NYC Events,”Only the Best” (11/24) + 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-November”
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:

Maria Schneider Orchestra (also Nov.25)
Jazz Standard,116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40 – looks like a tough ticket, may need to try the secondary market.
“Maria Schneider has a handsome collection of Grammys, and the accolades are well deserved: This protégée of the late bandleading/arranging genius Gil Evans fronts the most polished modern jazz orchestra on the planet, a vehicle for her lush, intricate and refreshingly accessible works. Catch her at this annual Thanksgiving engagement.” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> DIZZY GILLESPIE ALL-STARS
>> BOB DYLAN
>> ‘VELOCITY’
>> Jason Moran and the Bandwagon
>> Carla Cook
>> Marilyn Maye Gives Thanks
>> coming soon
Continuing Events
>>Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>>New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker”
>> Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

DIZZY GILLESPIE ALL-STARS (Nov.20-25)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $30-$45
“This annual engagement celebrates the birthday of Dizzy Gillespie, the co-inventor of bebop and a champion of Latin jazz, who died in 1993. The All-Stars’ ever-evolving lineup now stands at nine and boasts some of today’s finest straight-ahead talent (the trumpeters Terell Stafford and Freddie Hendrix, the drummer Willie Jones III), including a few who played with Gillespie himself (the pianist Cyrus Chestnut and the bassist John Lee). This year’s proceedings may have an elegiac air: The trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a longtime member of the group, died earlier this month at 49.” (NYT -GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

BOB DYLAN (Nov.23-24,26-27,29-30,Dec.1)
at the Beacon Theater / 8PM, $90+
“The 77-year-old impresario of American song is offering a week’s worth of shows as part of what for the past 30 years some journalists have termed his Never Ending Tour — a label Dylan himself flatly rejects. Dylan’s external gruffness masks a man whose performances remain as heartfelt as they were more than 50 years ago, when he was just another guy with a guitar bumming around Greenwich Village. The shows on Friday and Dec. 1 are sold out, but tickets are available through resellers.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

‘VELOCITY’   (Nov.23-25).
at the New Victory Theater / 12PM, +4PM, $17+
“In this high-energy production, the much-lauded champion dancers James Devine and David Geaney look at the past, present and future of Irish dance. Featuring live music by a Celtic band, along with a D.J., “Velocity” — performed by Geaney, AnneMarie Keaney and Gabriella Wood — is a celebratory jam session and suitable for all ages.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

Jason Moran and the Bandwagon (Nov.20-25)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St. / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“The bandleader and composer James Reese Europe is as important as he is unsung. In 1912, he organized the first concert at Carnegie Hall to feature African-American composers exclusively. His death, in 1919, at the hands of a disgruntled bandmate, was followed by a quick slide into regrettable posthumous obscurity. The simultaneously adventurous and historically aware pianist Jason Moran, fronting his avidly attuned trio, addresses Europe’s legacy.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Carla Cook
Mezzrow, 163 W. 10th St./ 8PM, +9:30PM, $20-$25
“Carla Cook is a vivacious, genre-fluid singer who can take on an Ellington-penned jewel as easily as she can “Scarborough Fair” or “Watermelon Man.” She has sympathetic cohorts in the pianist Bruce Barth and the bassist Kenny Davis, both of whom worked with the vocalist on her widely celebrated album “Simply Natural.”
(Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Marilyn Maye Gives Thanks (LAST DAY)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $70+
“Maye’s stellar past includes a string of classy RCA albums in the ’60s and a nearly unequaled number of Tonight Show appearances, but this husky-voiced, earthy belter has never sounded better than she does now. In her latest engagement at F/54, the newly nonagenarian singer shares Great American Songbook favorites, including a medley from My Fair Lady and a smattering of holiday songs. Beyond her remarkable energy and musical acuity, the astonishing Maye has a bone-deep comfort that imbues familiar songs with fresh simplicity, truthfulness and power.” (TONY)

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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

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland.
Bryant Park (btw 5th/6th Ave. @42nd St.) / shops to 8PM, rink to 10PM
Enjoy the Holiday Shops, The Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
The Holiday Shops are open through January 2, 2019.

The Rink
This 17,000 square foot rink features free admission ice skating, high quality rental skates, and free skating shows, special events, and activities.
​October 27, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Daily, 8am-10pm (Rink hours are weather permitting and Rink may be closed for events – check here)

Tree Lighting Skate-tacular
As one of the most popular holiday markets in NYC, the Winter Village has big plans to make their tree-lighting ceremony (held 6PM, Tuesday, December 4) a smash.

An annual New York City Christmas tradition, Tree Lighting Skate-tacular is led by a celebrity narrator who reads an original Christmas tale. As the story unfolds, the characters are brought to life by world-class skaters performing on the ice, under the stars in the Midtown cityscape. Excitement builds until the finale: the Tree is lit, surrounded by fireworks. With host Alan Cumming and performances by Olympic skaters Johnny Weir, Kaetlyn Osmond, Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford, and Jeremy Abbott.
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New York City Ballet / “The Nutcracker” (Through Dec. 30)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / various times, $40+
“Most people think of “The Nutcracker” as a light entertainment, and it is, but it’s also more than that. It’s an adventure, undertaken by a special little girl, Marie. She doesn’t care for conventional toys—instead, she’s drawn to the odd-looking Nutcracker. She’s sensitive—when the Nutcracker breaks, she can’t rest until she has tended to its wounds. And she’s valiant—faced with a mouse a head taller than she is, she stands her ground, striking him with her slipper. The choreographer George Balanchine, who created the now classic version in 1954 for New York City Ballet (at the David H. Koch Nov. 23-Dec. 30), had the good sense not to undermine her bravery by saying that it was all a dream. “Actually, it’s not a dream,” he once explained. “It’s the reality that Mother didn’t believe.” The Land of the Sweets, with its brilliant dancing, is her prize, and ours.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

NEW YORK CITY BALLET at the NYS Theater (through Dec. 30). A New York holiday tradition returns as City Ballet embarks on another season of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.” That magical growing Christmas tree is as glorious as ever, and as usual, a rotating cast of the company’s top ballerinas, and some promising up-and-comers, take turns as the regal Sugar Plum Fairy. There are subtle recent changes as well, notably in Act II’s visit to the Land of Sweets, which the company has reworked to tone down long-ingrained cultural stereotypes.” (NYT- Brian Schaefer)
212-496-0600, nycballet.com

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Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes  (Nov.09- Jan.01)
Radio City Music Hall / various times, $46+
“There’s more great precision dancing than ever in the show’s current edition, which was revamped in 2007 and tweaked again this year. Glamorously outfitted in a series of eye-popping costumes, the Rockettes perform on a double-decker bus, a sparkly staircase and a snowy forest and enact a lightning-fast version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Not to worry: They’re still doing the classic “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number, too. Each scene is enhanced by video backdrops displayed on one of the world’s largest LED screens.”

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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

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

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.
I HAVE LEFT THIS REVIEW ON MY SITE AS A KIND OF MEMORIAL.
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 SPRING 2019).
◊ Order before MAY 31, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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