NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/03) + 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.


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

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Columbia University, Miller Theatre / 8PM, $20–$35
“The paranoid style in American politics has done pretty well by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. In his long-form masterpiece Real Enemies, from 2016, the composer-conductor and his heavy-duty 18-piece jazz orchestra contemplated such conspiracy theories as Soviet infiltration, numerology, and the ontological unlikelihood of Dick Cheney. Earlier, Brooklyn Babylon reimagined the borough in its entire multiethnic splendor, while Infernal Machines envisioned the big-band tradition as bedazzled steampunk pop. Argue’s hot, dense compositional palette includes minimalism, dodecaphony, and rock, among more traditional jazz touchstones, and he’ll probably drop a little of everything into this concert. Its centerpiece, though, will consist of Tensile Curves, a 40-minute work inspired by Duke Ellington’s Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue as legendarily performed at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)


6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> New York City Ballet
>> Losers Lounge: Tribute to Barbra Streisand
>> Jamison Ross
>> Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum:

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

New York City Ballet
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $30+
Today: All Balanchine No. 2
Divertimento No. 15
The Four Temperaments
“Out of Balanchine’s deep archive, these three pure dance treasures emerge to illustrate his ability to create whole worlds without using scenery or story. From regal courts to hushed expanses, sparkling classicism to commanding modernity, these works conjure narratives and settings in the imagination through their costuming, music, and movement.”

at Birdland / 8:30 and 11PM, $40
“Mr. Murray, one of jazz’s most potent and prolific tenor saxophonists, was the wunderkind of New York’s downtown scene in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, after a long hiatus in Europe, he is again living in the city. As it happens, he never stopped making vital, bridling music at the cusp of postbop and free jazz. This month he will release an album, “Blues for Memo,” featuring an all-star quartet, as well as cutting poetic commentary from Saul Williams. Here he performs with Jaribu Shahid on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, both of whom are on the album, as well as the iconoclastic pianist Lafayette Gilchrist.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Losers Lounge: Tribute to Barbra Streisand (Feb.01-03)
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater / 7pm, 9:30pm; $30
The celebrated, stalwart NYC covers act turns its collective hand to the oeuvre of the one and only Barbra Streisand. Thanks to her last studio album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, Streisand is the only artist in history to have Billboard chart–topping records in six separate decades, so the Losers will have no shortage of material to work with.” (TONY)

Jamison Ross (Feb.02-04)
The Jazz Standard / 7:30PM, 9:30PM, $30
“The winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for the drums, Jamison Ross continues his graceful, gradual transition as a top-flight jazz singer on his excellent second full-length for Concord, All for One. The 29-year-old cites the 1964 Marvin Gaye LP When I’m Alone I Cry as a key influence here, but it’s his current home of New Orleans that ultimately proves to be the creative beacon for this collection of cool covers and poignant originals.

Renditions of Alan Toussaint’s 1966 hit for Lee Dorsey (“A Mellow Time”) and the 1993 Willie Tee single that serves as the title cut emit a sweet, soulful sentiment — something at the intersection of Donny Hathaway and the Neville Brothers. Nods to such early-twentieth-century greats as Kurt Weill (“My Ship”) and Fats Waller (“Let’s Sing Again”) add further credence to Ross’s growth as a singer and bandleader beyond the drumstand. If you’re a fan of the bold paths vocal jazz is taking in 2018, you should make a point to see Ross during his four-night stand at the Standard.” (Ron Hart, Village Voice)

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

The Dubliner / 3pm; $49 (includes four drinks)
“To drink or not to drink? That is the question at New York Shakespeare Exchange’s epic pub crawl, which hits the proverbial stage at four bars in the Financial District. In this Irish-themed edition, the Bard-meets-booze affair kicks off at the Dubliner before heading to Bavaria Bierhaus, Beckett’s and Route 66; at each stop, redeem one of four drink tickets for beer or wine while a cast performs scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, The Merry Wives of Windsor and George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance.” (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this monthly event is always worth the detour:

Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum: Black History Month
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway (Washington Ave.) / 5-11PM, FREE
Happy Hour is 5–7 pm.

“Every month, Brooklyn Museum opens its doors for a free day of talks, performances, art workshops and curator-led tours of exhibitions. At this installment, catch live musical performances from the Skins and Aaron Abernathy, experiment with scratch and resist techniques to make art inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, watch a screening of the 2017 doc Whose Streets?, get down with the Everyday People dance party, attend community talks and lots more.”

“Everyday People – This party started in 2012 as a brunch gathering for stylish New Yorkers to get down. Since then, the soiree has grown into a veritable dance behemoth and toured the nation, but it’s never lost track of its roots. The series returns one of its favorite locales, the Brooklyn Museum, with banging sets of Afrobeat, hip-hop, reggae and more. It might be the depths of winter, but bring your summer style A-game.” (TONY)


Try  a double header. “NYC Broadway Week and NYC Restaurant Week will overlap this winter, creating the perfect storm of events where you can sit down indoors. NYC Broadway Week begins first with two-for-one tickets to the best shows from January 16 through February 4. NYC Restaurant Week joins in on January 22, and it runs through February 9, offering lunches for $29 and dinner for $42.”

See TONY magazine:  Your guide to combining NYC Broadway Week and NYC Restaurant Week


Continuing Events

Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Feb. 12).

”A monument to a monument. With 133 drawings by the beyond-famous artist on loan from some 50 front-rank collections, this show is a curatorial coup and an art historical tour de force: a panoptic view of a titanic career as recorded in the most fragile of media: paper, chalk and ink. And it demands that you be fully present. Drawing is more than a graphic experience; it’s a textural one, about the pressure of crayon and pen on a page; the subliminal fade and focus of lines; the weave and shadow-creating swells of surfaces. These are effects that can’t be captured by a smartphone.” (Cotter-NYT)

The art world has been agog about this exhibition for sometime. One critic after another exclaims that it is the “Exhibition of a lifetime!” The hype has been over the top. Usually that means you’ll be disappointed when you actually experience it, because it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Not this time.

This is a huge and marvelous exhibition that shows the evolution of Michelangelo from a young artist to a mature, divine genius. An exhibition that you will remember for sometime. Even the works of other artists that are included for contrast and context are amazing.

Here are a few reviews from the critics to give you a fuller flavor of this exhibition. They strongly encourage you to make the time to see this “once in a lifetime” exhibition. I also encourage you to see it.

Only 10 days left, because the exhibition closes February 12, and that last week it will probably be crazy packed.


Let there be light!
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.

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.,, 212-608-0555
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W54th St.,, 646-476-3551
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34W22ndSt., metropolitan, 212-206-0440
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St.,, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St.,, 212-997-2144
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.,
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St., 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.

♦ 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):

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.

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.
“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.

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.

“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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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