NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/04) + 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-MAY”
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:

CHUCHO VALDÉS (May 1-6)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $55-$75
“Earlier this week, Mr. Valdés, a Latin jazz patriarch, began an extended run at the Blue Note that will find him flexing his powers in a variety of contexts. Through Sunday, he performs with a midsize ensemble, celebrating the 45th anniversary of the founding of Irakere, his watershed Cuban fusion band. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he’s joined by the trumpeter Roy Hargrove and the vocalist Roberta Gambarini; on Thursday, he performs alone; and from May 4 to 6, he’ll be accompanied by Ron Carter. (The drummer Lenny White joins Mr. Valdés and Mr. Carter for the last two dates, with the violinist Regina Carter coming aboard for the final evening.)” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> KING KRULE
>> ZAKIR HUSSAIN AND DAVE HOLLAND’S CROSSCURRENTS
>> ALL ROBBINS NO. 1: THE BERNSTEIN COLLABORATIONS
>> DENNY ZEITLIN WITH BUSTER WILLIAMS AND MATT WILSON
>> John Lloyd Young
>>Vincent Herring vs. Eric Alexander
>> Frieze Art Fair
Continuing Event
Hudson Yards Shed
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

KING KRULE
at Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom / 8 p.m. $
“Archy Marshall makes music that’s often described as punk jazz — but you’d be forgiven for not having any idea what that means. The London native, who performs under the moniker King Krule, does combine punk’s crunch and jazz’s melodic explorations, but his work is also grounded in R&B and, on his most recent album, “The Ooz,” deconstructed early rock. Think Elvis, slowed down and distorted by a heavy veil of reverb. Toeing the line between pop song structure and total improvised chaos, Mr. Marshall makes occasionally alien sounds that never lose their more visceral, sensual pleasures.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

ZAKIR HUSSAIN AND DAVE HOLLAND’S CROSSCURRENTS (May 4-5)
Rose Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 8 p.m., $
“The Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain and the British-born bassist Dave Holland have been at the top of their respective fields since the 1970s. Mr. Holland is one of the most inventive, broad-ranging bassists in jazz; Mr. Hussain plays with fellow heroes of Indian classical music, as well as a cross section of international stars. Recently the two masters have come together in Crosscurrents, a band devoted to what’s now an old idea — the fusion of rock, jazz and Indian classical — but with its own sparkling allure. The group includes the saxophonist Chris Potter, the guitarist Sanjay Divecha, the pianist Louiz Banks, the drummer Gino Banks and the vocalist Shankar Mahadevan.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

ALL ROBBINS NO. 1: THE BERNSTEIN COLLABORATIONS
New York City Ballet (May 4 – 20)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $30+
“Two American masters converge in these high-energy story ballets. Fancy Free follows three soldiers on shore leave in the Big City, while Dybbuk delves into a mystical world with dreadful consequences. Renewing their international hit, West Side Story Suite brings audiences to the feuding streets of 1950s New York City with heart-rending poignancy.”

DENNY ZEITLIN WITH BUSTER WILLIAMS AND MATT WILSON (May 4-5)
at Mezzrow / 8 and 9:30PM, $20-$25
“Mr. Zeitlin, who turned 80 last month, has always kept his crisp, rich harmonies fastened to crisscrossing cadences. What might first scan as easygoing cocktail jazz is a much headier concoction. The pianist began making this kind of music for Columbia Records in the 1960s, then eventually roved into jazz-rock fusion and electronic experiments (just last year, he released “Expedition,” a remarkable album of synthesizer excursions with the drummer George Marsh). But he’s never given up making bracing original music in an acoustic trio format, and recently he’s done it with two A-list collaborators: Mr. Williams, a bassist, and Mr. Wilson, a drummer. They’re featured on Mr. Zeitlin’s fine new album, “Wishing on the Moon,” and they join him here.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

John Lloyd Young
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 9:45, $75+
The Tony-winning star of Jersey Boys, both the Broadway musical and the Clint Eastwood film, brings his musical highs and puppyish eyes back to Feinstein’s/54 Below in a new set that focuses on material from his 2012 album, My Turn.” (TONY)

Vincent Herring vs. Eric Alexander (May 4-6)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway / 7, 9, 10:30PM< $40
“The connection between pugilism and jazz isn’t commented on much these days, but the golden era of the music was filled with mano-a-mano battles that left egos and reputations blood-spattered. Harking back to those brutal and undeniably thrilling days, the alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and the tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, two modern masters of hard bop, enter the ring for a night of competitive rigor.” (NewYorker)

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

Frieze Art Fair (5/3-5/5)
“Head over to Randall’s Island Park this spring to experience the contemporary art world in an alfresco environment. Interact with public installations, sit in on “Frieze Talks,” enjoy the Frieze Art Fair’s Reading Room, and of course, lay your eyes on some of the most talked about artwork in the city. friezenewyork.com” (cityguideny.com)

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Continuing Event

Hudson Yards Shed (May 01-13)

“Hudson Yards continues to transform before our eyes with an ever-growing list of new sites, such as Vessel, the beehive-like public landmark that’s New York’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. But the largest and most exciting cultural contribution to the far West Side is the Shed, a multi-arts performance venue opening in spring 2019. To provide a sneak peak of what’s to come, the entertainment center presents a free art series, just a block away from its home base. Dubbed A Prelude to the Shed, the two-week event is being held at a structure that has been designed to change fluidly as dancers and guests move about.

Aside from exhibiting “A Stroll Through the Fun Palace,” which showcases the archives of Cedric Price (an inspiration to the architects of the Shed), the main event boasts a killer lineup of entertainers for the evening performances. On select nights, check out R&B singer Abra, electronic-music producer and performer Arca, and the New York rapper-singer Azealia Banks.

Beyond the lit musical performances, there’s plenty of art and dance to catch, too. Artist Tino Sehgal’s This variation seamlessly intertwines throughout the day with ​William Forsythe’s new work, ​titled​ Pas de Deux Cent Douze​. There’s also ​D.R.E.A.M. Ring dance battles organized by dancer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray​. Chances are, you’ll feel encouraged to bust a move and shake your tail feather along with them—especially if you hit the grab-and-go café for beer and wine beforehand.” (TONY)

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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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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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