NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/17) + 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-March”
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:

Elsewhere, but the Bronx is coming back and West Side Story and Bobby Sanabria are definitely worth the detour:

‘WEST SIDE STORY: REIMAGINED’
at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture / 7:30PM, $25-$35
“Bobby Sanabria is a leading Cuban percussionist and historian of the Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition, as well as others from across Latin America. Here he leads his 21-piece Multiverse Big Band in a creative homage to Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” teasing out the various strands of musical information that Bernstein used — from Dominican merengue, Brazilian samba and Cuban mambo — and offering extrapolations of his own.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>HAROLD MABERN QUARTET
>> Semiramide
>>Paquito D’Rivera
>>KRIS DAVIS AND INGRID LAUBROCK
>> Chelsea “Best Exhibits” tour
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Continuing Events
>>STREB EXTREME ACTION
>>Whiteout
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

HAROLD MABERN QUARTET (March 16-18)
at Smoke / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $40
“With a crisp, harmonically rich attack, Mr. Mabern carries the mantle of a piano tradition that runs through Ahmad Jamal and Phineas Newborn Jr. From time to time, Mr. Mabern holds court for a weekend at Smoke, presenting his grooving, varnished brand of hard bop with a small group. This weekend is of particular note, as it is Mr. Mabern’s 82nd birthday celebration. He performs here with Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, John Webber on bass and Louis Hayes on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Semiramide (LAST PERFORMANCE)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $27+
“This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance—its first in nearly 25 years—with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.”

Paquito D’Rivera
Rose Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th St./ 8PM, $40+
“The saxophone genius Charlie Parker produced some of the most lyrical playing of his condensed career in his “Bird with Strings” projects of 1949-52, particularly his iconic improvisation on “Just Friends.” The Cuban-born saxophone virtuoso D’Rivera will take on this work, as well as some unrecorded scores and material from Parker’s collaborations with the Latin-jazz pioneers Chico O’Farrill and Machito.” (NewYorker)

KRIS DAVIS AND INGRID LAUBROCK
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30PM, $25
“Ms. Davis and Ms. Laubrock are two subtle provocateurs whose respective roles in New York’s avant-garde music community continue to grow. Ms. Davis’s pianistic language is rangy and full-blooded, sometimes speaking in ripples and layers, elsewhere in adamant scatters. Ms. Laubrock’s tenor saxophone is just as given to frayed redirections, but she vests it with a vigilant coolness underneath. These two musicians have played together in a variety of configurations over the years. Now they’re at work on a duo recording; they play here in that pared-down formation.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Chelsea “Best Exhibits” tour
526 W. 26th St. near 10th Ave. @ 1:00 PM and 3:45 PM, $25
“Highlights of this ALL-NEW tour, our most extraordinary this month in any gallery area: (1) a European artist’s transcendent 3D video that’s been a hit at international art festivals, (2) dynamic paintings by a notorious graffiti artist whose works are owned by major museums, and (3) a female artist’s mysterious “Immersion Room” that you’ll explore with a lantern. These are just 3 of 7 phenomenal shows in this 300-gallery area!”
SPECIAL OFFER: visit our website to request a DISCOUNT ticket link for $8-off admission! For more info, visit http://www.nygallerytours.com or call 917-250-0052.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2017 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.
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Continuing Events

This is not Manhattan’s WestSide, but it is Brooklyn’s WestSide. If you have never seen these crazy, fearless performers, they are well worth the detour:

STREB EXTREME ACTION (March 2-25 at various times)
at SLAM, 51 N 1st St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“Elizabeth Streb’s cavernous Brooklyn space is known as SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics), which is also a frequent move that occurs at one of her shows. For the month of March, her fearless team of action heroes, as they’re called, will navigate intimidating industrial contraptions and fling themselves from unnatural heights, seemingly defying physics with the pep of cheerleaders. The hourlong show, “S.E.A.” (“Singular Extreme Actions”), encapsulates all the thrill, humor and energizing fun that makes this company so singular.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)

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.

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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. Hit the Hot Link and check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
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
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
and one more, not exactly WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,

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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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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