NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/04) + 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-January”
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.
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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Orrin Evans (thru Jan.06)
Jazz Standard / 7:30PM, 9:30PM, $30
“Multifaceted keyboardist-composer Orrin Evans joins jazz-pop trio the Bad Plus this year and performs in just about every other configuration known to jazz. Expect smart, hard-swinging, and emotionally nuanced arrangements when the Philadelphian cranks up his Captain Black Big Band, a six-horn nonet plus two singers, for a relatively rare appearance Tuesday–Wednesday. The group’s most recent album, 2014’s Mother’s Touch, includes an oblique reimagining of Wayne Shorter’s “Water Babies” alongside gospel-tinged originals and a resistance-resounding “Prayer for Columbine.” Evans downsizes Thursday and Friday with a foolproof sextet consisting of JD Allen (tenor sax), Bill McHenry (tenor sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), James Genus (bass), and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. The leader plays piano in gusts of ideas, blending head and heart while exploring subtleties of difference and repetition.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Live from Das Funk—Capital of the Buckeye Nation:
>> Le Nozze di Figaro
>>Harold Mabern
>>Ken Vandermark
>>Real/Fake Science
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Live from Das Funk—Capital of the Buckeye Nation: Burnt Sugar Arkestra Freaks Dayton Ohio’s Sweet Sticky Thangbook
Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Atrium favorites Greg Tate, Jared Michael Nickerson, and their “multiracial jam army” (Rolling Stone) return to Lincoln Center with a sticky new take on the funky Dayton, Ohio, songbook. Together, they “caramelize” music by the Ohio Players, Zapp, Lakeside, Junie Morrison, Heatwave, Slave, Aurra, and Steve Arrington.”

Le Nozze di Figaro (next performance Jan.10)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $
“An exceptional ensemble of performers—including Ailyn Pérez, Nadine Sierra, Isabel Leonard, Luca Pisaroni, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Ildar Abdrazakov—share the stage in Mozart’s comic yet profound look at human nature and one crazy day in a wealthy Spanish household. Acclaimed Mozartean maestro Harry Bicket conducts Richard Eyre’s high-spirited production.”

Harold Mabern  (thru Jan.07)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, (betw105th/106th Sts.) /
“A Memphis-born transplant who has retained the bluesy filigree of his home town in his fluent bop-and-beyond improvisations, the respected veteran Mabern will be inviting a slew of guests to the stage during this engagement, including the saxophonists Eric Alexander, Vincent Herring, and another Memphis hero, George Coleman, as well as the trombonists Steve Turre and Steve Davis.” (NewYorker)

Ken Vandermark
The Stone, Avenue C at 2nd St. / 8:30PM, $
“Becoming a MacArthur Fellow, in 1999, didn’t noticeably change the game plan for this far-seeing saxophonist and clarinet player; he still makes Chicago his home and remains as committed to the jazz avant-garde as he has been since his emergence in the early nineties. Vandermark’s New York residency finds collaborative space for such questing players as Kris Davis, Ikue Mori, and Paal Nilssen-Love.” (NewYorker)

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

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Real/Fake Science
Caveat, 21 Clinton St./ 7PM, $25
Test your ability to distinguish the facts from the alternative facts at Real/Fake Science!

Join host Shyaporn Theerakulstit for the fourth edition of Real/Fake Science, with all-new presenters who will confound you with their alternate facts and surprising truths. Gather together in the lovely Caveat, a bar appropriately decorated with artifacts and books from all corners of the academic world, and prepare to be regaled with tales of real and fake science, recounted by knowledgeable presenters hailing from a range of scientific disciplines.

Participants at the event will have the chance to compete for the distinction of “Most Discerning,” as well as exciting stickers and prizes! Be prepared to stow your smartphones and listen closely. Come join us in testing your own scientific radar!”

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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. (thru Jan.05)
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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