Orest; the orchestra sounds magnificent under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen.” (NYT- Vivien Schweitzer)

“The genius director Patrice Chéreau (From the House of the Dead) didn’t live to see his great Elektra production, previously presented in Aix and Milan, make it to the stage of the Met. But his overpowering vision lives on with soprano Nina Stemme—unmatched today in the heroic female roles of Strauss and Wagner—who portrays Elektra’s primal quest for vengeance for the murder of her father, Agamemnon. Legendary mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier is chilling as Elektra’s fearsome mother. Chéreau’s musical collaborator Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Strauss’s mighty take on Greek myth.”

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Trio 3 (through May 1)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM +10:30PM, $30
“The saxophonist Oliver Lake, the bassist Reggie Workman, and the drummer Andrew Cyrille are patriarchs of avant-garde jazz, and are ready and willing, even at retirement age, to head first into the musical breach. Their continued commitment and ardent resolve, exhibited in more than two decades as an interactive trio with a brace of fine recordings, should be a model for contemporary players.” (NewYorker)

McCoy Tyner Trio
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM +10:30PM, $30-$45
“While playing in John Coltrane’s historic early-to-mid-’60s quartet, McCoy Tyner employed a pentatonic-derived, African-tinged chordal vocabulary that gave left-hand accompaniment and right-hand line playing a palpably physical forward thrust. Still blazing new trails, he’s firing up a three-piece with bassist veteran Gerald Cannon and in-demand Cuban drummer Francisco Mela.” (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the short detour:
Avishai Cohen Quartet (also Wednesday)
Jazz Standard, 116 E27th St./ 7:30PM +9:30PM, $
“The trumpeter Avishai Cohen recently released a quietly ravishing album, “Into the Silence,” consisting of his lyrical compositions for an intently focused yet unhurried quintet. Here he leads different personnel — the pianist Jason Lindner, the bassist Tal Mashiach and the drummer Justin Brown — but draws from the same pool of music and kicks off a cross-country tour.” (NYT-Chinen)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
PEN World Voices Festival (through May 1)
“This free annual literary event, which brings about 150 writers from 30 countries to venues spread throughout the New York City, is back with a focus on Mexico — stories about migration, border control and national identity. Speakers include authors like Salman Rushdie, Yuri Herrera and Jamaica Kincaid; and events like “I Wish to Say” with Sheryl Oring, a prolific writer of postcards to presidents.

She and other writers will be at Bryant Park on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. typing audience dictations of postcards to current presidential candidates. The full lineup for the event can be found at worldvoices.pen.org.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West/ 6:30PM, $38
“Despite his reputation as the most articulate voice of American freedom, Thomas Jefferson has come to be recognized as a hypocritical Founding Father who represented ideals of liberty while simultaneously owning slaves. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed and premiere Jefferson scholar Peter S. Onuf provide a revealing study of the complex, contradictory character, tracing his development and clarifying Jeffersonian philosophy.”

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Bonus – 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 is playing tonight:

Greenwich Village (all six are within walking distance of each other):
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 – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — 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 2016.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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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”
No reservations needed.
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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 Summer 2016).
◊ Order before July 31, 2016 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.
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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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