NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/06) + 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.”

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

Rigoletto (next Mar.9, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $20+
“Verdi’s tragic jester returns in Michael Mayer’s neon-bedecked, Las Vegas–themed production. Baritones Roberto Frontali and George Gagnidze share the title role, and soprano Nadine Sierra reprises her portrayal of Gilda, the role that helped launch her now-blossoming Met career. Tenors Vittorio Grigolo and Bryan Hymel share the role of the lascivious Duke, and Nicola Luisotti conducts.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> 2019 Ecstatic Music Festival
>> Ches Smith

>> Nellie McKay
>> Ambrose Akinmusire
>> Justin Vivian Bond: Under the Influence
>> SciCafe: The Raw Truth About Cooking
>> Workers and Wages in America Today

Continuing Events
>> more continuing events coming soon.

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

2019 Ecstatic Music Festival
Tonight: Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund Concert
@ Kaufman Center, Merkin Hall / 7:30PM, $25
“The Ecstatic Music Festival pairs modern classical with pop, rock, jazz artists for unique collaborations, audacious, one-night-only presentations of surprising musical collaborations.
Next up is the annual Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund Concert which will feature premieres of works by composers Nicole Lizée, Josué Collado Fregoso, Henry Threadgill and Trevor Weston.”
“No series has better instincts in fomenting post-genre alchemy than the Ecstatic Music Festival.” (Steve Smith, The New Yorker)

Ches Smith
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30PM, $20
Having reached maturity in the new millennium, the drummer Ches Smith is from a generation of fervently eclectic players still ready and willing to get their hands dirty with any genre they encounter. An invaluable figure in numerous new-jazz and rock ensembles, Smith hosts a residency that finds room for, among others, a crew of risk-taking guitarists that includes Mary Halvorson, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, and Marc Ribot.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Nellie McKay (Mar.5-9)
Birdland / 7PM, $30-$40
“Fearless singer-songwriter and deceptively feather-light song stylist McKay is always guaranteed to flabber your gast with her witty, unwieldy and beguiling performances. In this Birdland run, she toasts the release of her seventh album, Sister Orchid, which includes versions of standards including “My Romance,” “The Nearness of You” and “Georgia on My Mind.” (TONY)

Ambrose Akinmusire (March 5-10)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“Go-for-broke musicians like Ambrose Akinmusire often lead dual musical lives. The gifted trumpeter and composer went big on his compelling 2018 release, “Origami Harvest”—a commissioned work that made fruitfully dissonant use of an impassioned rapper and a string quartet­. Here, though, he reverts to a small group, helming a coiled quintet that features the skillful pianist Sullivan Fortner and the return of the tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Justin Vivian Bond: Under the Influence (Mar.5-6)
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater / 9PM, (7pm, Wed); $35
“The inimitable siren of the downtown cabaret stage toasts Judy Collins with an evening of song. On the setlist: songs by artists whom Collins has covered throughout her career. Show up for favorites from Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Stephen Sondheim and others, sung by one of New York’s most luminous performers. “ (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

AMNH Presents | SciCafe: The Raw Truth About Cooking
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St./ 7PM, FREE, with RSVP
“Evolutionary biologist Rachel Carmody talks about the long-standing human practice of processing foods. She’ll explain how it increases the calories we can extract, its evolutionary advantages, and the challenges it presents for our present and future.” (ThoughtGallery)

Workers and Wages in America Today
Featuring Nobel-Winning New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave.,Room C200 / 6:30PM, FREE, RSVP required

“In this time of low unemployment, why is it so hard for American workers to make a living? Why haven’t the economy’s gains of the recent past meant higher wages for everyone?

A panel of experts examines the power, or weakness, of the American worker—looking at factors such as features of U.S. markets, technology, globalization, gendered wage patterns, and the decline of unions. Featuring Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize–winning economist, New York Times columnist, and distinguished professor; Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at The Economic Policy Institute; Arindrajit Dube, professor of economics at UMass Amherst; and others.”

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Continuing Events

more continuing events coming soon.

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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 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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