NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/15) + 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.

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

Elsewhere, but Kamasi Washington is always worth a detour:

KAMASI WASHINGTON
at Forest Hills Stadium / 7:30 p.m., $56+
“This tenor saxophonist — a blistering, continental colossus of jazz uplift and spectacle — returns this month with “Heaven and Earth,” his first full-length since “The Epic,” the biggest breakout success in jazz over the past decade. At nearly two-and-a-half hours, the double album is nearly as sprawling and orchestral as its predecessor, with heaving solos crushed against humongous statues of horns. Mr. Washington performs here with his ensemble on a bill with the rock band Alt-J.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Ethan Iverson and Ron Carter
>> Tango & Flamenco Fusion
>> ‘SONGS FOR CONNIE’
>> American Ballet Theatre
>> Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas
>> PHILADANCO
>> Joy of Sake New York
Continuing Events
>> Othello
>> ‘THE LET GO’
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Ethan Iverson and Ron Carter (June 15-17)
Mezzrow, 163 W. 10th St./ 8PM, +9:30PM, $20-$25
With older jazz giants leaving us with unfortunate regularity, it must be quite a charge for the historically minded pianist Iverson (late of the Bad Plus) to collaborate with surviving heroes. Here he duets with the masterly bassist Carter, whose work with Miles Davis and on the reported two-thousand-plus recordings he’s contributed to has made him a living legend.” (Steve Futterman, New Yorker)

Elsewhere, but hey, this is tango and flamenco, always worth the detour:
Tango & Flamenco Fusion
Thalia Spanish Theatre / 8PM, $37–$45
“Explore the Argentine roots of tango and the complex migration of flamenco in an intimate, bilingual environment. The tight team at this precious neighborhood establishment brings live music (by Grammy winner Raul Jaurena on the bandonion, Marga Mitchell singing, and Diego Amador on piano and vocals, complemented by eight other musicians) and dancing (by Yaisuri Salamanca and John Hernan Raigosa, world tango champions, and flamenco dancer Sol “La Argentinita,” from Buenos Aires). Can’t afford the tickets? Bring the family to free brunch-time performances in nearby Thomson Hill Park.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

‘SONGS FOR CONNIE’
at Greenwich House Music School / 7:30 p.m.$20
“Connie Crothers was a pianist, composer, organizer and educator. And in all things, she was first and foremost a melodist: She insisted on giving your ear something tuneful to ride alongside, even as she worked with a deep language of condensed harmonies and spiky rhythm. Ms. Crothers, who died in 2016, taught extensively and compassionately, and developed a large cohort of devoted students (in this way, she resembled her own mentor, the pianist Lennie Tristano). At this concert, eight vocalists will give performances in her honor, including the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Sheila Jordan and the venturesome singer Jay Clayton.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

American Ballet Theatre (thru July 7)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $22+
“The company wraps up the weekend with Kenneth MacMillan’s sumptuous production of “Romeo and Juliet” before moving on to “Swan Lake” starting on Monday. Yes, it’s true that this “Swan Lake” is in need of an overhaul, but there are some mighty dancers cast as Odette/Odile, among them Isabella Boylston, Devon Teuscher and Misty Copeland. And for the matinee on June 20, the powerful, statuesque Christine Shevchenko makes her New York debut as Odette/Odile opposite the charismatic James Whiteside.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas (June 12-17)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“A shared passion for expansive jazz and the music of Wayne Shorter brought together two questing figures—the trumpeter Douglas and the saxophonist Lovano—resulting in the 2015 recording “Sound Prints,” and, subsequently, an occasional working ensemble. Linda May Han Oh, on bass, Joey Baron, on drums, and Lawrence Fields on piano, form the kind of enviable support team that could hold its own even without these illustrious co-leaders.” (NewYorker)

PHILADANCO (June 12-17)
at the Joyce Theater / 8 p.m., $30+
“Since 1970, the Philadelphia Dance Company, known as Philadanco, has used dance to address social issues that affect people of color in this country. The company returns to the Joyce with a typically poignant and powerful program of four works: “Folded Prism” by Thang Dao; “A Movement for Five” about the Central Park Five, by Dawn Marie Bazemore, a company alumna; “New Fruit” about the cycle of racism and violence in the United States by the resident choreographer Christopher L. Huggins; and a piece in which the current artist in residence Tommie-Waheed Evans is said to weave “spirituality and sorrow.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

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

Joy of Sake New York
at Metropolitan Pavilion / 6:30pm-9:30pm, $110 includes unlimited samplings of sake and a dish from every restaurant.
“This is the largest sake tasting in the world outside Japan, with a superb array of premium labels and the best in traditional and contemporary Asian cuisine. The sakes are in peak condition, the food sublime, the crowd amazing. It’s a one-of-a-kind event, just once a year in New York City.”

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Continuing Events

RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL at various locations (June 15-24).
“The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council presents this festival, now in its 17th year, with free dance, music, theater and visual art shows at downtown sites. Of the dance highlights, the most dramatic is likely to be an appearance by It’s Showtime NYC!, a company of street dancers, performing on the steps of Federal Hall (June 18-22). Other notable events include Catherine Galasso’s “Of Granite and Glass,” a site-specific dance inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Decameron” at the Winter Garden (June 15-17); Enrico D. Wey’s “silent :: partner,” an exploration of memory and memorialization held inside Federal Hall (June 15-17); and Cori Olinghouse’s “Grandma,” a look at aging and the ghosts of the American South. The setting? A Lower Manhattan office building (June 16-17).” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

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.

‘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)

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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
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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