NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/17) + 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:  “APRIL 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.
OR 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:

MIHO HAZAMA AND M_UNIT
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30
“The crossbreeding of classical and jazz has a long history, stretching back to the Third Stream movement of the 1960s. And new approaches to this amalgam have been thick on the ground of late: Just try to count how many young jazz musicians are writing for string quartet these days. One of the boldest thinkers and most delightful composers in this vein is Hazama, who studied Western classical music in Japan before making the jump to jazz. Her chamber orchestra, m_unit, blends strings and horns and mallet percussion in service of her resplendent, highly singable compositions. At the Standard, the group will be playing selections from the recently released “Dancer in Nowhere.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> La Traviata
>> Merce Cunningham Celebration
>> NATALIE PRASS
>> Wednesdays at One: Music for Brass
>> Sylvie Courvoisier
>>Todd Rundgren The Individualist Tour

>> Person Place Thing Live Podcast Recording
Continuing Events
>>more coming soon
>> STREB

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

La Traviata (next Apr.20, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 8PM, $139+
“Michael Mayer’s “dazzling” (Vanity Fair) new production returns, with Romanian soprano Anita Hartig as the opera’s tragic heroine. Plácido Domingo reprises his portrayal of the stern Germont, alongside tenor Stephen Costello as Alfredo. Nicola Luisotti conducts.”

Merce Cunningham Celebration (Apr.17-21)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St./ 7:30PM, $85+ may be a tough ticket, try other nights or secondary market.
“One of the sorrows of the closure of the Merce Cunningham company, in 2011, was the loss of a beloved seasonal marker. Every spring, like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Cunningham troupe opened its New York season, and your brain suddenly felt young and clean again. This year, in tribute to the centennial of the choreographer’s birth, the ritual will be reënacted, at the Joyce, April 17-21, in a program of revivals by three companies. Ballet West, from Salt Lake City, will perform the tranquil “Summerspace” (1958), with its famous dappled costumes. (Robert Rauschenberg, the company’s art director, stood the dancers up in front of him and sprayed Day-Glo dots on them.) The Centre National de Danse Contemporaine, from Angers, France, will do the very classical “Suite for Five” (1956), and Washington Ballet will close the show with the bang-up “Duets” (1980), for six couples, to recordings of traditional Irish drumming.” (Joan Acocella, NewYorker)

NATALIE PRASS
at Bowery Ballroom / 8 p.m.; $20
“As this singer-songwriter from Richmond, Va., knows, creating art with a political point of view can be risky. Her second album, last year’s “The Future and the Past,” was written largely in response to the 2016 presidential election; finding a label willing to release it took her longer than she had hoped. In the past year, Prass has toured the album tirelessly, as both a headliner and a supporting artist on Kacey Musgraves’s “Oh, What a World” Tour. On this stop, she’ll perform funk-flavored pop songs like “Oh My” and “Short Court Style,” as well as more orchestral holdovers from her 2015 debut.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

Wednesdays at One: Music for Brass
Alice Tully Hall, The Juilliard School / 1PM, FREE
“Juilliard artists share their talent with the community in these free, hour-long lunchtime concerts on Wednesday afternoons throughout the season.”

Sylvie Courvoisier (April 16-20)
The Stone at the New School, 55 W. 13th St./ 8:30PM, $20
Since arriving from Switzerland, in 1998, when New York’s downtown music scene was still in high gear, the pianist and composer Sylvie Courvoisier has remained a catalytic participant in new improvisatory music circles. This residency finds her playing with familiar faces, including the percussionist Ikue Mori, the bassist Drew Gress, and Courvoisier’s husband and frequent musical partner, the violinist Mark Feldman.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Todd Rundgren The Individualist Tour
Town Hall / 8PM, $35+
“A true iconoclast, Todd Rundgren has just released his memoir The Individualist: Digressions, Dreams, and Dissertations and is currently on what he’s calling “the world’s first hybrid concert/book tour.” He’ll play songs from the ’60s through the mid-90s and will tell lots of stories as well.” (brooklynvegan)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Person Place Thing Live Podcast Recording
Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St./ 6:30PM, $20
Hosted by Randy Cohen with Special Guest Russell Shorto
“At this recording of Person Place Thing, host Randy Cohen chats with bestselling author Russell Shorto. Person Place Thing is an interview show based on this idea: that people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves, but about something they care about. Guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result: surprising stories from great speakers. This recording is also accompanied by a live musical performance.”

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Continuing Events


More coming soon.

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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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♦ 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 FALL 2019).
◊ Order before NOV. 30, 2019 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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