Selected Events (06/07) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Sweet 6 > TUESDAY / JUNE 07, 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:

Vision Festival 21 (through June 12)
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South,/ 7PM, $40
“This annual affair, the country’s leading summit meeting of avant-garde jazz, rumbles into its 21st season with a tribute to the bassist Henry Grimes, whose dramatic rediscovery and comeback happened in part on a Vision Festival stage. On Tuesday he’ll perform with admirers including the pianist Geri Allen, the guitarist Marc Ribot and the drummer Andrew Cyrille, in several different groups.

Wednesday’s program will include the vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jen Shyu, along with the Sun Ra Arkestra and a trio led by the pianist Connie Crothers. And the lineup on Thursday includes Cosmic Nickelodeon, a group led by the alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, with the pianist Matthew Shipp and others.” (Chinen-NYT)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Maria Schneider Orchestra (through June 11)
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 8:30PM +11PM, $
“The Thompson Fields,” Schneider’s vivid and poetic 2015 release, continued a stirring and deserving winning streak for this celebrated composer, arranger, and bandleader. Balancing heft and enticing tonal textures with melodic verve, her ingenious scores—as interpreted by her loyal ensemble—have set the bar high for contemporary big bands.” (NewYorker)

Kurt Weill on Broadway with Mary Testa and Friends
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 7PM, $30+
“Gritty, politically charged, and psychologically fraught, the music of Kurt Weill remains as potent and sharp as when it was written over 60 years ago. Kurt Weill on Broadway explores the canon of the German composer’s extensive output, including Broadway favorite Threepenny Opera, which has been revived every decade since its premiere, Lady in the Dark, Street Scene, One Touch of Venus, among others.

Weill’s music represents the finest intersection of the classical and pop worlds. Come hear the music that has influenced generations of composers sung by some of the finest singers in New York, including Broadway veteran and Feinstein’s/54 Below favorite, Mary Testa.” (

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

He Lani Ko Luna (A Sky Above): An Evening with the Navigators of the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St./ 7PM, $15 – Hayden Planetarium Space Theater, 81st St. entrance
“For generations, the starry heavens guided deep-sea voyagers from island to island across Polynesia. In 1976, the Polynesian Voyaging Society built and launched an iconic twin-hulled sailing canoe, Hōkūleʻa, to research and revive the oceanic traditions of the early explorers who settled the islands of Oceania.

Currently visiting the East Coast from the Everglades to New England, Hōkūleʻa is in the midst of a 47,000-nautical-mile worldwide voyage to celebrate indigenous cultures and to raise awareness of the need to steward the Earth’s resources. On behalf of the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Hōkūleʻa captain and navigator Chad Kālepa Baybayan and apprentice navigator Celeste Manuia Haʻo introduce the art of wayfinding the ocean with a system of non-instrument navigation and share their knowledge that “in losing sight of the land, you discover stars.”

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy
Irish Arts Center, 553 W51st St./ 7:30PM, $12
“A revealing and breathtaking account about what happened to John F. Kennedy’s Patrol Torpedo boat 109, and the famous war story’s engrossing aftermath.” — James Patterson “Impressive…[An] engrossing combination of adventure and analysis…Doyle’s work has all the makings of a definitive account — the last word on the story. And as such, it’s a tale few are likely to forget.” — USA Today

William Doyle reads from PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy, the extraordinary World War II story of shipwreck and survival that paved John F. Kennedy’s path to power – hailed as a “breathtaking account” by James Patterson, “masterfully written” by historian Douglas Brinkley, and “the finest book” ever written on the subject by Lt. Commander William Liebenow, the man who rescued JFK and the PT 109 crew in August 1943.” (

Use Brain Science to Stimulate Your Creativity
The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave./ 7PM, $20
“We are born with the desire and ability to be creative, which is part of what makes us human and our life fulfilling. Join professional musician and brain educator Barbara Allen-Lyall to learn how the creative process helps us appreciate our unique brain chemistry and how to work with it to create the life we desire.”

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 Fall 2016).
◊ Order before Sept. 30, 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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