NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/02) + 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-August”
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:

KASSA OVERALL, VIJAY IYER, RAVI COLTRANE AND EVAN FLORY-BARNES
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., $
“These sets offer a rare opportunity to hear Mr. Iyer, a pianist of rippling momentum and a latter-day musical thought leader, alongside the quicksilver saxophone of Mr. Coltrane. Both established themselves in the 1990s and today are among the most respected improvisers alive. But the two younger musicians on the bill — Mr. Overall, a drummer, and Mr. Flory-Barnes, a bassist, both hailing from Seattle — are remarkable, articulate players with diverse résumés across jazz, hip-hop and indie rock. Here they will take part in a mostly improvised performance, built around small melodic sketches.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Nico, 1988: A Tribute
>> Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi
>> DAVE LIEBMAN QUARTET
>> OSHUN
>> Broadway in Bryant Park
>> Mzansi Heat & Naija Beats
Continuing Events
>>
NYC Restaurant Week 
>>
Twelfth Night
>>
Brasil Summerfest 
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Nico, 1988: A Tribute
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St./ 7PM, $25
In her day, the Teutonic singer Nico drew comparisons to an IBM computer, which may have undervalued the emotional breadth of machines—Andy Warhol seemingly inserted her in the Velvet Underground to make Lou Reed appear cuddly. This tribute concert celebrates “Nico, 1988,” a new film dramatizing the cult star’s final days. Among the featured acts are Tammy Faye Starlite, known for her irreverently affectionate Nico cabaret show, plus young singers like Marissa Nadler and Julie Byrne, with voices far prettier, conventionally speaking, than that of the night’s muse.” (Jay Ruttenberg, NewYorker)

Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi
Mezzrow, 163 W. 10th St./ 8PM, +9:30PM, $20
A married couple who began collaborating in the late sixties and later formed a fabled big band, Tabackin and Akiyoshi unite for an intimate duet. Tabackin leads a double musical life as a lyrical and effervescent flutist and a gutsy tenor saxophonist; the pianist Akiyoshi’s playing has roots in Bud Powell’s furious bebop, but also calls on the orchestral sweep of Duke Ellington, who influenced her celebrated writing and arranging.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

DAVE LIEBMAN QUARTET
at Zinc Bar / 7:30 and 9 p.m., $
“A legacy figure, Mr. Liebman saw his career pick up in the 1970s, playing alongside Miles Davis and John McLaughlin, and it’s been one of almost constant reinvention. To heady fusion and cool ballads Mr. Liebman brings a hollering, dry-call intensity on the soprano saxophone in particular. He plays Zinc with the guitarist Vic Juris, the bassist Gene Perla and the drummer Willy Rodriguez.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Summer Thursdays: OSHUN
The Museum of Modern Art, Sculpture Garden
Free with Museum admission / 5:30–8:00 p.m.
Live music begins at 6:30 p.m.

“OSHUN, named for the Nigerian Yoruba goddess of fresh water, pleasure, and love, is an independent hip-hop/soul duo and the sonic manifestation of Afrofuturism. With its digital and acoustic sounds, heavy drums and bass, and ambient harmonic textures, OSHUN uses music to connect with ancestral spirits to manifest a sweeter tomorrow for us all.”

Broadway in Bryant Park (Thursdays through August 16)
Bryant Park / 12:30pm–1:30pm, FREE
The most popular shows on and off Broadway perform their biggest hits. Hosted by 106.7 LiteFM DJ Delilah.

Featuring musical numbers from Disney on Broadway:
Aladdin
Frozen
The Lion King

Mzansi Heat & Naija Beats
Lincoln Center Out of Doors Fest, Damrosch Park / 7:30PM, FREE
“Singer Yemi Alade and DJs Maphorisa and Tunez bring their Afropolitan energy to digital-media platform OkayAfrica’s “Mzansi Heat & Naija Beats” showcase (“Mzansi” and “Naija” being colloquial appellations for South Africa and Nigeria, respectively). Blending Afrobeat, highlife, Ivorian coupé-décalé, and American hip-pop, Alade delivers fast-paced emotional jump cuts in hits like “Johnny” and the food-oriented “Tumbum.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

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

More Smart Stuff coming soon.

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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.

Brasil Summerfest  (thru Aug. 12)
Brazil’s beats and bites come to NYC
“Brasil Summerfest, the largest music and arts fest of its kind, returns this week with its biggest year yet and runs through Aug. 12. Starting off Sunday at the Hester Street Fair are DJs Gaspar Muniz and Greg Caz, as well as choro music by Regional de NY, samba by Manhattan Samba and drumming from Fogo Azul. Food will include traditional fare like churrasco, coxinhas, feijoada and more, plus beer and sparkling wine. It’s free for all ages.” (Metro)

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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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