NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/16) + 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:

Elsewhere, but for fans of Flamenco this is worth the detour:

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (May 15-20)
BAM Fisher / 7:30PM, $25+
“This U.S.-based Spanish dance troupe celebrates its 35th anniversary with new dances by Belén Maya — including Mujeres Valientes, for six dancers, which represents Latin American women (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Manuela Saénz) who have challenged authorities and fought against ignorance and injustice. Gaspar Rodriguez’s score for five musicians will be performed live. The program, enacted by a cast of eight dancers and five musicians, also includes new solos by José Maldonado and Guadalupe Torres, both of Spain; special lectures; and chats. Belén Maya is the New York–born daughter of two great flamenco dancers, Carmen Mora and Mario Maya; her performance in Carlos Saura’s 1995 film, Flamenco, opened new avenues for female interpretations of flamenco dance.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Vijay Iyer
>> AMERICAN BALLET THEATER
>> Broken Shadows
>>Bill Charlap
>>The Presidents: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made
>> In Search of China’s Soul: Mount Wutai, Buddhist Sacred Geography, and the Bodhisattva of Wisdom
Continuing Events
>> Red Bull Music Festival
>> Mad. Sq. Eats
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Vijay Iyer (May 15-20)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at W. 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Far from Over,” the 2017 ECM release from the socially conscious pianist and composer, may not broadcast a specific political message, but its pointedly intense nature speaks directly to our roiling times. Iyer reconvenes the sextet that graces the acclaimed album, including the saxophonists Mark Shim and Steve Lehman. (The drummer Jeremy Dutton will sub for Tyshawn Sorey from Tuesday through Friday.)” (NewYorker)

AMERICAN BALLET THEATER (May 14-July 7)
at the Metropolitan Opera House / 2PM, +7:30PM, $22+
“Giselle” was a smash hit from the moment it had its premiere in Paris in 1841, and more than a century and a half later, it remains the quintessential Romantic ballet. Performances of “Giselle” (Monday through May 19) open American Ballet Theater’s spring season with seven of the company’s principal ballerinas trading off in the title role of the peasant girl who is deceived by a nobleman in disguise but nevertheless defends him against the wilis, those famously fierce, vengeful sirens.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Broken Shadows
Jazz Standard /7:30PM, 9:30PM, $30
“The formidable jazz DNA of Fort Worth, Texas, abides in the rough-hewn beauty of Broken Shadows: Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Chris Speed (tenor saxophone), and the Bad Plus rhythm section of Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums). The quartet plays the avant/down-home compositions of Ornette Coleman, Julius Hemphill, Dewey Redman, and Charlie Haden. Excepting Haden, who hailed from Iowa, the former three all attended Fort Worth’s I.M. Terrell High School, where music instructor G. A. Baxter encouraged them to storm the gates of sound. The music of these late-greats, as reinterpreted by this quartet of dependably inventive improvisers, is fiery, raucous, bluesy, and sublime.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

Bill Charlap (May 8-19.)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, +11PM, $40
“There’s a deep soul in the machine that is the Bill Charlap Trio, a precision engine that mates the lyrical and expressive pianist with his joined-at-the-hip partners, the bassist Peter Washington and the drummer Kenny Washington. A special treat finds Charlap playing solo at an early set.” (NewYorker)

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

The Presidents: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West /6:30PM, $44
“Join acclaimed historians for a discussion of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial U.S. presidents: Woodrow Wilson. Discover how Wilson’s liberal internationalism has shaped American foreign relations—for better and worse—since the early 20th century.

Patricia O’Toole is the author of five books, including The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made. Sean Wilentz is George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. Douglas Brinkley (moderator) is Presidential Historian for CNN and the New-York Historical Society.”

In Search of China’s Soul: Mount Wutai, Buddhist Sacred Geography, and the Bodhisattva of Wisdom
China Institute, 100 Washington St./ 6:30PM, $10
“The northern Chinese mountain range of Mount Wutai has been an important site of international pilgrimage for over a millennium. Home to more than one hundred temples, the entire range is considered a Buddhist paradise on earth, and has received visitors ranging from emperors to monastic and lay devotees. On May 16, join art historian Wen-shing Chou and preeminent Sino-Tibet expert Gray Tuttle to explore the changing meaning and significance of one of the world’s greatest religious sites. The event is held in conjunction with China Institute’s current gallery exhibition, Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens, and will celebrate the launch of Chou’s new book, Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain.”

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Continuing Events

Mad. Sq. Eats (May 07-31)
General Worth Square (5th Ave btw 25/26 St.) / near Madison Square Park
11AM-9PM; FREE
“Twice a year, this outdoor food fest brings buzzworthy bites from the city’s best restaurants to Worth Square in the Flatiron District. Highlights include Roberta’s sensational pizza, MeltKraft grilled cheese sandwiches and cheesesteaks by the Truffleist.” (TONY)

“Mad. Sq. Eats brings the diverse flavors of the city’s best restaurants and food entrepreneurs to Worth Square, a prime location in the heart of New York’s historic Flatiron District. The highly anticipated bi-annual event draws hungry crowds of neighborhood residents, workers, and tourists who enjoy this unique opportunity to savor offerings from buzzworthy eateries.”

2018 Vendor List
Burger & Lobster / Jicama / Renegade Lemonade /
the Truffleist / Mayhem Sandwiches / Gotham Poke & Hawaiian Kitchen / Bao by Kaya / La Sonrisa / Frida’s Favorites / Roberta’s /
Duck Season / Daa! Dumplings / Mr. Bing / Baked Cheese Haus / Chick’NCone / Arancini Bros / Top Hops Beer Shop / CousCous /
Melt Ice cream Sandwiches / Ice & Vice / Palenque Arepas /
Coney Shack / Korilla / Casa Toscana / Enfes NYC

“The innovative Red Bull Music Festival (May 03-25) returns for the sixth year with a lineup as diverse as the city itself. This Friday, catch a performance by cult musician John Maus at Deno’s Wonder Wheel, Saturday, see a conversation with Harry Belafonte, and on Sunday, see Brooklyn-based experimental R&B and gospel artist Serpentwithfeet in the Refectory at the High Line Hotel. Beginning Friday, you can also catch an exhibition by hip-hop pioneer and cult artist RAMMΣLLZΣΣ.” (NYMagazine)

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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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