NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/28) + 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-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:

New York Philharmonic concert
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine / 8PM, FREE
“Join the New York Philharmonic for its annual Memorial Day concert at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. This year’s program will feature Vaughan Williams’s “Fantasia on a Theme” by Thomas Tallis and Saint-Saëns’s “Organ Symphony.” Tickets are handed out starting at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis and go fast, so line up early if you want a spot.” (amNY)

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5 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
>>Memorial Day Concert
>> Eva Noblezada: Girl No More
>> DanceAfrica
>> Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
Continuing Events
>> Fleet Week 
>> Vision Festival
>> Mad. Sq. Eats
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Birdland, / 9:30PM, $30
Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly soiree that brings a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night. It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars, backed by Steve Doyle on bass, Billy Stritch on piano and Daniel Glass on drums, hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.” (broadwayworld)

Elsewhere, but on Memorial Day this is worth the detour:
Memorial Day Concert
Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St., Bklyn / 2;30PM, FREE
Including a Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration
“Celebrate the unofficial start of summer at Green-Wood Cemetery’s 20th annual Memorial Day concert. Whether seated upfront or relaxing on a blanket among Green-Wood’s rolling hills, you’ll listen to the ISO Symphonic Band and Orchestra – a wind, brass, and percussion ensemble comprising some of the most talented student musicians in the New York metro area, led by music director and conductor Brian P. Worsdale.

The works of many of Green-Wood’s “permanent residents,” including Fred Ebb, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and Paul Jabara, will be played throughout the afternoon. This year’s concert will include a special program to celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, the famed composer and conductor of the New York Philharmonic who created such timeless works as West Side Story and On the Town, among others. Visitors are invited to bring a blanket and enjoy this outdoor performance of patriotic favorites.”

Eva Noblezada: Girl No More
The Green Room 42 / 7PM, $35
“The Tony-nominated star of Broadway’s Miss Saigon shows off her range in a concert that includes favorites made famous by Amy Winehouse and Frank Sinatra.” (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour (LAST DAY):
DanceAfrica
BAM,  30 Lafayette Ave, Bklyn.
“In honor of the centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the DanceAfrica festival, at BAM this weekend, focusses on South Africa. Ingoma KwaZulu-Natal Dance Company is a kind of supergroup, bundling together just for this occasion four companies whose styles range from Zulu traditions to pantsula, the fleet-footed street dance that originated as a response to apartheid. Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, from Durban, combines the dance forms of many cultures, a mix representative of its region: Zulu dances and pantsula, plus classical Indian and hip-hop.” (NewYorker-Brian Seibert)

Dance Africa is The Brooklyn Festival That Everyone—You, Your Parents, Your Kids—Should Attend – (whatshouldwedo.com)

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

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit (Sat 26 through Mon 28)
University Place, btw E.13th and Waverly Pl. / 12PM-6PM, FREE
Enjoy looking at (and maybe buying some) oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, mixed media, graphics, photography, sculpture, and crafts including fabric, jewelry, glass, wood, and ceramics.

“This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft.” (TONY)

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Continuing Events

Fleet Week (May 23-29)
“If it’s the weekend before Memorial Day, then it must be time for Fleet Week. On Wednesday, the Parade of Ships will take place, with numerous vessels—including the amphibious transport dock USS Arlington, the missile destroyer USS Mitscher, and the oceanographic survey ship USNS Maury—heading up through the New York Harbor and up the Hudson. The ships are docked afterwards for the public to visit. Besides visiting participating ships and concerts, there are marine demos, Navy diver demos, and aviation displays.” (Gothamist)

The best Fleet Week events in NYC (TONY)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Vision Festival (LAST DAY)
Roulette / 509 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn / at various times, $40
“Moving across the river to Brooklyn once again, the Vision Festival remains steadfast in its commitment to exploratory jazz and the still active pioneers of the genre; the wide-ranging roster includes Oliver Lake, Matthew Shipp, Roscoe Mitchell, Mary Halvorson, Fay Victor, and the festival co-organizer William Parker. This year, the intrepid showcase celebrates the pianist and composer Dave Burrell, featured on opening night in various ensembles, including a reunion with another crucial free-jazz cohort, the saxophonist Archie Shepp.” (NewYorker)

“Vision Festival 2018: 8 acts not to miss at the annual jazz showcase” (TONY)

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

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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 closed BBKing’s 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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