NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/03) + 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-JULY”
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:

Barry Harris (July 3-8.)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“With each passing year, it’s getting harder to find living musicians who actually played with the bebop architect Charlie Parker, as the eighty-eight-year-old Harris did when he was a budding tenderfoot pianist in Detroit. Since then, this dyed-in-the-wool jazz classicist has buffed up his reputation to the point where it gleams with authentic lustre. He’s joined by two longtime collaborators, the bassist Ray Drummond and the drummer Leroy Williams.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Garba in the Park,
>> Lecture and Music: The Great American Songbook
>> American Ballet Theatre
>> JOAN ARMATRADING
>> GEOFFREY KEEZER
>> Stargazing in the City
Continuing Events
>>
World Cup viewing parties
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Garba in the Park, featuring Kashyap Jani and Friends
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center / Dance lesson at 6:30 pm, Live music at 7:30 pm
Style: Garba, Raas, and Indian Folk Dances

“Even if you are new to these energetic group dances from Gujarat in western India, you’ll quickly find your place on the dance floor during this spirited night of culture, community, and live music. Garba, with its repeating claps, twirls, and circular patterns, and raas, performed with sticks and rotating partners, are traditionally danced during the fall festival of Navratri and before weddings. Fun and social, they have been passionately embraced by young people across the Indian diaspora in recent years. Both are easy to learn, especially with our instructors on hand. The evening will also feature a stage performance of traditional garba by The Sa Dance Company.”

Lecture and Music: The Great American Songbook
St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave./ 1PM, FREE
“An interactive afternoon of jazz standards, easy listening favorites, and tales from jazz arranger and pianist Sy Johnson’s rich and storied career of collaborating with many of the greats– Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, Charles Mingus, and Frank Sinatra to name a few.” (ClubFreeTime)

American Ballet Theatre (thru July 7)
Tonight: Whipped Cream
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $22+
“The spring season nears its conclusion with a weekend of “Don Quixote,” a comic ballet showcasing the debuts of Hee Seo as Kitri and Christine Shevchenko as Mercedes on Friday, as well as Sarah Lane’s first performance as Kitri at the matinee on Saturday. The final week of repertory is devoted to Alexei Ratmansky’s “Whipped Cream,” a fanciful ballet about a youngster and his love of sweets that features a score and libretto by Richard Strauss. On Wednesday, Gabe Stone Shayer makes his New York debut as the Boy, followed, on July 5, by Arron Scott in the same role. In that performance, there’s an extra treat: Calvin Royal III makes his mark as Prince Coffee.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas )

JOAN ARMATRADING
City Winery / 8PM, $80-$90
“Armatrading became the very first UK female singer/songwriter to gain international success.

Three times Grammy nominated, two times Brit Awards nominated, winner of a coveted Ivor Novello Award, winner of the Gold Badge Award, winner of Radio 2’s Lifetime Achievement Folk Award singer/songwriter, Joan Armatrading MBE has come a long way since her birth in the West Indies and her upbringing in Birmingham.

Known as a true craftsman, Joan Armatrading has had unanimous, widespread and, perhaps most importantly, consistent critical acclaim. Effortlessly eclectic, her sound has ranged from jazz to true soul to sophisticated pop, all driven by her passionate guitar.”

GEOFFREY KEEZER (July 1-5)
at Mezzrow / 8 and 9:30PM, $20
“Mr. Keezer is the kind of straight-ahead piano player you wish for: multifaceted, responsive, constantly sifting through colors and shapes, bursting with a personal and sincere enthusiasm. Earlier this month he released “On My Way to You,” a collection of originals and standards, many of them pumped with extra muscle and steam-engine momentum, performed with a trio. He celebrates the disc’s release with a five-night run of duet performances, featuring the trumpeter Ingrid Jensen on Sunday, the alto saxophonist Steve Wilson on Monday, the trombonist Robin Eubanks on Tuesday, the vocalist Gillian Margot (who appears on the new album) on Wednesday and the tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin on Thursday.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Stargazing in the City
The High Line, Little W12th St. and 10th Ave./ 8:30PM, FREE
“Take a romantic walk along the park and a chance to take a closer look at the stars. Peer through high-powered telescopes provided by the knowledgeable members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to see rare celestial sights.”

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Continuing Events

World Cup viewing parties (starting June 14 – thru July 15)
Today: England vs Columbia 2PM
Don’t miss the World Cup, which only comes every four years. Many bars and restaurants will be screening the games and offering food and drink specials across the city. Here are the best lists of where you can find them:
NYT – where to watch the World Cup in New York City.
Soccer Republic – best bars to watch the World Cup in NYC.
Thrillist – World Cup bars NYC
Remeczcla – the 10 Best Venues to Watch the World Cup in NYC
Metro – NYC’s best soccer bars to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018
NYCGO – Ways to Watch the World Cup in New York City
Daily News – The best bars in NYC to watch your favorite team

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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.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

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.

CAFFE VIVALDI HAS CLOSED,  JUNE 23 WAS THE FINAL NIGHT. VERY SAD.
As reported in the “Gothamist”:
“Caffe Vivaldi, one of the last bohemian bastions of the West Village, is set to close this weekend. During its 35 years on Jones Street, the casual cafe won the hearts of locals and celebs alike, including Oscar Isaac, Bette Midler, and Al Pacino.

Despite that friendly communal atmosphere, the owners ultimately struggled to survive under their notorious vulture landlord Steve Croman, who they say waged a harassment campaign against the restaurant, and eventually tripled their rent.”

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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