NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/27) + 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:

Regina Carter Quartet (July 26-29.)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ MM
Jazz violinists, never a populous breed, are few and far between in the new millennium. Carter, a string stalwart since the nineties, brings a commitment to musical and familial history to her art (her cousin is the maverick sax player James Carter), lending her playing a striking personal edge. (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota
>> Linda Eder
>> LEE KONITZ AND DAN TEPFER
>> Fred Hersch Trio
>> Catherine Russell
>> DIZZY GILLESPIE ALL-STAR BIG BAND
>> Jeremiah Moss: Vanishing New York
Continuing Events
>>
NYC Restaurant Week 
>>
Twelfth Night
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota
Lincoln Center, Damrosch Park / 7:30PM, FREE
“Nino Rota was as indispensable to director Federico Fellini as Bernard Hermann was to Alfred Hitchcock. Few have honored that relationship so memorably as young producer Hal Willner, whose radical 1980 jazz-pop reimagining of the Italian composer’s music, Amarcord Nino Rota, marked the first in a long series of Willner tributes focusing on inspired one-off collaborations. The man behind the curtain has enlisted trumpeter-arranger Steven Bernstein to direct a remarkable convocation featuring keyboardists Karen Mantler and Steve Weisberg, vocalists Joseph Arthur and Jennifer Charles, and too many other great musicians to mention — although Douglas Wieselman (woodwinds), Marty Ehrlich (flute), Marika Hughes (cello), and Gary Lucas (guitar) loom large among them. They’ll play the whimsical and carnivalesque Amarcord Nino Rota in its entirety after delving into Rota’s music for the first two Godfather films.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

Linda Eder (also July 28)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $90
“Linda Eder—the Star Search songstress turned Broadway and concert star—has never been known for the subtlety of her approach, which can be boiled down to two steps: (1) Stand, and (2) Sing. But gee whiz, the lady can really belt a number. Her current set includes selections from her latest solo album, If You See Me.” (TONY)

LEE KONITZ AND DAN TEPFER
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $30
“Mr. Konitz, a 90-year-old alto saxophonist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, has developed a close partnership with the pianist Mr. Tepfer, 36. They first performed together in 2007 at the Jazz Gallery; this week they return to that club to celebrate the release of “Decade,” an album of shadowy, improvised duets that attest to the depth of their rapport. Mr. Tepfer proudly displays his debts to the dark harmonics of Paul Bley and Ran Blake, while Mr. Konitz matches his partner’s restraint, playing cleareyed melodies without filigree, all focus and resonance.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Fred Hersch Trio (July 24-29)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
The pianist Fred Hersch generally forms deep connections with his rhythm mates, who, since 2009, have been John Hebert, on bass, and Eric McPherson, on drums­­—an assured, near-telepathic team. The splendid results of this artistic union recently arrived in the form of the album “Live in Europe,” which stands as a testament to Hersch’s commanding stature as an improviser and bandleader.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Catherine Russell (July 26-29)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $45
With guitarist Matt Munisteri, pianist Mark Shane, bassist Tal Ronen, and drummer Mark McLean.

“Grammy Award winner Catherine Russell has been one of the most widely recognized jazz vocalists since the release of her debut album in 2006. Her latest album, Harlem on My Mind, was nominated for the 2017 Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy Award. Russell’s experience extends beyond releasing seven acclaimed albums as a solo artist; she has also worked with Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, and Levon Helm. Seeing Russell perform live is a truly uplifting experience and an easy recommendation for any fan of jazz vocals.”

DIZZY GILLESPIE ALL-STAR BIG BAND (July 24-29)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30 p.m., $30-$45
“Gillespie is known for helping to establish two important idioms that aren’t always associated with large ensembles — bebop and Latin jazz — but he did much of his most impressive work with big bands. In the final chapter of Gillespie’s career, his United Nation Orchestra was his main vehicle: an ecumenical group of improvisers from across the Americas, pushing his compositions into fresh terrain. After he died in 1993, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band sprang up to carry the torch. Today, that group includes such major figures as the vocalist Roberta Gambarini and the pianist Cyrus Chestnut.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

Elsewhere, but this important subject is well worth the detour. Just look at what happened to Caffe Vivaldi recently. Jeremiah Moss is the expert. If you can’t attend the talk , then buy the book. I have.

Jeremiah Moss: Vanishing New York Paperback with Jason Diamond
Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St./ 7:30PM, FREE
“Vanishing New York is an unflinching portrait of gentrification in the twenty-first century, and a love letter to lost New York, by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York.”

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Continuing Events

NYC Restaurant Week  (July 23-August 17)
“The summer edition of NYC Restaurant Week has arrived. You can make reservations now for deals at 386 participating restaurants through August 17th. How can a ravenous New Yorker whittle down the choices? Depends on what you like. Among this year’s offerings are nearly a hundred American Traditional spots, followed by 86 Italian restaurants, dozens of steakhouses and French bistros and brasseries, nearly as many Mexican joints, a smattering of Chinese, Greek, Indian, seafood, soul food, vegetarian, and Vietnamese options, and two places with the nerve to identify as “eclectic.”

Weekday lunch specials are down a few dollars and a few calories. Twenty-six bucks now buys a two-course midday meal — nobody has time for dessert on a work day, anyway. Three-course dinners still run $42. These four weeks in the throes of summer are like a culinary leap year — free celestial time to be bold, take a risk and try something new. Realistically though, you’ve maybe got the time and money to try, what, like five of these places? And remember the bi-annual NYC Restaurant Week refrain: tax, tip, and drinks not included.’ (Thrillist)
Here are the best of the best.

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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