NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/02) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Fab 5  NYC Events > SUNDAY/JULY 02, 2017

“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-July”

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

Kurt Elling
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St./ 8:30PM, +10PM, $10
“The iconic jazz vocalist Elling has probably long accepted that he’s just too diverse, brainy, and downright quirky for mass adulation; his committed fans know better. This intimate one-nighter will be a good chance to catch up with a perennially daring artist who, against the odds, has clung to his individuality.” (NewYorker)

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4 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>‘SOULPEPPER ON 42ND ST.’
>>Cassandra Wilson
>>Dr. Lonnie Smith
>>Spy City: A History of Espionage in New York
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

‘SOULPEPPER ON 42ND ST.’
“The Canadian invasion continues. After the Toronto­to­Broadway hit “Come From Away” comes this unusual monthlong series of plays, musicals and concerts (including “Of Human Bondage” and a toe­tapping musical version of “Spoon River Anthology” with Miranda Mulholland, pictured) by Soulpepper, Toronto’s acclaimed repertory company. Check out the special opening weekend celebrations on Saturday, July 1, and Sunday, July 2 (aka Canada Day).” (JOSEPH V. AMODIO-NEWSDAY)
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, July 1, through July 29 at the Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W. 42nd St.
INFO $65, ­$95

Cassandra Wilson (LAST DAY)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $45-$65
“There may be other promising vocal talents nipping at Wilson’s heels (Cécile McLorin Salvant, anyone?), but her primacy as today’s female jazz singer par excellence remains a given. Revelling in daring eclecticism before it became de rigueur, Wilson melds personality and chops with thrilling audacity. Don’t expect her to drift into the slow lane anytime soon—her upcoming recording project finds her examining her Irish roots.” (NewYorker)

Dr. Lonnie Smith (LAST DAY)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“He can get old-school funky and he can get in-the-moment weird, and that’s why we love Dr. Smith, one of the official masters of the jazz electric organ. The turbaned one celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday in a trio setting for the first three nights, then concludes the engagement in charge of an octet complete with horns and a singer.” (NewYorker)

“Jazz is American Classical,” declares Dr. Lonnie Smith, “and this music is a reflection of what’s hap­pening at the time. The organ is like the sunlight, rain and thunder – it’s all the worldly sounds to me!” An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B–3 for over five decades, the Doctor has been featured on over 70 albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz, blues and R&B giants. He’s performed on our stage with a trio, quartet, octet, and big band – so where better to celebrate his 75th birthday but right back here at Jazz Standard? This gala six–night stand promises to be a highlight of New York’s jazz summer season, with two all-star bands made up of old and new collaborators alike. “Lonnie Smith is still at the top of his game,” wrote Greg Boraman for the website of the BBC. “His blues are powerful without being mawkish, his jazz adept and tasteful, his funk chops always an example to others.” (JazzStandard)

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

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
Spy City: A History of Espionage in New York
Q.E.D., 27-16 23rd Ave., btw. 27th & 28th Sts., Astoria, Queens/ 3PM, $15
“Slip into the covert history of New York City, and follow in the footsteps of four centuries of spies. Explore New York’s finest hotels and most elegant office towers, as well as its toughest docks and most derelict tenements, through the eyes of an active agent. Along the way, you’ll learn the identity of America’s first Spy Master, find out who “heard it through the Grapevine,” and see what on earth the Bronx has to do with the Bolsheviks.

The history of espionage in New York City predates the nation itself. From the Revolution to the present day, covert ops have flourished in the five boroughs. This lecture-based class will offer a survey of the city’s cloak and dagger personalities and locales. We’ll discuss how New York City’s myriad parks, miles of subway, and millions of residents created the perfect environment for a city of spies. Grab your fake passport and join us!”

Let’s not forget this marvelous continuing event from The Film Society Lincoln Center :

New York Asian Film Festival (thru July 16)

“Catch more than 50 new films, including blockbusters, art films and beautiful historical dramas, plus appearances from more than 20 international filmmakers at this 17-day festival. This year’s stellar lineup, which features films hailing from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, features films like Chinese romance Soul Mate on July 7, fantastical Japanese drama Vanishing Time: a Boy Who Returned on July 13, and wraps with the U.S. premiere of Jung Byung-gil’s acclaimed assassin film, The Villainess, on July 16.” (TONY)

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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 discovery and enjoyment.
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 2017.  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:

Fish – 280 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 Fall 2017).
◊ Order before Aug. 31, 2017 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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