Selected NYC Events (11/28) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

“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.
For future NYC Events be sure to check the tab above: “Annual NYC Events / Nov.”
For those wonderful, only in NYCity Holiday Windows scroll to bottom of today’s post.

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
Broadway between Columbus Circle and 69th St./ 5:30PM – 8:30PM
“The seventeenth edition of this annual holiday fair begins with the lighting of the Upper West Side Holiday Tree, in Dante Park, and features music, processional groups, jugglers, stilt walkers, and other seasonal attractions. Performers include Sharon Jones and Justin Guarini, from Broadway’s “In Transit”; Steven Bernstein’s Universal Melody Brass; and the Loston Harris Trio. Several neighborhood restaurants, including Atlantic Grill, Magnolia Bakery, and the Smith, will offer snacks. Younger revellers can meet PBS characters and take a tour of the WNET studios, make winter cards for the elderly, or watch a special screening of “Elf,” presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.” (NewYorker)

Here’s why I’m going to be there.
Tasty dishes, hot soups, hot drinks, delectable desserts and great food to warm your spirits. From 5:30 – 8:30 pm, the Upper West Side’s top local kitchens will offer food tastings for nominal cost ($1-$4) under canopies in front of Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, along East Broadway between 62nd and 64th Streets and at Richard Tucker Park between 65th and 66th Streets.

5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY

FREDDIE BRYANT: ‘MONK RESTRUNG’
RON CARTER QUARTET
The Jacob Jolliff Band
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Characterizing Animals in Science and Fiction

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

FREDDIE BRYANT: ‘MONK RESTRUNG’
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th St. and Broadway / 7:30PM, 9:30PM; $30
Tonight is Thelonious Monk’s birthday.
“Just over a decade ago, Freddie Bryant convened several other jazz guitarists of prominence — Howard Alden, Peter Bernstein and Romero Lubambo — to join him and his trio in exploring and adapting Thelonious Monk’s music. The album, “Monk Restrung,” is finally set for release, and its full personnel will reassemble here.” (Chinen-NYT)

RON CARTER QUARTET
Blue Note Jazz Club, / 8PM, 10:30PM, $30-$45
“Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of the music’s greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons.

In the early 1960s, Carter performed throughout the United States in concert halls and nightclubs with Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy. He later toured Europe with Cannonball Adderley. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the classic and acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He has been named Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News, Jazz Bassist of the Year by DownBeat magazine, and Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.”

The Jacob Jolliff Band
The Brother Brothers
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. / 9:30PM, $15
“You might call The Jacob Jolliff Band a bluegrass supergroup. Founded by Yonder Mountain String Band mandolinist Jacob Jolliff, the ensemble features some of the most virtuosic young pickers in the northeast. Before joining YMSB, the 2012 National Mandolin Championship winner logged three records, hundreds of shows, and thousands of miles with New England based roots music band, Joy Kills Sorrow. He formed his namesake progressive bluegrass band in the fall of 2015.”

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

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, FREE
With Ed Yong, an award-winning science writer on the staff of “The Atlantic.”

“This illustrated lecture explores the world of microbes, allowing us to see how microbes do everything from defending us from disease to guiding our behavior and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.”

Characterizing Animals in Science and Fiction
Columbia University, 116th St. & Broadway/ 4PM, FREE
“Animals play a central role in human imagination. We study them, worship them, and domesticate them. We use animals to tell some of our most popular stories. But what do our characterizations of animals tell us about us? In other words, to what extent can cultural and scientific practices of characterizing animals reveal aspects of human (and animal) cognition? How do attributions of “human” characteristics to “other” animals simultaneously blur and fortify distinctions among these classifications?

Our panelists approach these questions from perspectives in history, literature, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience. Harriet Ritvo will consider the boundaries between humans and animals in fiction and fantasy, Jonathan Losos will explore cultural fascinations with domesticity through the science of cats, and Alexandra Horowitz will discuss the physical and psychological curiosities of anthropomorphism in dogs.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

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Bonus NYC Events – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W54th St., 54below.com, 646-476-3551
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34W22ndSt., metropolitan room.com, 212-206-0440
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St., bbkingblues.com, 212-997-2144
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. caffevivaldi.com, 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.
See Below.

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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 for these top NYC events in advance, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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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 Spring 2017).
◊ Order before Mar.31, 2017 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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Holiday Windows

THE NYT “New York Today” column has a nice summary of the city’s department store holiday windows (BTW, I always start my day by reading this wonderful, quirky column):

Most beautiful: Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, at 58th St.
The store’s decadent, travel-themed windows, titled “Destination Extraordinary,” are like a high-fashion fairy tale transporting you out West with cactuses, to a jungle with gorillas, or atop the rolling hills of a medieval castle. Go at night, and you’ll see the entire block glowing green.

Most child-friendly: Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue, at 39th Street; and Macy’s Herald Square, at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue
At Lord & Taylor, look out for ice-skating bunnies, dancing raccoons and mice on skis. A big, snugly bear, too. The display, “Enchanted Forest,” feels ethereal and dreamlike. The sparkling blue, night-sky backdrop and soft lullaby bells might make you want to crawl into the window and drift into a deep winter’s sleep, no matter your age.

Macy’s is the best spot to see Santa Claus. Close in tow are Santa’s helpers, his reindeer and the lovely Mrs. Claus. Watch as Santa and his elves assemble gifts at the North Pole and use a special machine to determine who is nice, merry, jolly, ho-hum or naughty.

Best music: Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, at 49th St.
So loud you can hear it from over a block away — even above the honking traffic. The windows, the “Land of 1,000 Delights,” mix eye candy with real candy: over-the-top outfits alongside lollipops twice the size of the mannequins.

Best lights: Tiffany’s, 727 Fifth Avenue, at 57th St.
The building’s facade is covered with jewel-like lights that are probably larger than anything you’ll find in the store. Do they look like diamond brooches? Diamond insects? Diamond eyes with fluffy lashes and bushy brows? Depends where you stand.

Most creative: Barney’s, 660 Madison Avenue, at East 61st St.
In 2015, the store had real people carving ice sculptures in the windows. And this year, the display doesn’t disappoint.

Another must see over the holidays:

WINTER VILLAGE AT BRYANT PARK (through Jan. 2)
It’s that time of year when the twinkling glow of the Winter Village takes over Bryant Park. Allow yourself to be beckoned by a smooth expanse of ice on the skating rink; the holiday shops full of clothes, jewelry and other gifts; and the warm beverages and treats that come with the coldest season.
WHEN | WHERE at Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues. skating rink through March 5.
INFO Free; 917-438-5166, wintervillage.org (STAV ZIV, Newsday)
PLUS: Tree Lighting December 2 – an original holiday tale on ice with world-class skaters, live music, and a celebrity narrator.

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