NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/21) + 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-February”
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.


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

“LA BOHÈME” (various dates through Mar.10; next performance Feb.24, 12:30PM)
at the Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $25+
“The world’s most popular opera returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production, with a series of exciting casts. Angel Blue, Anita Hartig, and Sonya Yoncheva share the role of the fragile Mimì, with Dmytro Popov, Russell Thomas, and Michael Fabiano alternating as the poet Rodolfo. Alexander Soddy and Marco Armiliato share conducting duties.”


5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Tierney Sutton
>>Linda and Laura Benanti: The Story Goes On
>>Peter Bernstein
>>Noche Flamenca


Tierney Sutton (Feb. 20-24)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, +11PM, $40
“A stylish and canny singer determined to usher the pop and rock auteurs of past decades into the jazz-vocal repertoire, Sutton has delved into the Joni Mitchell songbook, and on her 2016 album, “The Sting Variations,” she put her own spin on the work of Gordon Sumner. “Roxanne” didn’t make the cut, but such soundtrack-of-a-generation fodder as “Message in a Bottle” and “Fields of Gold” were given new life.” (NewYorker)

Linda and Laura Benanti: The Story Goes On (Feb.20-23)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $95
“The enchanting and sharp-witted Laura Benanti has captured Broadway’s heart in shows from Into the Woods and Gypsy through Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, She Loves Me and the recent Meteor Shower (She also stole NBC’s The Sound of Music Live from right under Carrie Underwood’s nose.) In her return to F/54, she performs alongside her mother, Linda, an actor turned voice teacher.” (TONY)

ROMEO + JULIET (Feb.13 – 23)
New York City Ballet
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“In defiance of its tragic ending, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet remains the greatest romance of all time, demonstrating the power of love in its many forms. Peter Martins’ staging of this eternal classic, set to Prokofiev’s glorious accompaniment, embraces naïve excitement, betrayal, despair, and steadfast resolution, emphasizing the innocence and youthful optimism of its two heroes while proving that even in death true love cannot be overcome.”

Peter Bernstein (Feb. 20-25.)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“There are plenty of jazz guitarists currently pushing the envelope of the art form, but sometimes expertly performed mainstream picking is the only thing that will do the trick, and Bernstein is the man for the job. A smooth-toned bebopper with an outsized technique (one that the position demands), Bernstein leads a quartet that includes the pianist Sullivan Fortner, the bassist Doug Weiss, and the drummer Leon Parker.” (NewYorker)

Noche Flamenca
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $61+
“One of the pleasures of living in New York City is knowing that Madrid-born Soledad Barrio, flamenco artist extraordinaire, lives here too; one Sunday I found myself sitting next to her on the subway! Even better to sit in front of her at the Joyce during this two-week season, called Intimo, as she performs the series of duets that make up La Ronde, a variation on the carousel plot of intimate human interactions based on Schnitzler, Bergman, Chekhov, and the 1950 Max Ophüls film, and here choreographed by her husband, Martin Santangelo. Also see solos by her frequent partner, Juan Ogalla, and by Barrio herself, accompanied by a clutch of passionate musicians and singers. (She’s sitting out Saturday matinees, so be careful as you book.) (Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice)

♦ 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.


Continuing Events

Lincoln Center Balloons
Birthday parties. The circus. Performances by classically-trained ballet dancers in one of the world’s preeminent companies. Everything is made a little bit better with balloons.

Encounter thousands of the aforementioned inflatable objects and enjoy instigators at the New York City Ballet’s home at Lincoln Center. The balloons are an installation by visual artist Jihan Zencirli and will range in size from 10 inches to 10 feet.

You can stop by the NYS / DHK Theater and check out the extra festive atmosphere for yourself during free, public viewing hours from February 17 through February 25 at the following times:
Mon–Fri 10am–6pm
Sat-Sun 10am–12pm
The happy helium habitat will also be on view during NYC Ballet performances on Feb 2 and Feb 24, with tickets going for $30+. (TONY)

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
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
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
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474
and one more, not exactly WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.,

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.


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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