NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/28) + 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-April”
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 this is always worth the detour:
Sakura Matsuri / Cherry Blossom Festival (April 28-29)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden / 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $30
“There’s no better place in the city to experience cherry blossom season than Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where over 200 trees line its Cherry Esplanade and dot the gorgeous landscape of its Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Head there this weekend for peak blooms and the Japanese cultural extravaganza that is Sakura Matsuri, with tons of costumed flower fans, martial arts and live music, manga workshops, tea ceremonies and tons of activities for kids.”(MetroNY)

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8 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Allan Harris “The Genius of Eddie Jefferson”
>> Karrin Allyson
>>Chucho Valdes
>> Houston Person Quartet
>> “Black, Brown & Beige” & “The Best of Basie”
>>NEW YORK CITY BALLET
>> All Japan Ramen Contest
>> The World’s Fare
Continuing Events
>> Tribeca Film Festival
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Allan Harris “The Genius of Eddie Jefferson” (April 27-29)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, between 105th and 106th Sts./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $40
“Vocalese, the art of applying original lyrics to the contours of previously recorded jazz improvisations, was perfected by the vocalist Eddie Jefferson, an irrepressible performer who was killed at age sixty, in 1979. Harris pays tribute to this pioneering singer, bringing his own lustre to such touchstones as “Moody’s Mood for Love,” a Jefferson concoction that’s been interpreted by everyone from Aretha Franklin to Amy Winehouse.” (NewYorker)

Karrin Allyson (April 24-28)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11:00PM, $40
“Over the course of her lengthy recording career, singer Allyson has released albums devoted to jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes, Brazilian fare and Coltrane classics.” (TONY)

Chucho Valdes (April 24-29)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8:00PM, +10:30PM, $55-$75
“Irakere, co-founded by the virtuosic pianist Chucho Valdes, was a pioneering Cuban band that first gained prominence, in the nineteen-seventies, for its tangy blend of Caribbean influences and jazz. Valdes, a volcano of a stylist, will assemble a version of the outfit to celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the Grammy-winning ensemble’s inception.” (NewYorker)

Houston Person Quartet (April 26-29)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“83 years young, the tenor titan Houston Person can still blow with the best of ’em. With over 75 albums to his repertoire and counting (the essential Rain or Shine came out last year), the South Carolinian owns one of the deepest catalogs in jazz as a leader. If you haven’t already, it’s highly suggested you start picking up any of his great work on Prestige or Muse or HighNote; maybe begin with the butter-smooth goodness of The Nearness of You, which turns forty this year and features Person backed by a killer band (Melvin Sparks on guitar, Charles Earland on organ, Grady Tate on drums, and others). As a producer as well as a performer, Houston has always known the secret to constructing a quality combo, and he returns to the Standard this weekend with his current quartet: Lafayette Harris on piano, Matthew Parrish on bass, and drummer Vince Ector, all of whom played on Rain or Shine. Houston is among the last of the tenor giants working the clubs on the regular, one who has been so important to the evolution of the offshoot known as soul jazz. Get out and see him.” (Ron Hart, VillageVoice)

“Black, Brown & Beige” & “The Best of Basie” (Apr.26-28)
Rose Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 8PM, $90+
“An utterly fail-safe program mates gems from the classic Count Basie band with a full-length performance of Duke Ellington’s “Black, Brown & Beige,” the master’s 1943 extended piece reflecting on the African-American experience. As Ellington performed the three-movement suite in its entirety only three times in his career, it will be a joy to hear the sweeping work brought to life once again.” (NewYorker)
“While availability is limited for this performance, secure your seats now to see the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at their next New York performance, Celebrating Ornette Coleman, May 18-19.”

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 3).
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center /2PM, + 8PM, $
“Most of the coming week features classic works by City Ballet’s patriarch George Balanchine — such as “Apollo,” “Agon” and “The Four Temperaments” — and recent choreography by Alexei Ratmansky and the company members Justin Peck and Peter Walker. For the spring gala on May 3, the attention switches to City Ballet’s other artistic forefather, Jerome Robbins, who was born a century ago and died in 1998. The program includes several of Robbins’s works, a new tribute by Mr. Peck and a sampler of Robbins’s beloved Broadway dances staged by the choreographer Warren Carlyle.” (NYT-BRIAN SCHAEFER)
TODAY: BALANCHINE BLACK & WHITE, 2 PM
21ST CENTURY CHOREOGRAPHERS, 8 PM
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The meat of the season begins on May 3 with Robbins 100, a celebration honoring the centennial of Jerome Robbins’s birth. As part of it, the choreographer and director Warren Carlyle presents a work featuring a cast of 30 and music and choreography from eight Broadway musicals associated with Robbins, including “On the Town” & “The King and I.” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

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

All Japan Ramen Contest (April 28-29)
“The next star of New York City’s ramen scene is likely to come from overseas, with Ichiran, Menya Jiro and E.A.K. Ramen. This weekend, you can taste seven exclusive bowls of ramen (and other Japanese goodies) by chefs flying in front Japan for a two-day contest of soup supremacy spanning two boroughs. The All Japan Ramen Contest is part of an annual block party called Japan Fes with performers, snacks and vendors. On April 28, the action is in Manhattan on Eighth Avenue between 15-16th streets in Chelsea, and on April 29 head to Queens on Steinway Street between Broadway and 34th Avenue in Astoria.
Both events go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission is FREE, bowls are $10 each.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour and remember, Let’s go Mets.

The World’s Fare (April 28-29)
Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Queens / $29+
“Promoting equality and diversity in the food industry, as well as international cuisines, the World’s Fare is a two-day event taking place at Citi Field with over 100 vendors. Your ticket gets you in (food is pay-as-you-go); upgrade for entry to the international Beer Garden featuring 80 brews. There will be live world music, art installations, pizza-making classes and even sumo wrestling demos by champion Yama.” (MetroNY)

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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 2018 – 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

Tribeca Film Festival (various locations, April 18–29)
“It’s all happening downtown.
NYC’s lovable giant mongrel film fest is back for its 17th year, with a slew of features and docs and panels and Big Events like the Schindler’s List reunion with Spielberg, Neeson, and others. Among the highlights are the Rachel Weisz lesbian drama Disobedience, the stand-up teenage-girl-comedian drama Jellyfish, and about 100 other films.” (D.E., NY Magazine)

“The Tribeca Film Festival is much more than just movies.

With virtual reality and interactive installations in Tribeca Immersive, live music events, the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival, the various Tribeca Talks, and free panels for working and aspiring filmmakers, you could be quite entertained without entering a theater… not that we recommend that.

The director, cast, and crew are often on hand for a Q & A after the screenings. The films, chosen from over thousands of submissions every year, are from every corner of the globe and offer almost as many perspectives as New Yorkers have opinions. Almost every film is a North American, international, or even world premiere, so you could be among the first to see the next big hit!”

CLOSING Event

“This is your last weekend to visit Times Square’s iconic B.B. King Blues Club before it’s forced to close because — what else? the rent is too damn high. Owners Blue Note Entertainment Group are looking to relocate the venue, but don’t miss your chance to celebrate 18 years of music by catching a show before revered jazz guitarist Buddy Guy closes it all out on Sunday night. Through April 29, 237 W. 42 St., bbkingblues.com” (Metro NY)

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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
Another outrageous rent increase by a rapacious NYC landlord will close BBKings as of April 29 – How Sad.
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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