NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/21) + 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-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:

OZY Fest (also Sunday)
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park / 12PM-10PM, $79-$134
“It’s not too late to take part in one of the city’s biggest and boldest summer arts festivals with OZYfest hitting Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield this weekend. The concert-conference hybrid brings together cultural icons and influencers to both perform and share ideas, with a lineup that includes Hillary Clinton, Michelle Wolf, Common, Christian Siriano and Roxane Gay. There’s also a food fair to try artisanal treats from eclectic and inventive chefs across NYC.” (Metro)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Thumbscrew
>> MUMMENSCHANZ
>> Pat Martino Trio with Horns
>>Brimstone & Glory
>> Eric Reed
>> Ultimate Picnic Day
>> New York Beer Fest.
Continuing Events
>>
Dance on Camera Festival
>>
Twelfth Night
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Thumbscrew (July 17-22.)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St. / 8:30 and 10:30 p.m, $35
“Proudly of the moment, the new jazz trio Thumbscrew is also mindful of the tradition that it so diligently messes with. Last month, the band, which features Mary Halvorson, on guitar, Mike Formanek, on bass, and Tomas Fujiwara, on drums, concurrently released “Ours,” a collection of spiky originals, and “Theirs,” which interprets the work of an eclectic array of composers, including the jazz exemplars Wayne Shorter, Stanley Cowell, and Benny Golson.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

MUMMENSCHANZ (July 4-22)
at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College / 7PM, $25-$85
“The famed Swiss theater troupe, founded in 1972, returns to New York with its surreal sensibility — and, of course, plenty of props — to present “You and Me,” a new show created by Floriana Frassetto, one of the group’s founders. Using its usual ingredients of shadow, light, bodies and masks, the group conjures a magical world that is also, handily, good family fare.” (NYT – Gia Kourlas)

Pat Martino Trio with Horns (July 19-22.)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“Martino’s roots are never far from the surface of his extravagant guitar playing, yet his recent album, “Formidable,” is a particularly unabashed celebration of the bebop-and-blues ethos he honed in his native Philadelphia, in the late fifties. As on the recording, the organ-and-drums base of his earthy trio will be fleshed out by two horn men: Alex Norris, on trumpet, and Adam Niewood, on saxophone.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
Brimstone & Glory
With Wordless Music Orchestra and Sonido Gallo Negro
Prospect Park Bandshell / 7:30PM, FREE
“Spare yourself a long, hot, dusty trip to the playa and see some real burning men when the Wordless Music Orchestra performs producer-composer Benh Zeitlin’s score to director Viktor Jakovleski’s 2017 documentary Brimstone & Glory. Filmed in the Mexican town of Tultepec during a week-long celebration, Brimstone focuses on a pair of elaborate annual fireworks displays that inevitably lead to injuries and worse. It also chronicles the unsafe and thoroughly unscientific production of the shells and skyrockets used in these spectacularly colorful pyrotechnic feats. Equally spectacular in its own way, vintage Mexico City psychedelic cumbia combo Sonido Gallo Negro (Black Rooster Sound) gives cha-cha-cha, porro, mambo, and danzón a sci-fi spin with surf guitars, Farfisa organ, and Theremin. Their latest album, Mambo Cósmico, offers a space-age bachelor-pad update of Sun Ra’s sonic spaceways.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

Eric Reed (July 20-22.)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, (btw 105th/106th Sts.) /
The integrated dialects of bebop, gospel, and Thelonious Monk weave through the poised playing of the pianist Eric Reed, who counts such sharp-eared judges of talent as Harold Battiste, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis among his early mentors. This thoroughly matured stylist leads a quintet featuring the trumpeter Jeremy Pelt.
(Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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

Ultimate Picnic Day
Have a free picnic in the park
Madison Square Park, Flatiron Plaza/ 10AM-4PM, FREE
“It’s the right time of year for packing a picnic and heading to your nearest green space for an afternoon of lazing about. This Saturday, make Madison Square Park your destination and get one of the hundreds of free picnic baskets being given away by Fairway Market for its Ultimate Picnic Day. The baskets are full of healthy and refreshing goodies, as well as a blanket to enjoy them on.” (Metro)

Elsewhere, but hey, this will be more fun than watching the Mets play at Citi Field.
New York Beer Fest.
Citi Field / 1-4PM, 7-10PM, $50 – Beer tastings are unlimited, but food is sold separately.
“Citi Field is hosting more than baseball this weekend with its first-ever New York Beer Fest. More than 80 craft breweries will bring over 200 beers to the ballpark, plus games including a dunk tank and entertainment from a ‘90s cover band and DJ. Some of the usual Citi Field vendors will be open and selling food separately. VIPs get to start an hour earlier and access to the warning track and dugouts.” (Metro)

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Continuing Events

Dance on Camera Festival (July 20-24)
Film Society of Lincoln Center / Various times and prices
“A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.” (Elizabeth Zimmer, VillageVoice)

“If you’ve been wondering what happened to the excellent Dance on Camera film festival, which used to take place in the first weeks of January, here’s your answer: it was moved to the slow weeks in the middle of the summer. The forty-sixth edition contains the usual mix of documentaries, artist portraits, film shorts, and performance archives. Highlights and curiosities include never-before-seen footage of Marcel Marceau, a fourteen-minute film of the extraordinary Indian classical dancer Shantala Shivalingappa performing in South India, a meditation on the history of tap by Mark Wilkinson, and three short films devoted to the Danish Romantic-ballet choreographer August Bournonville.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

Twelfth Night (July 17 – August 19)
Shakespeare Delacorte Theater, Central Park / 8PM, FREE* (the Bard is off on Mondays)
“This musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy began in 2016 as a one-weekend run under the auspices of the Public’s civically ambitious Public Works program, which collaborates with NYC communities to create large-scale theater. Director Kwame Kwei-Armah is joined by Public honcho Oskar Eustis to helm the production’s return engagement; Shuler Hensley and  Ato Blankson-Wood joins original cast members Nikki M. James, Andrew Kober and Shaina Taub—who also wrote the songs—alongside less seasoned actors and local residents.” (TONY)

*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.

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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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