NYC Events,”Only the Best” (11/17) + 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 better check the tab above: “NYC Events-November
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.
The curated list of events you will find in the “This WEEK” tab ain’t bad, either.

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

Bill Charlap Trio (Nov. 17-19)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, between 105th and 106th Sts./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $40
“A taste for perfection isn’t mandatory, but it doesn’t hurt when it comes to appreciating the Charlap trio. A classic balance of calibrated interplay and dynamics governs the pianist Charlap’s mainstream unit; his airtight rapport with the nonrelated Washingtons (Peter on the bass and Kenny on the drums) is as indivisible on the trio’s latest recording, “Uptown Downtown,” as it was twenty years ago, when the three men first connected.” (NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>John Zorn’s Masada
>>Madama Butterfly
>>JANE IRA BLOOM
>>David Hazeltine, Peter Bernstein, and Todd Coolman
>>Nellie McKay
>>Trevor Knight and Honor Heffernan: The Whistling Girl (
>>Melissa Errico Sings Sondheim
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

John Zorn’s Masada  (Nov. 14-19)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $30
“Where it once seemed like a massive turning of the tide for the iconoclastic Zorn to get a stint at this hallowed jazz institution, by now it feels like old home week. Nine different ensembles will present work from the third book of the composer’s ever-growing Masada repertoire. Participants include Bill Frisell, Christian McBride, Julian Lage, and Frank London; Zorn himself is scheduled to perform with the Zion 80 band on the final night.” (NewYorker)

Madama Butterfly (next Nov.20; various dates thru Mar.16)
The Metropolitan Opera / 8PM, $25+
“Anthony Minghella’s stunning production of Puccini’s heartbreaking opera, an instant Met classic since its 2006 premiere, returns with Hui He and Ermonela Jaho in the tragic title role of the trusting geisha. Roberto Aronica and Luis Chapa alternate as her callous American lover, Pinkerton, and Jader Bignamini and Marco Armiliato conduct.”

JANE IRA BLOOM
at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church, 315 W22nd St./ 7:30PM, $20
“Ms. Bloom is a soprano saxophonist of direct, purposeful attack and bluesy intuition. Her most recent album, “Early Americans,” is a strong double disc set featuring her musical interpretations of Emily Dickinson poems, with just a bass-drums trio. At St. Paul’s church, she’ll strip things down even further: She’ll appear in a duet with the bassist Kent McLagan, using no amplification, working in direct communication with the architecture and the audience.’ (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

David Hazeltine, Peter Bernstein, and Todd Coolman (Nov. 17-18)
Mezzrow, 163 W.10th St. / 8PM, 9:30PM, $20-$25
“There’s an alluring transparency to the piano-guitar-bass configuration that’s been attracting discerning jazz musicians since the ascendancy of Nat Cole’s streamlined trio in the nineteen-forties. The “Trifecta Trio” brings together the pianist Hazeltine, the guitarist Bernstein, and the bassist Coolman, each a respected straight-ahead stylist well versed in the art of lyrical swing.” (NewYorker)

Nellie McKay
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater / 11:59PM, $15
“Fearless singer-songwriter McKay is always guaranteed to flabber your gast with her witty, unwieldy and beguiling performances. Her themed sets—which have thus far included studies of convicted murderer Barbara Graham, environmentalist Rachel Carson and transgender bandleader Billy Tipton—are especially bonkers, in a wonderful way. This latest is devoted to a groundbreaking late comedian who, for legal reasons, strongly but only tacitly resembles Joan Rivers.” (TONY)

Trevor Knight and Honor Heffernan: The Whistling Girl (Nov.17-18)
Irish Arts Center / 8PM, $28-$34
“Irish composer-pianist Knight and singer-actor Heffernan turn the acerbic poems of Algonquin Round Table wit Dorothy Parker into a cabaret song cycle.” (TONY)

Melissa Errico Sings Sondheim (Nov.17-18)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $50-$60
“Errico is a smart-edged musical-theater leading lady whose silvery voice has brightened such shows as My Fair Lady, Amour and the Off Broadway revival of Passion. In this set, she sets her mind on songs by show-tune deity Stephen Sondheim, from the comic neurosis of “Getting Married Today” and “Everybody Loves Louis” to the despair of “No More.” (TONY)

Continuing Events

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (6th Ave. & 42nd St.)
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Enjoy Bryant Park through the winter with the Holiday Shops food and gift boutiques (thru Jan.02), Danny Meyer’s pop-up rinkside eatery Public Fare (thru Mar.04), and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 28, 2017 – March 4, 2018
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting)
Tree Lighting
As one of the most popular holiday markets in NYC, the Winter Village has big plans to make their tree-lighting ceremony (held 6PM, Friday, December 1) a smash. When you go, you’ll be dazzled by a theatrical ice-skating show starring World Champions and Olympian skaters Kimmie Meissner, Meryl Davis and Charlie White as well as Jeff Buttle. The legendary Johnny Weir will also hit the 17,000-square-foot rink.

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(11/10/17-1/1/18) The NYC perennial holiday favorite Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes® returns. Fan favorites include “New York at Christmas,” where the Rockettes® board a real double-decker bus, and the high-energy tap number “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Of course, beloved classics like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity” will also be back. rockettes.com/christmas

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“Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer”
Metropolitan Museum / 10AM-5:30PM, $25
“The largest Michelangelo in the history of the Met opened on Monday Nov 13.  “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” features 133 drawings, three marble sculptures and the iconic Renaissance artist’s earliest painting.

The last Michelangelo exhibition to take place in New York consisted of a reproduction of the Sistine Ceiling at the Oculus in Lower Manhattan. But now, the real deal is coming to town thanks to the exhibition, “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer,” at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Announced in May, the show is the largest monograph of the Renaissance genius ever mounted at The Met. It’s been hyped—not without reason—as a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit featuring 133 drawings, three marble sculptures, as well as the artist’s earliest painting.

The show also includes a wooden architectural model for a chapel he designed, along with paintings by some of his contemporaries. “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” opens November 13, and is bound to be packed.” (TONY)

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Erwin Redl’s Whiteout, a newly commissioned public art project, will light up in Madison Square Park tonight. It consists of hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a white LED light, and suspended from a square grid of steel poles. The swaying sequence of light will be on display until April 2018.

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Elsewhere, but come on, “just Mangia,” and make this worthwhile detour:
“Savor the Bronx” – a Bronx version of Restaurant Week. (LAST DAY)
Go check it out to get deals at the best restaurants in the Bronx.

“The Bronx’s culinary diversity get its rightful spotlight during this price-slashed, borough-specific restaurant week. For 11 days, more than 30 eateries will serve prix-fixe menus at a budget-friendly rate of just $16.41 for lunch and $20.15 for dinner. Snack your way through Latin cuisines ranging from Mexican at Xochimilco Family Restaurant to Dominican at Mamajuana Cafe, or tap into the borough’s rich Italian history at red-sauce standbys like Enzo’s of Morris Park and Tosca Café. In addition to food, Bronx-bound bargoers can throw back beers at Bronx Alehouse or the venerable Bronx Beer Hall, that storied bazaar where Robert De Niro first met Joe Pesci.” (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 Spring 2018).
◊ Order before May 31 28, 2018 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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