Selected Events (05/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Elite 8 > SATURDAY / MAY 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:

Joe Lovano
Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th St./ 7PM +9:30PM, $65+
“John Coltrane, like his onetime employer and mentor Miles Davis, would have turned ninety this year. Lovano, a contemporary Coltrane acolyte of the highest rank, assembles a glittering ensemble to honor the master, which includes the pianists Geri Allen and Steve Kuhn and the drummers Andrew Cyrille and Brian Blade, as well as two players closely connected to Coltrane: his former bassist Reggie Workman and his son, the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. Among the spiritually inspired Coltrane work to be addressed is the half-century-old masterpiece “A Love Supreme.” (NewYorker)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

“Audible Cloisters: Guitar Marathon”
The Met Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Ft Tyron Pk/ 10:30AM-4PM, free with museum admission
“This marathon of string music, which will feature 14 international guitarists performing in the medieval buildings of the Cloisters, is a special event hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer and curated by New York Guitar Festival’s artistic director David Spelman. Presenting continuous performances in five different spots at the Met’s Upper West Side outpost, highlights include the New York debut of South African Derek Gripper playing pieces for a 21-string kora on a six-string guitar, Min Xiao-Fen’s improvisations on a four-string lute and the sonic structures of Ben Monder, who performed on David Bowie’s final album Blackstar.” (Observer)

Steve Coleman & Five Elements (through May 15)
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave. South, at 11th St./ 8:30 +10:30PM, $30
“Last year, on the heels of a superlative album titled “Synovial Joints,” the intrepid alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman made his proper debut at the Village Vanguard. Next week he returns with his flagship, Five Elements, a sharply intuitive unit that includes the trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, the guitarist Miles Okazaki the electric bassist Anthony Tidd and the drummer Sean Rickman.” (Chinen-NYT)

Barb Jungr: Shelter from the Storm (also May 20-21)
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425Lafayette St./ 7PM, $25
“One of the world’s great cabaret singers, England’s Jungr is a genuine original, deploying warmth, high drama and sensitive musicality to reinvent everything she sings. Her latest set features songs by some of her usual muses (Dylan, Cohen, Springsteen) as well as rare dips into musical theater (Sondheim. Rodgers and Hammerstein).” (TONY)

Miles Davis: Sorcerer at 90
Rose Theatre, Broadway at 60th St./ 8PM, $
“The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will also dive in deep for a celebration of what would have been the ninetieth birthday of Miles Davis, presenting a panoply of refashioned Davis work drawn from recordings stretching from “Birth of the Cool” (1949-50) to the 1968 proto-fusion album “Miles in the Sky.” The musical directors will be the trumpeter Marcus Printup and the drummer Ali Jackson.” (NewYorker)

An Evening with Graham Nash
The Town Hall,123 W43rd St./ 8PM, $51-$76
“Legendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee-with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies. He was also inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a Grammy Award winner.”
Tonight this British singer songwriter celebrates the release of “This Path Tonight” his first new studio album since 2002.

Elsewhere, but if you like Cajun music, this is way worth the detour:
Bayou n’ Brooklyn Music Festival (May 13-15)
Jalopy Theatre, 315 Columbia St./ 12PM – 1AM, $35
“The Louisiana spirit descends on King’s County for a three-day festival of Creole and Cajun food, music, and entertainment. The sixth annual Bayou N’ Brooklyn Music Festival gathers top talent, both local and Louisiana-native, for workshops, dance lessons, and a jambalaya supper. On Friday, Blake Miller and Courtney Granger perform; on Saturday, a community jam and open stage invites the best local players; and Sunday closes out the fest with the C’est Bon Cajun Dance Band and the Dirty Water Dogs.” (NewYorker)

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

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival (Saturday and Sunday)
Ninth Avenue, between 42nd and 57th St./ 10AM-6PM
“This annual event showcases the neighborhood offerings on Ninth Avenue in Clinton — a strip filled with restaurants, markets and bars. Nearly 50 of them, including fixtures like Rudy’s Bar and Grill and 5 Napkin Burger, move from storefronts to the street as its car traffic is replaced by hungry pedestrians. Even the cosmetics retailer Kiehl’s will make an appearance. The full list of participants is at”

If you’re a bike guy like me, this is going to be worth the detour:
NYC Bike Expo
69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave. @ 26th St./ 11AM, FREE
“Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a rookie, the nation’s largest consumer cycling expo will get your wheels turning with a range of workshops covering everything from fixing a flat tire to road racing. More than 100 companies show off their wares, including NYC brands such as the stylish reflective-clothing label Vespertine and bike rental company Spinlister.”

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)

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,, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave., 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S., 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave.,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St., 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St., 212-989-9319

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — / 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 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.

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”
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 Summer 2016).
◊ Order before July 31, 2016 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.
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.

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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