NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/15) + 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-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:

Vive la France!
Bastille Day on 60th Street
E. 60th Street btwn Lexington and Fifth Ave./ 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free-$14
“Celebrate Bastille Day in style with the French Institute-Alliance Francaise this Sunday. Their annual Bastille Day Block Party begins with a live screening of the World Cup showdown, followed by Champagne and live jazz music. Later, there’s a French market and live theatrical performances, the chance to win a trip to Paris, and tastings from the South of France.” (Metro)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> ‘Summergarden: New Music for New York’
>> Roni Ben-Hur Quartet
>> DR. LONNIE SMITH TRIO
>> Sonny Fortune
>> Cassandra Wilson
>> Batsheva — The Young Ensemble 
>> Conversation: The Soulfulness of David Bowie
Continuing Events
>> French Restaurant Week
>>
World Cup viewing parties
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

‘Summergarden: New Music for New York’ (Sundays through July 29)
Museum of Modern Art (enter through the Sculpture Garden gate on West 54th Street between Fifth and Six avenues), 8PM, FREE
Tonight: Jazz Concert I: Michael Rodriguez Quintet

“The Museum of Modern Art’s annual outdoor presentation of contemporary classical music and jazz returns to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Members of the New Juilliard Ensemble, under the direction of Joel Sachs, perform Sunday, July 8, and Sunday, July 22. Jazz groups from Jazz at Lincoln Center perform July 15 (Michael Rodriguez Quintet) and July 29 (Matthew Shipp Trio). (amNY)

Roni Ben-Hur Quartet with special guest Joyce Moreno (Jul 13-15)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center/ 7:30 pm 9:30pm, $30 – $45
“Roni Ben-Hur, is a formidable guitarist and with deep musical roots both in jazz and in the music of Brazil. For this performance, he is bringing a group of musicians from Brazil to pay tribute to some of the country’s beloved composers. “Expect uplifting sambas, sensual bossa novas, and much more—all infused with a New York jazz spice,” he explains. “I am especially excited about our special guest, legendary songstress Joyce Moreno. A true master of this music, Joyce has been on the vanguard of the evolution of Brazilian music and has charmed people around the world for many decades. I feel very fortunate to share the stage with her, and it will be a memorable experience to everyone in the room to hear her.”

DR. LONNIE SMITH TRIO
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $35
“In January, this organist and jazz-funk pioneer released “All in My Mind,” a swooping, mystical document replete with earthy gravitas and explosive, cosmic inquiry. Here, he performs with his stalwart trio, featuring the guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and the drummer Johnathan Blake. On Friday and Saturday, Dr. Smith, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, is also joined by Alicia Olatuja, who was featured on the album and whose expansive voice can beam and smolder at the same time.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Batsheva — The Young Ensemble  (July10-22)
Joyce Theater, 2PM, $66+
“Straight from a run at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts comes Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, the junior offshoot of Tel Aviv’s leading troupe Batsheva. The outfit brings with them Naharin’s Virus, a Bessie Award–winning piece by Ohad Naharin, who recently announced that he’s stepping down as the company’s director but will continue to choreograph. Adapted from Peter Handke’s play Offending the Audience, the deeply ambiguous work, which had its U.S. premiere in 2002, includes sections of Handke’s text, a huge blackboard at the back of the stage, and other deeply theatrical strategies.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

Sonny Fortune (July 13-15)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, btw105th/106th Sts./ 7, 9, 10:30PM, $38
“Fortune may be best known as a participant on two of Miles Davis’s hairiest recordings of the seventies: “Agharta” and “Pangaea,” on which the saxophonist gamely found his own space within the congested sonic terrain of guitars and percussion. The air has cleared for him since then; this enduring player leads a straight-ahead quartet featuring the pianist Michael Cochrane.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Cassandra Wilson (July 12-15.)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $45-$65
“There may be other promising vocal talents nipping at her toes (Cecile McLorin Salvant, anyone?), but Wilson’s primacy as today’s female jazz singer par excellence remains a given. Wilson, who revelled in daring eclecticism before it became de rigueur, melds personality and chops with thrilling audacity. Don’t expect her to drift into the right lane anytime soon—recent projects have found her examining the Irish side of her ancestry.”
(Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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

Elsewhere but this is Bowie’s last weekend and looks worth the detour:
Conversation: The Soulfulness of David Bowie
Brooklyn Museum, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Fl./ 2PM
“Join us as we close out David Bowie is with an intimate conversation on the influence of soul on David Bowie’s musical stylings. Award-winning guitarist and composer Carlos Alomar draws on thirty years of experience as Bowie’s music director and a member of his funk rhythm section, the D.A.M. Trio, to reflect on the overlooked but vital influence of R&B and soul on Bowie’s pop career. He is joined by vocalist Robin Clark, whose vocals were first featured on Young Americans (1975), which became a pivotal moment in Bowie’s career and rock history. Moderated by music journalist Christian John Wikane.”

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Continuing Events

French Restaurant Week (LAST DAY)
Various locations // $17.89-$178.90
“Mais oui, it’s the start of French Restaurant Week. Indulge in some of the city’s finest French bistros and brasseries offering prix fixe specials. Participating restaurants include La Sirene, Fig and Olive, and Bistrot Leo. French Restaurant Week actually runs longer than a week, ending on Bastille Day weekend, July 15th.” (Gothamist)

“What a weekend for Francophiles. This Saturday is Bastille Day, celebrating the birth of the modern French nation. Don your beret and stop by Le Coq Rico for $10 “Frenchie” wine-based cocktails between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., like the Harry Rico with passion fruit and thyme. The Citroen & Velosolex Club will also bring vintage French cars to the restaurant outside at noon for photo ops. Bar Boulud beckons passersby with can-can dancers and live music on their outside terrace from noon to 8 p.m., along with stations selling crêpes, Choux à la Crème (profiteroles with classic vanilla Chantilly) and wines.” (GrubStreet)

World Cup viewing parties (LAST DAY)
Championship Match Sunday July 15:
   France vs Croatia 11AM
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

New York Television Festival (July 14-19)
“Pop into screenings for the 59 selections in the pilot competition that anchors the 14th annual fest, and you’ll generally pay no more than $5 (with advance registration); same with special events like the exclusive preview for Bobcat Goldthwait’s new anthology series. The $150 festival pass option is for creatives hoping to work in television and includes panels including one for writers with scribes for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (pictured) and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” (nytvf.com)  (amNY)

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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. (btw 6/7), thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
Sony Hall – 235 W 46th St. (btw 7/8), sonyhall.com, 212-997-5123
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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