Selected Events (05/08) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Super 7 > SUNDAY / MAY 08, 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:

America’s Cup
Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza / from 2PM to 3:30PM, FREE
“Sailing races for the America’s Cup—NYC’s biggest sailing event—will be held in New York City for the first time since 1920 in what promises to be one of the best things to do this spring. Watch six teams from the United States, Britain, France, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden compete in the preliminary event for the 35th America’s Cup next June in Bermuda. The races are free to watch from the shore, and will be taking place rain or shine.

The best place to watch the action will be around Battery Park City.
The Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza will be the focal point of the race’s festivities with two giant screens giving fans a better view of what’s happening out in the water during the races. The Plaza will also be hosting an event village from 11am to 6pm on both days with live performances, merchandise booths, a champagne bar and more.” (TONY)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Ron Carter
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM +10:30PM, $30, $45
“You can find bassist Carter in a diversity of music listeners’ record collections (Miles Davis for traditional jazz heads, A Tribe Called Quest for fans of a newer generation). The jazz legend’s been leading several sparkling ensembles in recent years, ranging in size from trio to big band. This week, he gigs with nine-, four- and three-piece bands as he celebrates his 79th birthday.” (TONY)

New York City Ballet (through May 29)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 3PM, $30+
“This week, City Ballet introduces two programs honoring its founding fathers: “All Balanchine” comprises “Ballo della Regina,” “Kammermusik No. 2” and “Vienna Waltzes” (Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday); “All Robbins” features “Dances at a Gathering” and “West Side Story Suite” (Wednesday).” (NYT-Schaefer and Burke)

One for All (May 6-8)
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway,(btw 105th/106th Sts.)/ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $40
Pledging allegiance to hard bop in all its durable glory, the members of this collective sextet, which includes the saxophonist Eric Alexander and the trombonist Steve Davis, have been together for nearly twenty years, fulfilling a need for slamming, unpretentious jazz which is in little danger of disappearing.” (NewYorker)

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

Japan Day
Central Park, entrance at Fifth Ave.& 69th St./ 9:30AM-4:30PM, FREE
“This annual festival returns for its 10th year, with activities and performances to showcase Japanese culture. The activities, in tents around Central Park’s band shell, include calligraphy, Kabuki face painting and origami — even a Hello Kitty photo booth. Onstage at Rumsey Playfield is a mixture of dance, spoken word and musical performances. The full list of events and participants is at japandaynyc.org.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

New York African Film Festival (May 4-10)
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 65th St (btw Broadway/Amsterdam) / various times, $14
“The drama, “Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai,” is one of the highlights of the New York African Film Festival, whose 23rd edition opened Wednesday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The festival is part of a monthlong focus on African cinema that continues May 13 to 15 at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem. On May 18, the Brooklyn Academy of Music opens the theatrical revival of Ousmane Sembène’s pioneering 1966 film “Black Girl.” The month closes with the companion “FilmAfrica” series, also at BAM.” (WSJ)

Their opening night film “Tanna,” set on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, was just wonderful and played to a well deserved full house.

Hardly Manhattan’s WestSide, it’s an island in the East River, but this is worth the detour:
“Frieze New York”  (May 5-8)
Randall’s Island Park / 11AM, $ various prices
The main attraction of the week, the fifth edition of Frieze New York, features more than 200 exhibitors from 31 countries in its dynamically designed white tent on Randall’s Island. Offering one of the best art fair presentations in contemporary art, Frieze mixes up its program with galleries showing blue chip artists, solo shows of 20th century artworks, sections for emerging art and special projects and talks, which make the visitors’ experience even more rewarding.

Standouts this year include Salon 94’s and David Zwirner’s female-focused booths; Matthew Marks Gallery’s show of sculpture; David Wojnarowicz’s multi-media installation from 1985 at P.P.O.W; and solo shows of Fred Wilson at Pace, William Kentridge at Marian Goodman and Melvin Edwards at Alexander Gray Associates, as well as a Frith Street’s presentation of works by Cornelia Parker, which coincides with her current rooftop project at the Met.” (the Observer)

BONUS: Let’s not forget one for this hometown boy:
“I Love the Bronx”  Bronx Week (May 6-15)
various locations and times; various prices
“Celebrate the Boogie Down with 11 days of fun activities. Take a trolley tour, paddle on the Bronx River, hear some stand-up and much more at this annual festival.” (TONY)

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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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