NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/11) + 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-December”
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:

Norma  (next and last performance Dec.16)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $32+
“Ponselle, Milanov, Sutherland, Callas … after last night, Radvanovsky can add her name to the list,” declared the Huffington Post when Sondra Radvanovsky made her Met role debut as Norma in 2013. The 2017–18 season opens with a new production of Bellini’s masterpiece, starring Radvanovsky as the Druid priestess and Joyce DiDonato as her archrival, Adalgisa—a casting coup for bel canto fans. Tenor Joseph Calleja is Pollione, Norma’s unfaithful lover, and Carlo Rizzi conducts. Sir David McVicar’s evocative production sets the action deep in a Druid forest where nature and ancient ritual rule.”

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>David Yazbek
>>LCD Soundsystem
>>Michael Cerveris and Loose Cattle
>>Jamie deRoy and Friends
>>Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

David Yazbek
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $80+
“Yazbek wrote the scores for Broadway’s The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and now The Band’s Visit. On his own, he plays what he calls “challenging pop,” full of bouncy riffs and hooks as well as nasty-naughty humor. For his December set at 54 Below, he is joined by The Band’s Visit’s mesmerizing Katrina Lenk.” (TONY)
saw Katrina on Sunday – she is special.

LCD Soundsystem (also Dec. 14-15, Dec. 17-19, Dec. 21-23)
Brooklyn Steel, 319 Frost St., Brooklyn / 8PM, $66+
All other nights are sold out, for those dates you’ll have to use the secondary market.
“LCD Soundsystem has long mixed electronics, disco beats, and jagged post-punk guitars with the mastermind James Murphy’s sung-spoken vocals. The group first made a splash in 2002, with “Losing My Edge,” a single that gave a wry, self-effacing voice to a nation of indie hipsters. Three critically revered, Zeitgeist-baiting albums later, Murphy (who also heads the label DFA) had become a highly touted producer, and the band had earned a reputation as an explosive live act. LCD’s breakup, in 2011, came with an elaborate Madison Square Garden concert and all the corresponding ceremony, which made last year’s reunion a cause for celebration. The band’s announcement of a residency at Brooklyn Steel overloaded ticket sites earlier this year; it returns for a third stand.” (NewYorker)

Michael Cerveris and Loose Cattle
Sheen Center / 7:30PM, $37-$47
“Two-time Tony winner Cerveris (Fun Home) herds his “countrypolitain” band, Loose Cattle, through the sounds of the South in a holiday-themed show celebrating the release of their new LP, Seasonal Affective Disorder. In addition to co-vocalist Kimberly Kaye, the show features singing by Will Chase, Laura Cantrell and Gotham stars Ben McKenzie and Robin Lord Taylor.” (TONY)

Jamie deRoy and Friends
Birdland / 7PM, $40+
“Cabaret doyenne Jamie deRoy returns with another clutch of Broadway buddies: Lena Hall, Cady Huffman, Judy Kaye, Kevin Meaney, Pamela Myers and Hugh Panaro. Proceeds benefit the cabaret wing of the charitable Actors Fund.” (TONY)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Birdland, 315 W44th St. / 9:30PM, $30
“Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly soiree that brings a sprinkling of “Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night. It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars, backed by Steve Doyle on bass, Billy Stritch on piano and Daniel Glass on drums, hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.” (broadwayworld)

More coming soon.

Continuing Holiday 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)
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 31)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / various times and prices
“As a young dancer in St. Petersburg in the nineteen-tens, George Balanchine performed the lead in the Harlequins’ “Hoop Dance” in the Mariinsky Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” By all accounts, he was rather proud of his performance, and in 1954, when he created his own “Nutcracker” for the New York City Ballet, he included the dance verbatim in the second act, and renamed it “Candy Cane.” With its double hoop jumps, it is still one of the most beloved sections of the ballet, performed by one adult dancer and eight children from the school. This merging of past and present, adult prowess and youthful flair, has helped insure this production’s enduring appeal for more than sixty years. It returns for a monthlong run.” (NewYorker)

“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” continues performances throughout the month. It never disappoints, from its onstage snowstorm to the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. And there’s also, of course, Balanchine’s remarkable choreography, which brings the Tchaikovsky score to dancing life. This week, many of the principal dancers get a shot at Sugar Plum — Sara Mearns, Megan Fairchild and Lauren Lovette, among them — but not to be overlooked is the soloist Indiana Woodward, who is scheduled to do the honors on Dec. 7 opposite Chase Finlay as her Cavalier. She’s a delight.” (NYT 12/01-Gia Kourlas)

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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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Let there be light!
Luminaries installation at Brookfield Place in the Winter Garden, a stunning holiday arrangement, comprising 650 LED lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Make sure to pack your skates and enjoy ice-skating next door, along the waterfront.
AND
Erwin Redl’s Whiteout, a newly commissioned public art project, will light up in Madison Square Park. 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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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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