Selected NYC Events (01/21) + 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: “Notable NYC Events-Jan.”

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

Roméo et Juliette
Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center/ 1PM, $20+
“When Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo starred opposite each other in Manon at the Met in 2015, the New York Times said, “the temperature rises nearly to boiling every time Damrau and Grigolo are on stage together.” Now they’re back as opera’s classic lovers, in Gounod’s lush Shakespeare adaptation. The production, by director Bartlett Sher, has already won acclaim for its vivid 18th-century milieu and stunning costumes during runs at Salzburg and La Scala. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the sumptuous score.”

5  OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY
Jimmy Cobb
BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET WITH KURT ELLING
Noche Flamenca: Antigona
Marilyn Maye: By Request
Alejandro Escovedo
OUTSIDER ART FAIR

PLUS 
NYC Restaurant Week reservations now open
Broadway Week and Attractions Week now open

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Jimmy Cobb (Jan. 20-22)
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, (btw105th/106th Sts.)/ 7, 9,10:30PM, $40
Cobb isn’t the oldest classic drummer still performing (Roy Haynes, at ninety, has a few years on him), but the last surviving member of the band on Miles Davis’s groundbreaking 1959 album, “Kind of Blue,” is still going strong, at eighty-eight. Celebrating his longevity in style, Cobb gathers a multigenerational cluster of players, including the pianist Larry Willis, the bassist John Webber, and the saxophonist Vincent Herring, each well versed in hard bop—a genre that Cobb exemplifies with his judicious balance of elegance and aggressiveness.” (NewYorker)

BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET WITH KURT ELLING
at Rose Theater, Jazz@Lincoln Center / 8PM, $
“Mr. Marsalis and his ever-inventive quartet released an album last year with the singer Kurt Elling titled “Upward Spiral.” The elegant, playful album shows the high-profile pair operating in their wheelhouse, exploring standards by the Gershwins and Sonny Rollins; it was unsurprisingly nominated for a Grammy for best jazz vocal album. The group will appear here during a global tour.” (NYT-Chow)

Noche Flamenca: Antigona (through Jan. 28)
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W86th St./ 8PM, $25-$60
“Traditional Spanish dance and ancient Greek theater are an unlikely but well-suited pair in Noche Flamenca’s sharp production “Antigona,” based on Sophocles’s famous tragedy. The dance lights a fire under the play while discovering in itself a knack for narrative drama. In the title role, the powerhouse Soledad Barrio is both fierce and fragile. The century-old church where the performance takes place is filled with striking sets, darkly amorous music played by a live band and a ferocious Greek chorus of dancers.” (NYT-Schaefer)

My Take: Noche Flamenca is Spain’s most successful touring company and its greatest exponent of the art of flamenco. Soledad Barrio is a goddess of dance and brings so much passion to her role as Antigona. Two wonderful Spanish guitarists and two vocalists do not get the credit they deserve. Every piece of this performance is outstanding. Go See It!

Marilyn Maye: By Request
Metropolitan Room, 34 W22nd St./ 7PM, $45
“Marilyn Maye’s stellar past includes a string of classy RCA albums in the ’60s and a nearly unequaled number of Tonight Show appearances, but this husky-voiced, earthy belter has never sounded better than she does now (at 88). Astonishingly active lately, she now returns to the Met Room with a set of tunes suggested by audience members when they buy their tickets.” (TONY)

Tough ticket , may need to wait list this one.
Alejandro Escovedo
City Winery, 155 Varick St./ 8PM, $35-$50
“Late-blooming roots-rock auteur Alejandro Escovedo, who spent the ’70s and ’80s playing punk and hard-edged country-rock with Rank and File, the Nuns and True Believers, is making some of the darkest, most personally charged music of his career. Here, the Austin songsmith plays behind his newest LP, last year’s Burn Something Beautiful.” (TONY)

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

OUTSIDER ART FAIR
“It’s the 25th anniversary of the Outsider Art Fair, which is dedicated to Art Brut, Folk and Outsider Art, defined as “art produced by self-taught artists who are not part of the artistic establishment.” This year’s event will include more than five dozen galleries from all over the United States as well as Canada, France, Austria, Japan, Haiti and more.” (STAV ZIV-Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Thursday, Jan. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St.
INFO $20-$50; 212-337-3338, outsiderartfair.com

PLUS 

NYC Restaurant Week reservations now open
From Jan. 23 to Feb. 10, have your pick from 375 participating restaurants, with a three-course prix fixe lunch or dinner; lunches are $29, and dinners are $42, not including beverages, gratuities and taxes, a great deal for some of the city’s most popular spots…

This year there are 32 new restaurants participating, joining the array of restaurants that span 41 neighborhoods and four boroughs.
To see the full list, go to nycgo.com/restaurantweek.

Broadway Week and Attractions Week now open
Day 4 of Broadway Week and Attractions Week, through Feb. 5, where you can receive deals like two-for-one tickets at performances and cultural events around the city.

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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 60 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 24,000 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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