NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/27) + 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:

MACEO PARKER (Feb. 27-March 4)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $35-$45
“More than any saxophonist, Mr. Parker has helped define the sound of funk music. He threw splashes of grease into James Brown’s music as a prominent soloist in that band for most of the 1960s, then moved on to the subversive, psychedelic funk of Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton’s ensembles. Since the 1990s, Mr. Parker has been stomping across the globe with his own groups, delivering a satisfying, hip-swiveling mélange of funk and soul classics and his own repertoire.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)


6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Company Wayne McGregor
>> Jon Batiste
>>Ben Wendel Seasons Band
>>Patton Oswalt Presents Michelle McNamara’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”
Continuing Events
>>New York City Beer Week

Company Wayne McGregor (Feb.27-Mar.3)
Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $46-$71
“Algorithm meets rhythm in Autobiography, the latest smash hit from Brit Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer at London’s Royal Ballet. He’s treating his body as an archive, developing choreographic portraits based on the sequencing of his own genome; every performance is different, but they all feature ten dancers, sets and projections by Ben Cullen Williams, and an original electronic score by Jlin. Lucy Carder designs the lights, Aitor Throup the costumes, and Uzma Hameed puzzles out the dramaturgy; the piece is “an abstract meditation on aspects of self, life, and writing.” The Saturday matinee performance is “Pay What You Decide”: Make a reservation for a dollar, and then figure out what it’s worth to you after you see it.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

Ben Wendel Seasons Band (Feb. 27-March 4)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30, 10:30PM
“Programmatic yet inspired, Wendel’s Seasons outfit originally began as a series of online video duets that sprang from piano pieces by Tchaikovsky. Here, the saxophonist-bassoonist leader (and member of the popular band Kneebody) brings together three duet partners to give ample voice to the music: the pianist Aaron Parks, the bassist Matt Brewer, and the drummer Eric Harland.” (NewYorker)

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through March 4).
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $30+
“The company wraps up its winter season with a week of repertory, including “Stravinsky and Balanchine,” a splendid showcase of ballets choreographed by George Balanchine and set to music by Igor Stravinsky, including “Agon” and Symphony in Three Movements. As part of that program, on Feb. 27, Erica Pereira and Joseph Gordon make their debuts in Balanchine’s 1972 “Divertimento From ‘Le Baiser de la Fée.’” And the “Here/Now” program, which opens on Feb. 24, is topped by Alexei Ratmansky’s “Namouna, a Grand Divertissement.” It’s a delight.” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

Jon Batiste
Bowery Ballroom / 8pm; $25
“This Louisiana pianist-singer has an extensive resume: a master’s degree from Julliard, he’s served as artistic director at Harlem’s National Jazz Museum and even acted in HBO’s Emmy-nominated Treme. Add to that list, “Late Night” stardom, as he recently started a new role as the bandleader for Late Night With Stephen Colbert. Here, he steps away from leading his acclaimed band Stay Human, to run through a solo set of his catchy, easygoing blend of NOLA jazz, modern funk and retro soul.”

at the Metropolitan Opera House / 6PM, $
“François Girard’s take — part mysterious, part mystifying — on Wagner’s last opera is one of the Met’s most interesting productions of the last decade or so, and returns for the first time since its premiere in 2013. There is no Jonas Kaufmann this time, but Klaus Florian Vogt is a veteran replacement in the title role, and Evelyn Herlitzius may well make for a fine Kundry. Three standouts from the earlier run return: René Pape as Gurnemanz, Peter Mattei as Amfortas and Evgeny Nikitin as Klingsor. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, future music director of the house, conducts.” (NYT)

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

Patton Oswalt Presents Michelle McNamara’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”
at the New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building /
“Despite having his DNA on file, police have never caught the “Golden State Killer,” responsible for a decade of rape and murder in California. Journalist Michelle McNamara’s book on the subject, published posthumously, covers the dual obsessions of predator and investigator. Her husband Patton Oswalt launches the book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, in conversation with Paul Holdengräber. (There’s another appearance on Wednesday, at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn.)”

♦ 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 the day of performance.

Continuing Events

New York City Beer Week
“For eight crazy nights starting February 24, NYC Beer Week taps into the city with hundreds of events: parties, tastings, plenty of grub, the first-ever Fermentation Festival (gotta get those probiotics) and a closing awards gala that’ll honor the best suds in town. If last year’s fest was any indication of what’s to come—400 events took place over 10 days, and acclaimed composers George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein performed live—you’re in for quite the boozy treat.” (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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