NYC Events,”Only the Best” (06/21) + 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:

MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK
“Music festivals can be exhausting, expensive or both. Enter Make Music New York, a citywide summer solstice celebration that quite literally comes to you with free concerts sprawling across all five boroughs. They include Stevie Wonder singalongs (lyrics provided) around Harlem hosted from a truck with a piano and speakers on its bed, Thievery Corporation’s Natalia Clavier performing under the Manhattan Bridge during the World Cup match between Denmark and her native Argentina, and much more. Overwhelmed? The festival has an app (on iTunes and Google Play) so you can find music wherever the longest day of the year takes you.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

Hear The Well-Tempered Clavier
Memorial Plaza, World Trade Center,
“The summer solstice brings Make Music New York, a citywide sonic supernova of 1,000 mostly outdoor events in a single day. At noon, the 9/11 Memorial Plaza resounds with Mass Appeal Mozart, a communal performance of the Requiem (just show up to participate). At rush hour, dozens of pianists will trade off to unfurl Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at the plaza’s four corners.” (J.D., NY Magazine)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> France Rocks Festival: Elida Almeida
>> ‘SALUTE TO RUSSELL MALONE’
>> Alternative Guitar Summit 2018
>> David Murray & Class Struggle
>> American Ballet Theatre
>> Icons & Innovators: George C. Wolfe
Continuing Events
>> RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL
>> Othello
>> ‘THE LET GO’
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

France Rocks Festival: Elida Almeida
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE, but get there early for a seat.
“Winner of Radio France International’s Prix Découvertes in 2015, Elida Almeida is a fresh new Cape Verdean voice on the world music scene. Born on the island of Santiago and raised on Maio, she developed her vocal techniques with simple church singing while she helped her mother sell fruits and vegetables at local markets. A determined woman and committed champion of the right to education, Almeida left the rural world to write her love and protest songs. Blending Cape Verdean beats with warm vocals and a fiery joie de vivre, Almeida has become a celebrated presence at world music venues across Europe, Africa, and North America.”

‘SALUTE TO RUSSELL MALONE’
at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center / 8 p.m., $50
“Mr. Malone has been a standard-bearer of mainline jazz guitar for the past 30 years, holding fast to the legacies of Grant Green and Wes Montgomery while welcoming the silkier influence of George Benson. It’s reflective of his talent and flexibility that, at just 54, a concert is being held in his honor featuring such luminaries as the elder tenor saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Houston Person, the drummer Lewis Nash and the vibraphonist Steve Nelson. This show marks the close of the 46th season of Highlights in Jazz.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Alternative Guitar Summit 2018 (June 21-23)
Various locations
“Proving that there’s life in the old six-string yet, a host of farsighted guitarists gather for three nights of in-the-moment music-making. Opening night features the innovative Bill Frisell at Le Poisson Rouge, collaborating with several players, including Julian Lage. The festival continues at Nublu, with a fusion tribute featuring Brandon Ross, Dave Fiuczynski, and others, and concludes at Jazz Gallery, with an evening of cross-generational duets uniting Peter Bernstein and Gilad Hekselman, Joe Morris and Matteo Liberatore, and Anthony Pirog and the festival director, Joel Harrison.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

American Ballet Theatre (thru July 7)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $30+
“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)

David Murray & Class Struggle (June 19-24)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Though less conspicuous than he was a few decades ago—is there anyone who’s actually made their way through the relentless tsunami of recordings that Murray appeared on in the eighties and nineties?—the fire-breathing saxophonist and bass-clarinet player remains a force to be reckoned with. His Class Struggle sextet has some trusted peak-era collaborators, including the trombonist Craig Harris and Murray’s son, Mingus, on guitar.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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

Icons & Innovators: George C. Wolfe
The Greene Space, 44 Charlton St./ 7PM, $20
“Host Susan Fales-Hill, author and award-winning television producer, returns for the season finale of her conversation series with groundbreaking thinkers and artists whose work has shaped our cultural landscape — and those who will define its future.

Tonight she sits down for an intimate conversation with George C. Wolfe, the award-winning director and playwright who’s returned to Broadway this year with the new production of The Iceman Cometh. He talks about finding the music in Eugene O’Neil’s classic play, and what drew him to directing his first revival in years. Throughout his career, he’s brought new voices to the stage in some of Broadway’s most innovative productions, including Jelly’s Last Jam, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, the original production of Angels in America, Topdog/Underdog, and Caroline, Or Change.”

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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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