NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/23) + 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:  January NYC Events”
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.
To make your own after dinner plans TONIGHT, see the tab above;  “LiveMusic.”

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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Ann Hampton Callaway (Jan.23-26)
Birdland / 8:30PM, +11PM, $30-$40
“Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway, one of the leading pop/jazz singers of our time, has created an exciting night of songs and stories in celebration of one of America’s most beloved artists, Linda Ronstadt!

This show celebrates the many faces of love in Ronstadt’s iconic songs from her Stone Poney Days like “Different Drum” and “Long Long Time” to pop/rock classics like “You’re No Good,” and “Desperado” to unforgettable classics from her three Nelson Riddle albums like “What’s New” and “Am I Blue,” to her iconic duets which Callaway will perform with her brilliant MD, Billy Stritch.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> INGRID JENSEN QUINTET
>> NEW YORK CITY BALLET
>> Vijay Iyer
>> Donny McCaslin
>> KEYON HARROLD
>> War With Russia? Stephen F. Cohen and Dan Rather in Conversation with Katrina Vanden Heuvel

>> New York Boat Show

Continuing Events
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
>> Magic After Hours
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

INGRID JENSEN QUINTET (Jan. 23-26)
at the Birdland Theater / 7 and 9:45 p.m.; $30
“A trumpeter who’s as versatile as she is vigorous, Jensen released a standout album last year with the tenor saxophonist Steve Treseler. Titled “Invisible Sounds,” it pays tribute to Kenny Wheeler, an influential trumpeter and composer who died in 2014. Jensen and Treseler reinterpret nine of Wheeler’s compositions, which tend to be lyrical and songlike, whether moving at a quick clip or drifting as slowly as cloud cover. Though Jensen is the nominal bandleader for the gigs on Wednesday and Jan. 24, Treseler will also be there; they’ll be joined by Christine Tobin on vocals, Gary Versace on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Jon Wikan on drums. On Jan. 25 and 26, Jensen will revisit the material from her 2003 disc, “Project O,” with the pianist Gary Versace, the bassist Richie Goods and the drummer Jon Wikan. (The tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm will sit in on Jan. 25 only.) (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (Jan. 22-March 3)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“City Ballet’s winter season begins on Tuesday with a week of works by George Balanchine, the company’s co-founder and lodestar. Two alternating programs highlight his inspired interpretations of the work of two disparate composers: Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. The Stravinsky trio, performed on Tuesday, Thursday and the evening of Jan. 26, features “Apollo,” “Orpheus” and “Agon,” and captures Balanchine’s modern sensibility. Meanwhile, the Tchaikovsky set, comprising “Serenade,” “Mozartiana” and “Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2” on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and the afternoons of Jan. 26 and 27, shows off his classical elegance.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

Vijay Iyer (Jan.22-27)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“With a Whitmanesque musical presence, the pianist, composer, bandleader, and 2013 MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer contains multitudes: his of-the-moment playing and writing can be strikingly baroque or emotively spare, with plenty of compelling stops at points in between. His six-night run here offers a nice taste of his multifarious nature; it includes three performances with his acclaimed sextet, two with his trio of the bassist Linda May Han Oh and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey, and one with the Ritual Ensemble, which integrates Indian classical music, propelled by the percussive mridanga.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Donny McCaslin (Jan. 22-27)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“The qualities that drew David Bowie to Donny McCaslin—the passionate saxophonist and his band are the core unit on the rock icon’s final album, “Blackstar”—are still firmly in place. In particular, McCaslin maintains a willingness to explore the increasingly porous boundaries between jazz and other contemporary genres. His rip-roaring quartet includes the keyboardist Jason Lindner and the drummer Mark Guiliana, who is an influential instrumentalist in his own right.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

KEYON HARROLD (Jan. 21-23)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $20-$35
“Harrold is technically gifted enough to have recorded the Miles Davis trumpet parts heard on the soundtrack to the 2016 film “Miles Ahead.” He’s also a ruggedly modern thinker, whose own most recent album draws inspiration from radio hip-hop, classic quiet storm, cinematic scores and contemporary jazz. He has long performed in the backing bands for figures like Maxwell, Jay-Z and Rihanna, but these days he is focusing more squarely on his own bandleading career. A native of Ferguson, Mo., Harrold here will perform a program titled “Jazz for Reflection, Protest, Justice and Unity.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

War With Russia? Stephen F. Cohen and Dan Rather in Conversation with Katrina Vanden Heuvel
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ 7:30PM, $40
Historian Stephen F. Cohen speaks on War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, in which he argues that we’re in a new Cold War even more perilous than the last. He’ll talk about whether Putin is really intent on destabilizing the West, in conversation with Dan Rather and The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel.” (ThoughtGallery.org)

New York Boat Show (Jan.23-27)
Javits Center, / 12PM, $16
“If your life, your love and your lady is the sea, then you’ll be more than satisfied by this five-day nautical convention, which features a vast variety of yachts, sailboats and more. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to sharpen your boating skills with interactive workshops. Little ones can build their own miniature wooden vessels at the Create-a-Boat station. And for the first time, the Icon A5 Aircraft (a sports plane with wings that fold back) makes its NY Boat Show review.” (TONY)

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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 Lodge by Urbanspace, and The Rink, the centerpiece of Winter Village and New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.
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)


Magic After Hours
Tannen’s Magic, Midtown West (Until Dec 31 2019)

“Twice a week, after closing time, 20 people crowd into the city’s oldest magic shop, Tannen’s, for a cozy evening of prestidigitation by the young and engaging Noah Levine. The shelves are crammed with quirky devices; there’s a file cabinet behind the counter, a mock elephant in the corner and bins of individual trick instructions in plastic covers, like comic books or sheet music. The charm of Levine’s show is in how well it fits the environment of this magic-geek chamber of secrets. As he maneuvers cards, eggs, cups and balls with aplomb, he talks shop, larding his patter with tributes to routines like the Stencel Aces and the Vernon Boat Trick—heirlooms of his trade that he gently polishes and displays for our amazement.” (TONY)

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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 65 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, 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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