NYC Events,”Only the Best” (03/24) + 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:  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:

Winter Festival IV
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Alice Tully Hall / 5PM, $32+
“CMS traverses the turbulent historical landscape of Russia through its vastly expressive music. From the glorious musical outpourings of the age of the tsars and the Russian Empire to the audaciously creative period between the wars, and into and beyond the Soviet era, Russian music has told the story of its country and people like no other. Each program concludes with one of Russia’s incomparable chamber music blockbusters, works of symphonic scale and excitement.

  • Myaskovsky Quartet No. 13 in A minor for Strings, Op. 86 (1949)
  • Shostakovich Quartet No. 13 in B-flat minor for Strings, Op. 138 (1970)
  • Borodin Quartet No. 2 in D major for Strings (1881)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> How to Listen to, Understand, and Enjoy Great Music

>> Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
>> The Bad Plus
>> JUDAH FRIEDLANDER

>> Princess Zhaojun
>> Coffee and Tea Festival
>> Death Becomes Us

Continuing Events
>> STREB
>> NOCHE FLAMENCA
>>
Make March Madness a slam dunk
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

How to Listen to, Understand, and Enjoy Great Music
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St./ 4PM, $69
Presented by One Day University with Kaufman Music Center
“Enhance your concert-going experience with this fascinating class, which will introduce and explore some of the great composers and their works. Professor Orin Grossman (Fairfield University) will lead the audience through concepts of listening that transcend any one creator, style or genre. Performances will feature musically gifted students from Special Music School (P.S. 859) at Kaufman Music Center – a groundbreaking collaboration between the Center and the public school system of New York City.”

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (last day)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 7:30PM, $55+
“It’s rare for a touring ensemble to perform to live music, and even rarer for a contemporary troupe to do so—it’s too expensive, too cumbersome. But Aspen Santa Fe has come up with a simple and elegant solution: a trio of piano ballets, all accompanied onstage by the excellent pianist Joyce Yang. In Jorma Elo’s high-spirited “Half/Cut/Split,” the dancers cavort, speedily, to Schumann’s “Carnaval.” The surrealism of Fernando Melo’s “Dream Play”—in which dancers appear to balance on tightropes and fly—is paired with the spare melodies of Satie and Chopin. And Philip Glass’s looping motifs set a moody atmosphere for Nicolo Fonte’s “Where We Left Off.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

The Bad Plus (LAST DAY)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“As momentous transitions go, it’s been a relatively smooth one for the epochal trio the Bad Plus, which replaced its pivotal pianist Ethan Iverson with the equally skilled player Orrin Evans in 2017. A fine subsequent studio album, “Never Stop II”—which incorporated original material from Evans—and absorbing live performances have proved that the future looks bright for this once iconoclastic and now firmly entrenched ensemble.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

JUDAH FRIEDLANDER
at Carolines on Broadway / 7:30PM, $
“Since releasing the 2017 Netflix special “America Is the Greatest Country in the United States,” this comedian and actor, who co-starred on “30 Rock,” has assembled a new campaign of political satire, “Future President,” and he’s taking it out on the road. He’ll also field questions from the audience regarding his presidential platform for 2020 — if he were to actually run, that is.” (NYT-Sean L. McCarthy)

Princess Zhaojun (Mar.21-24)
NYS Theater, (at Lincoln Center) / 8PM, $117+
“China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater makes its New York debut with a dance-theater pageant directed and choreographed by Kong Dexin. The show, written by Yu Ping and composed by Zhang Qu, tells of Wang Zhaojun, a legendary beauty who helped bring peace to the Han Dynasty two thousand years ago. Fifty dancers bring the story to life, with help from opulent costumes and sets.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Elsewhere, but for you coffee lovers this is surely worth the detour:
Coffee and Tea Festival (Mar.23-24)
Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint / 12-5PM, General admission $25; some seminars require additional fee; food available for purchase.
“Elevate your heart rate and your caffeine consumption vehicle with samples from dozens of purveyors at the two-day Coffee & Tea Festival: NYC. After you load up on brews and channel all that jittery energy into a tea selection lesson, equipment demonstration, or a crafting seminar.” (thrillist.com)

Death Becomes Us (last day)
Find your favorite murder.
Various locations, times
“The first NYC edition of this D.C.-based festival brings together crime authors, content creators, and their fans. Highlights include a talk with Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder of Serial and a panel on being falsely accused with Amanda Knox and Damien Echols, who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.” (vulture.com)

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Continuing Events

STREB (weekends through May 12)
Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, 51 N. 1st St., Bklyn. / Sat.5PM, Sun.3PM; $25
“The shows that STREB Extreme Action puts on at its Williamsburg headquarters  have a carnival atmosphere, and not just because eating and drinking are encouraged. Will the Action Heroes, as the intrepid dancer-acrobats are styled, collide as they hurl themselves off a trampoline? Will they get whacked by swinging cinder blocks or huge metal contraptions? Probably not, but they want you to cringe. Their newest machine is the Molinette, a giant bar that revolves like the blade of a windmill.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

The Streb performers are absolutely amazing and so worth the detour.
I try to see them every year, can’t get enough.

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NOCHE FLAMENCA (thru Mar.31, NO MON.)
at the Connelly Theater / Tue – Thu at 7:30pm; Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm; $20+
“This splendid flamenco company, led by Martín Santangelo, its artistic director, and the dancer Soledad Barrio, presents “Entre Tú y Yo” (“Between You and Me”), an evening of solos, duets and ensemble works that includes “Refugiados” (“Refugees”), which has been recently added to the company’s repertoire. The piece transforms poems written by children in refugee camps into song and dance. The program also features the latest iteration of “La Ronde,” which is inspired by Max Ophüls’s 1950 film and spotlights the talents of a guitarist, a vocalist and a solo dancer.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)

If you like flamenco even a little, you must see Soledad’s performance.

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NCAA – Make March Madness a slam dunk
DeKalb Market Hall / Free to enter; standard menu prices
“Why celebrate the annual March Maddening from your sofa when you can make it an occasion at DeKalb Market Hall’s DeKalb Stage? See the tourney on the new venue’s 180” projection screen, sip cocktails, and snack on Ample Hills ice cream, Katz’s pastrami, and Chicks Isan’s wings.’ (thrillist.com)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour and is an easy trip on the #2,3 express subway to Nevins St. (2 stops after Wall St.)

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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.”

In Memoriam:
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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