NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/28) + 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:  March 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.”


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

Best Brews of New York
Brookfield Place, Winter Garden / 4-9PM, $
“Best Brews is back at Brookfield Place! Sample offerings from the best breweries from Upstate New York, Long Island and New York City as the Winter Garden transforms into a Winter Biergarten with a different set of beers on tap each week (through March 14). Best of all, YOU decide which beer should win Best Brew of New York!”
Anytime there’s an excuse to spend time in the Winter Garden take it.

Tonight: Long Island
Barrier Brewing Co. (Oceanside, New York)
Blue Point Brewery (Patchogue, New York)
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. (Greenport, New York)
Oyster Bay Brewing Company (Oyster Bay, New York)
Montauk Brewing Company (Montauk, New York)
Featured Restaurant: Fuku


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Complexions, Contemporary Ballet
>> The Dirty Dozen Brass Band + Cha Wa

>> Cyrille Aimee: A Sondheim Adventure
>> Latin Reel Short Films

Continuing Events 
>> NYC Beer Week
>> Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

Complexions, Contemporary Ballet (Feb.26-Mar.3)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 8PM, $45+
“For most of its twenty-five years of existence, Complexions Contemporary Ballet has endured critical disapproval of its flashy aesthetic and its relentless, all-exclamation-points preening. And, for most of that time, such complaints have had little to no effect on its loyal, adoring audience. Its silver-anniversary programs at the Joyce include a greatest-hits compilation, as well as the premières of the supposedly neoclassical “Bach 25” and the topical “Woke.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

Elsewhere, but these two surely look worth the detour:

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band + Cha Wa
Brooklyn Bowl, Williamsburg / 7:30PM, $20
“If it weren’t for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the art of second-line music might have been little more than a museum item at this point. The New Orleans horn-funk powerhouse ushered in the brass-band revival of the ’70s, paving the way for a new generation of blowers. In more recent years, the group has guested with everyone from Widespread Panic to Modest Mouse; here, the DDBB takes top billing with special guest Butcher Brown. Get ready for a night of grooves, plus New Orleans-inspired food and drink specials.” (TONY)

at BRIC House Ballroom / 8 p.m.; $18
“The folksy blues put forth by this Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter, who has also written songs for Mavis Staples and collaborated with the Roots, can be intimate, acoustic and mostly unadorned, or up-tempo and groovy, as it is on his most recent album “New Magic.” A deep understanding of classic American roots music ties his records together, lending them old-school credibility even as the occasional unorthodox production choice gives his work a contemporary feel. The Canadian singer-songwriter Melissa Laveaux and the folk singer Christopher Paul Stelling open” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

at the Appel Room / 8:30 p.m.; $35+
“The art music composer Ryan Lott, the experimental drummer and percussionist Ian Chang and the jazz-schooled guitarist Rafiq Bhatia have forged their talents to create airy, unconventional pop under the name Son Lux. Incredibly active as soloists, these artists channel their more esoteric skills into this project, which attracts alternative rock and electronic music audiences as well as aficionados of contemporary composition. In 2018, the trio released their fifth album, “Brighter Wounds,” which puts seemingly incongruous sounds — like screeching, dissonant strings and bluesy guitar riffs — adjacent to one another for a compelling, unpredictable result.” (NYT-NATALIE WEINER)

Cyrille Aimee: A Sondheim Adventure (Feb.26-Mar.2)
Birdland, 315 W. 44th St./ 8:30PM, +11PM, $30-$40
Six decades after Stephen Sondheim’s ascendance as the doyen of Broadway composers, many jazz-inflected vocalists have yet to fully warm to his oeuvre, which bursts with songs whose musical constructions are as adroit as their lyrics are emotively penetrating. But the ever-game Cyrille Aimée is diving right in: on her smart new album, “Move On: A Sondheim Adventure,” she does justice to the master’s work with his warhorse “Send in the Clowns” nowhere in sight.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through March 3).
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“As City Ballet winds down its winter season with “The Sleeping Beauty” and a final week of mixed repertory, the new program in the mix is an all-George Balanchine one featuring “Prodigal Son” and “Liebeslieder Walzer.” In “Prodigal” — from 1929, it is the last of Balanchine’s works for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes — the themes are sin and redemption, while in “Liebeslieder,” a two-act ballet, the dancers are joined onstage by the musicians and singers. As Balanchine said, “In the first act, it is the real people who are dancing. In the second act, it is their souls.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Latin Reel Short Films
@ Museum of Art & Design / 6:30PM, $10
“See a slew of Spanish cinema at new film series Latin Reel’s shorts night. The series presents new films created by and about the Latin American community, and this installment features four award-winning shorts from emerging South American directors, including “The Summer of the Electric Lion / El verano del león electric” by Diego Cespedes from Chile, “The Foreign Body / El destetado” by Hector Silva from Venezuela, and “Verde” by Victoria Rivera from Colombia. There will be a post-screening Q&A with Rivera and Muñoz.” (Gothamist)


Continuing Events

NYC Beer Week (Feb. 23-March 2)
The best week for craft beer lovers
“The NYC Brewers Guild’s annual celebration of all things hops, malt and a little madness, NYC Beer Week, returns with over 60 breweries taking part in more than 150 events, from walk-around tastings to tap takeovers, brewer talks and pairing dinners. With beers brewed special for the festival, it’s a chance to taste things you won’t find anywhere else in the company of people who love one thing above all else”. (Metro)

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)

♦ 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.


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.,, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St. (btw 6/7),, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474
Sony Hall – 235 W 46th St. (btw 7/8),, 212-997-5123
and one more, not exactly WestSide:
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.

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., 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.

NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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.

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.”

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.
“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.

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.

“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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 SUMMER 2019).
◊ Order before AUG. 31, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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