NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/19) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Elite 8 NYC Events > SATURDAY/ AUGUST 19, 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-August”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you’ll find anywhere.

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

MARY J. BLIGE
at the Theater at Madison Square Garden / 8PM, $40+
“To find the closest parallels to the effect a Mary J. Blige concert has on audiences, you would need to look to group therapy, motivational seminars or church services. This summer, Ms. Blige is touring with set lists that tie highlights from her most recent album, “Strength of a Woman,” into a redemptive arc with older favorites such as “Real Love,” released in 1992; “No More Drama,” from 2001; and “Just Fine,” from 2007. With Lalah Hathaway.” (NYT-SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)

>>KAKI KING
>>Blues BBQ Festival
>>Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond
>>BATTERY DANCE FESTIVAL
>>TRIO DA PAZ AND FRIENDS
>>A LOVE SUPREME
>>Summer Streets NYC 2017
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

KAKI KING
at the Iridium / 8PM, $27.50.
“The virtuosic guitarist Kaki King has done session work with mainstream acts from Foo Fighters to Timbaland, all while cultivating a dedicated audience for her own solo compositions. Ms. King is currently preparing a live album of orchestral reinterpretations of that solo work, but first she’s stopping by the Iridium, in Midtown Manhattan, for this Saturday night show.” (NYT-SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON)

Blues BBQ Festival
“Hudson River Park pairs blues and roots music with food from New York City barbecue restaurants. Listen to The Campbell Brothers, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Eric Gales, Terrie Odabi, and Dumpstaphunk, and try food from Dinosaur Bar­B­Que, Mighty Quinn’s and Pig Beach, as well as Monk’s Meats for the vegetarians and ice cream sandwiches from Melt for dessert.” (Newsday, STAV ZIV)
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, Aug. 19, 2­9 p.m. at Pier 97 on the Hudson River Greenway at West 59th Street
INFO FREE; 212­627­2020, hudsonriverpark.org ­­

Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond
Mezzrow, 163 W. 10th St./ 8PM, +9:30PM, $20-25
“Mainstream jazz piano has its most elegant champion in the veteran virtuoso Barron, who, at seventy-four, remains at the top of his game. He’s joined by another distinctly graceful player, the bassist Drummond, who, after decades of interaction, has a second-sight connection with Barron. (Check out the live sets from the nineteen-nineties, recorded at the late, lamented Bradley’s, for proof of their early telepathy.” (NewYorker)

BATTERY DANCE FESTIVAL
the Schimmel Center / 6PM, $
“For the first six nights of this weeklong festival, which is now in its 36th year, Battery Dance, in association with the Battery Park City Authority, has arranged a glorious backdrop for moving bodies: New York Harbor. Mixed bills feature an eclectic lineup that includes Danuka Ariyawansa and Behri Drums and Dance Ensemble from Sri Lanka; Bollylicious, a Belgium-based collective; and Mophato Dance Theater, an Afro-fusion and contemporary dance company from Botswana. There will be local groups too, like Janis Brenner & Dancers, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and, of course, Battery Dance. On Tuesday, the organization teams up with the Indo-American Arts Council to offer a showcase of Indian dance artists.” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

TRIO DA PAZ AND FRIENDS (Aug. 15-20 and 22-27)
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40
“Trio Da Paz has been around for 31 years, and it’s held down a summer residency at Dizzy’s for the last 10. With Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums, the group calls its music “samba jazz.” It’s not false advertising; the triumvirate is given to up-tempo excursions, high on friction — not the lilting bossa nova that you might expect from a Brazilian guitar trio. These comrades will find new angles of engagement over their two-week run, during which they will welcome various special guests on different nights, including the vocalist Maucha Adnet and the trumpeter Claudio Roditi.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

A LOVE SUPREME (Aug. 18-20)
A Tribute to John Coltrane Featuring Azar Lawrence
at Smoke Jazz Club / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $ 38
“Mr. Lawrence worked in the 1970s with both McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, very nearly touching the hem of John Coltrane’s garment (Jones and Mr. Tyner were half of Coltrane’s classic quartet). He was known then, as he is now, as one of Coltrane’s direct descendants on the tenor saxophone. Here he offers a program titled “A Love Supreme,” celebrating Coltrane’s repertoire. He’ll appear with a quartet, to include his frequent collaborators Benito Gonzalez on piano and Essiet Okon Essiet on bass.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Summer Streets NYC 2017
“Seven miles of Gotham turf along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue is completely cleared of vehicles in order to create a pedestrian paradise. Hundreds and thousands of revelers descend upon the asphalt for invigorating sight-filled tours, plus free activities including a rock climbing wall, a zipline, outdoor art installations and misting stations. You won’t want to miss this year’s six rest stops which include a 270-foot water slide, fitness classes, a dog park, arts and crafts workshops, plus walking tours that explore NYC parks and some of the most beautiful NYC buildings. This is one of the best NYC events in August, so make sure to hit the streets for the first three Saturdays.” (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 Nov. 30, 2017 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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