NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/09) + 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, check the tab above: NYC Events-JUNE”
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.


Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Big Apple Barbecue (June 9-10)
Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street,/ Free admission, food available for purchase,
“Head to Madison Square Park to try specialties from 15 pit master teams serving pulled pork, baby back ribs, smoked chicken, brisket and sausage, along with sides of biscuits, cornbread, sweets and craft beer and wine during the Big Apple Barbecue. (Vegetarian options available, too.)” (amNY)

7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> 34th New York Salsa Festival
>> BargeMusic
>> Betty Buckley: Hope
>> West Chelsea Artist Open Studios
>> Vinho Verde Wine Experience
Continuing Events
>> Othello
>> OutdoorFest

Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
34th New York Salsa Festival
Barclays Center / 8PM, $71+
“New York’s love affair with Latin dance music is long and storied. It began with the rise of mambo kings and queens in the forties, and shifted focus in the late sixties, when a new assertion of Puerto Rican identity fostered hit-makers like the trombonist Willie Colón (above). He appears at the 34th New York Salsa Festival, at Barclays Center in a lineup that also features Andy Montañez, Tito Nieves, the Venezuela-bred bandleader Oscar D’León, and the Colombian powerhouse band Grupo Niche.” (NewYorker)

“Music in Motion” Series — a one hour performance, including a Q & A session with the musicians (no intermission)
Fulton Ferry Landing, near the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn/ 4PM, FREE
(take the A or C train to High Street station, Brooklyn.)
“Concert at the coolest classical music concert location in NYC.
Classical music on a boat with an intimate and romantic setting and beautiful view of New York City. Program and musicians TBA.” (ClubFreeTime)

Betty Buckley: Hope
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater / 7PM, +9:30PM, $35+
“Buckley is a genuinely eccentric, eccentrically genuine Broadway diva, with a persona that shifts between fragility and imperiousness. In recent years, she’s moved away from the big belting of shows like Cats and Sunset Boulevard, favoring more monologue-like songs and arrangements. Her latest Joe’s Pub set celebrates the release of her 18th album, Hope, and includes songs by Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Jason Robert Brown.” (TONY)

at Jazz at Lincoln Center (through June 9, 8 p.m.).
“Wynton Marsalis, the trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s artistic director, recently lit a small firestorm when he suggested that hip-hop was among the greatest threats to the well-being of African-Americans. In some ways, he seemed intent on lodging his foot in his mouth, but Mr. Marsalis was aiming at a bigger, more viable point: Anyone who looks at the racial disparities in the present-day United States and doesn’t see the need for wholesale social change needs his or her “head examined,” he said. This weekend, Mr. Marsalis debuts “The Ever Fonky Lowdown,” a suite he wrote for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra that investigates the country’s continuing racial dilemma. The orchestra will be joined by three vocalists, three dancers and the actor Wendell Pierce.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

at Smoke / 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m., $40
“Since the early 1960s, the bassist Buster Williams has positioned himself comfortably along the divide between swinging hard bop and ecumenical fusion. He performed and recorded with countless jazz greats — from Grant Green to Herbie Hancock to Nancy Wilson — and by now he’s reached the level of a luminary himself. This weekend he celebrates the release of a lovely, sneakily inventive album, his first in 10 years. “Audacity” features six originals from Williams, and one composition each from the other members of his longtime quartet: the saxophonist Steve Wilson, the pianist George Colligan and the drummer Lenny White.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

at the Metropolitan Opera House / 2PM, +8PM, $30+
“The artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky has made a mission of carefully remastering ballet classics from days past. His latest reconstruction is “Harlequinade,” starring the familiar Italian commedia dell’arte characters Harlequin and Columbine, based on Marius Petipa’s original version from 1900. You have three more chances to see it this weekend. Then the company heads to Verona, where star-crossed lovers defy their families to Prokofiev’s great score in Kenneth MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Over the next week, various pairings of Ballet Theater principals assume the title roles.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)


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

West Chelsea Artist Open Studios (June 9-10)
West Chelsea Arts Building, 526 W. 26th St./ Noon-6 p.m., FREE
“This weekend, step inside the mind of an artist with the unique chance to tour in-progress studio spaces across 13 sites while meeting the creatives who work there and asking them questions about their processes and the works they have on display. The West Chelsea Artist Open Studios brings together over 45 multimedia artists open their doors to the public, for free, and even offer some pieces for sale, without the markup fees associated with a gallery or handler.” (Metro)

Vinho Verde Wine Experience
Canoe Studios, 601 W. 26th St./ ($39-$49, 12pm-10 p.m., 3 sessions at 3 hours each)
“Celebrate National Rosé Day with an all-inclusive (all you can eat and drink) “wine experience” with Vinho Verde Wine. Meet top wine producers, enjoy food and wine pairings, a cocktail bar, live artwork by Christopher Ghiraldi and a DJ set by Tommacari.”


Continuing Events

Othello (May28-Jun24)
Shakespeare Delacorte Theater, Central Park / 8PM, FREE* (the Bard is off on Mondays)
“Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney) directs the first offering of the Public Theater’s 2018 season of Shakespeare in the Park: an account of the Bard’s fast-paced tragedy of jealousy and misplaced trust, in which a villain preys on the insecurities of a Moorish war hero married to a white woman. The cast is headed by Chukwudi Iwuji as Othello, Corey Stoll as Iago and Heather Lind as Desdemona.”
*tickets are free (two per person) and may be picked up after noon on the day of performance (be prepared for long lines.) Some tickets are also distributed via online lottery.
See TONY’s complete guide to Shakespeare in the Park tickets for details.

OutdoorFest (June 1-10)
multiple times and events, prices vary,
“You can love the city and still maintain your love of the outdoors — or fall in love with it for the first time. Embrace the spirit of adventure and beauty of nature during OutdoorFest with 10 days of events, starting this Friday. Activities take place across all five boroughs, starting with a campout on Staten Island. There’s also night fishing, oyster preservation, kayaking around Governors Island, canoeing the Gowanus Canal and surfing, yoga or shoreline cleanup at the Rockaways.”

‘THE LET GO’ (June 7-July 1)
at the Park Avenue Armory
“This large-scale, site-specific multiweek event is masterminded by the interdisciplinary artist Nick Cave, who transforms the armory into a vivid dance landscape in which spectators are invited to do just what the title says they should: let go. Within this dance hall environment are performances, an installation in the form of a Mylar sculpture, dance-based encounters and music provided by D.J.s. For some programs, Mr. Cave works with the choreographer Francesca Harper; for others, there will be dancing by community groups. On June 26, as part of “An Evening of Artistic Responses: The Let Go,” the musician Nona Hendryx, the vocalist and artist Helga Davis, Ms. Harper and Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and his company, D.R.E.A.M. Ring, respond to the installation, which references issues of social justice, with site-specific performances.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

♦ 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.


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.,, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St.,, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St.,, 212-997-2144
Another outrageous rent increase by a rapacious NYC landlord closed B.B.King’s as of April 29 – How Sad.
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474
and one more, not exactly WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.,

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St., 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.


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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.

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.
“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.

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.

“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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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