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

Sun Ra Arkestra + José James + Samora Pinderhughes
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center / 6:30PM, FREE
“Everything you desire from this planet and never have received will be yours in outer space,” promises Sun Ra during the amiably absurd Outer Space Employment Agency scene in John Coney’s 1974 Afrofuturist sci-fi film Space Is the Place. The present-day Sun Ra Arkestra will provide a galvanizing, solar-powered live rendition of the film’s original score during Wednesday’s screening, with bandleader-saxophonist Marshall Allen, 94, the sole inhabitant of both temporalities. Smooth-grooving jazz singer José James, who’s been celebrating Bill Withers’s tasty folk, soul, and gospel hits almost exclusively over the past year, brings his “Lean on Me” show. And composer-pianist Samora Pinderhughes performs his Transformations Suite, a poetic, theatrical, and political jazz-resistance vehicle, during the evening’s celebration of Downtown arts oasis (Le) Poisson Rouge’s first decade.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Momix
>> REGINA SPEKTOR
>> Stranahan, Zaleski, Rosato
>> Voodoo Threauxdown
>> Nicole Mitchell
>> Waterfront Manhattan:
>> The Indian World of George Washington:
Continuing Events
>>
NYC Restaurant Week 
>>
Twelfth Night
>>
Brasil Summerfest 
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Momix (Aug. 7 – 12)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 7:30PM, $45+
The troupe of acrobatic illusionists returns with another of its prop-laden greatest-hits samplers. As usual, though the performers’ physical skill impresses and many of the images beguile, the thinness of the ideas grows ever clearer and the tasteless music grates. Three local premières stick to the group’s formula: cartoon cowboys with limbs of strange length, costumes made of paper or equipped with pulsing rods of light.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

Elsewhere, but Regina is always worth the detour:
REGINA SPEKTOR (Aug. 7-8)
at Brooklyn Steel / 8 p.m., $60
“Ms. Spektor’s eclectic songwriting style and virtuosity as a pianist initially suggest music that should exist on pop’s more esoteric fringes. Her emotional vulnerability and stripped-down arrangements, though, have proven to be soundtrack catnip: Her music has appeared on TV programs from “Grey’s Anatomy” to “Weeds” to “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she wrote the memorable theme “You’ve Got Time.” For the concerts at Brooklyn Steel, Ms. Spektor will be performing unaccompanied. The second show is sold out, but tickets are available on the resale market.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

Stranahan, Zaleski, Rosato (Aug. 7-8.)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ MM
Popping up all over town­ as valued sidemen, the drummer Colin Stranahan, the pianist Glenn Zaleski, and the bassist Rick Rosato also form a coöperative trio. The band’s two albums, “Anticipation” and “Limitless,” were praised for their balance of musicianship and melodicism.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Voodoo Threauxdown
Central Park, Rumsey Playfield / 6PM, $45
(may need to try the secondary market for this show)
“From Louis Armstrong to Jon Batiste, New Orleans has produced a healthy string of charismatic bandleaders for whom entertainment, heritage, and art are more or less indistinguishable. R&B-singing ‘bone man Troy Andrews, a/k/a Trombone Shorty, is the congenial headliner for a sterling evening of Crescent City sounds billed as “Voodoo Threauxdown.” One of the best funk bands on any planet, drummer Stanton Moore’s Galactic pull soul, jazz, hip-hop, and every other New Orleans specialty into their dynamic embrace, with blues-guitar icon Walter “Wolfman” Washington and percussionist Cyril Neville joining them here. The Preservation Hall Brass Band maintains the ensemble’s half-century legacy with depth and panache. And the nine-piece New Breed Brass Band breaks the mold with a jazzy marching-band style of brass mayhem.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

Nicole Mitchell  (Aug.7-11)
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30PM, $20
“The jazz Afrofuturist and radical utopian Nicole Mitchell — whose 2017 albums Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds and Liberation Narratives raised her profile considerably — kicks off a five-night residency Tuesday alongside fellow flutist Robert Dick. The duo’s minimalism should sage the stage for the more elaborate collaborations that will follow. Wednesday, for example, she pursues “Rhythmic Liberation” alongside Haitian electronic musician Val-Inc and Chicago Underground drummer Chad Taylor. Following a palate-cleansing duet with cellist Okkyung Lee on August 9, and as part of a trio with Emma Dayhuff (bass) and Maria Grand (saxophone) the following evening, Mitchell will reprise her “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler” on August 11 with a quintet featuring saxophonist Darius Jones and vocalist Fay Victor. Inspired by the “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy, Mitchell translates Butler’s thematic complexities into intense heroic abstractions.” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

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

Waterfront Manhattan: Kurt C. Schlichting
NYPL—Mid-Manhattan Library, 476 Fifth Ave. (42nd St. Entrance) / 6:30PM, FREE
“Manhattan’s 32 miles of shoreline have long been a priceless asset. In his book Waterfront Manhattan, Kurt C. Schlichting narrates its evolution over time. Initially, the city gave control of the waterfront to private interests, with shipping companies, railroads, and ferries competing for access and building up infrastructure. Just as the city regained control of the waterfront, technology in the form of shipping containers and commercial jets dealt major blows to the maritime economy. More recently there has been an opportunity to reimagine the waterfront, so that today the island is almost completely surrounded by parkland, luxury housing, and tourist attractions.”

The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation
Bryant Park Reading Room, Btw 40th & 42nd Sts. and Fifth and Sixth Aves./ 7PM, FREE
“George Washington’s name you know. Tanaghrisson, Red Jacket, and Bloody Fellow not so much. Colin G. Calloway, John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History and Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, revives the lost leaders of the tribes that Washington knew, and the diplomacy the first president used in the service of American expansion.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

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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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