NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/23) + 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:

BOBBY MCFERRIN SPIRITYOUALL (March 23-April 1)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $55+
“Since the 1980s, audiences have known Mr. McFerrin as a virtuoso vocalist who can deliver entire captivating sets without any accompaniment. But when he’s with his Spirityouall band, Mr. McFerrin discovers untold possibilities in the rootsy, molten arrangements of Gil Goldstein, the ensemble’s pianist and musical director. Spirityouall has a smartly tailored aesthetic, but Mr. McFerrin complicates and provokes it — sounding shots of vocal percussion, modulating the flow, coaxing kinetics out of languor. Here Mr. Goldstein helms a five-piece band, and Mr. McFerrin is joined on vocals by his daughter, Madison, a notable talent in her own right.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>PAUL TAYLOR AMERICAN MODERN DANCE
>>BILL FRISELL
>> Billy Childs
>>The Library After Hours: Starry Messengers
>> The Affordable Art Fair
Continuing Events
>>STREB EXTREME ACTION
>>Whiteout
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

PAUL TAYLOR AMERICAN MODERN DANCE (through March 25)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7PM, $10+
“Paul Taylor’s spring season continues at Lincoln Center, featuring works from his ample repertory from the 1960s to today, plus newly commissioned work by choreographers Doug Varone and Bryan Arias, and guest appearances by Trisha Brown Dance Company, performing the 1983 postmodern classic “Set and Reset.” This week also sees Sara Mearns, a top ballerina with New York City Ballet, channeling the free-spirited modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan in “Dances of Isadora,” reconstructed by the Isadora Duncan Dance Company.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)
Tonight: Dances of Isadora* | Bryan Arias New Work* | Piazzolla Caldera

BILL FRISELL (through March 25)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30PM, $35
“Last Friday, the guitarist, an eminence on New York’s greater improvised music scene, released “Music Is,” his first solo album in almost 20 years. Mr. Frisell has exerted his influence gently, funneling inspiration from 1960s folk rock and 1970s free jazz into a sound that’s hearthlike and imperturbable, whether spinning through reverb-drenched runs or caressing its way through a slow, major-chord progression. This weekend he’s at the Village Vanguard with his trio, featuring the bassist Thomas Morgan and the drummer Rudy Royston. He takes a break on Monday, then returns for six more nights with the violist Eyvind Kang joining the group.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Billy Childs (March 22-25)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“Having won the 2018 Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Album, the pianist Childs can place the award alongside his previous four. Although he broke into public view by way of his broad work with such luminaries as Freddie Hubbard and J. J. Johnson, Childs quickly sidestepped categorization as an intrepid hard bopper by investigating diverse hybrid projects, including classical composition and Laura Nyro covers. The most recent Grammy-winning album, “Rebirth,” casts a fond glance back toward his small-group beginnings.” (NewYorker)

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

The Library After Hours: Starry Messengers
New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Ave./ 7PM, FREE
“Astronomy may be the oldest human science—bones marked to track the phases of the moon date back 35,000 years. This month’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Library After Hours takes an interstellar theme, with examples of the art, culture, and history of astronomy from the collection, plus cosmic lectures from Astronomy on Tap, including Jana Grcevich speaking about travel to other worlds.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

The Affordable Art Fair kicked off Thursday, featuring contemporary works, ranging from paintings and prints to sculptures and photographs. Workshops and talks will also be taking place throughout the day at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea.
Observer Editors Discuss Affordable Art Fair Favorites

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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  8.6 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 FALL 2018).
◊ Order before NOV.30, 2018 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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