NYC Events,”Only the Best” (04/29) + 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:

Kicks: The Great American Story of Sneakers – Nicholas K. Smith
Book Culture on Columbus, 450 Columbus Ave./ 7PM, FREE
“A cultural history of sneakers, tracing the footprint of one of our most iconic fashions across sports, business, pop culture, and American identity.

When the athletic shoe graduated from the beaches and croquet courts of the wealthy elite to streetwear ubiquity, its journey through the heart of American life was just getting started. In this rollicking narrative, Nicholas K. Smith carries us through the long twentieth century as sneakers became the totem of subcultures from California skateboarders to New York rappers, the cause of gang violence and riots, the heart of a global economic controversy, the lynchpin in a quest to turn big sports into big business, and the muse of high fashion.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Bach Plus One Concert
>> Australia Festival
>> The New York Pops – 36th Birthday Gala: Hat Full of Stars
>> Bruce Hornsby

>> The Ring Cycle
>> Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
>> Walking: One Step at a Time
Continuing Events
>> Tribeca Film Festival
>> STREB

COMING SOON (WFUV)
4/29-30 John Hiatt, City Winery
4/30 Deer Tick, Rough Trade
4/30 The Mountain Goats, Brooklyn Steel
5/01 Patti Smith, Webster Hall
5/01 Joan Baez, Beacon Theatre

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Bach Plus One Concert
St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway and Fulton St./ 1PM, FREE
“The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Julian Wachner, conductor:
Johann Sebastian Bach Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?, BWV 8
Georg Philipp Telemann Concerto in E minor for Flute and Recorder, TWV 52:e1
“This season, Bach at One evolves into Bach + One: featuring one Bach cantata each week paired with a complementary work from composers early to modern. Trinity’s presentation of Bach’s entire monumental output of vocal sacred music has been praised by The New York Times for its “dramatic vigor.”

Australia Festival (April 29-May 12)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 7:30PM, $30+
“Based on the selections for the Australia Festival, at the Joyce April 29–May 12, the search for what’s new in dance Down Under leads to the atavistic. First, Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc. perform “Attractor,” a modern ritual by two of the country’s leading lights, Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek. The music—the Indonesian duo Senyawa reinterpreting Javanese tradition by way of Black Sabbath—sets the tone, and the action thrashes accordingly, sucking some audience members into the free-for-all. “The Beginning of Nature,” by Australian Dance Theatre, is even more forthright in its stab at a primal state: athletic dancers in green wield sticks and shrubbery. Last and largest, the Australian Ballet stays sleekly contemporary rather than au naturel, but the dancemakers in its triple bill do include a too rare species: a female dancer in the company. Her name is Alice Topp, and you can see how her elegant “Aurum” cinched her the job of resident choreographer.” (Brian Seibert-NewYorker)

The New York Pops – 36th Birthday Gala: Hat Full of Stars
Carnegie Hall / 7PM, $49+
“Steven Reineke leads The New York Pops in a celebration of its 36th Anniversary, honoring Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning music icon Cyndi Lauper and media executive Ken Lowe, former CEO of Scripps Networks and the mastermind behind HGTV, the Food Network, and more. Proceeds support the orchestra and its PopsEd music education programs throughout all five boroughs of NYC.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

Bruce Hornsby
@ National Sawdust / 7:30PM, $45+
“’80s Lite FM balladeer (and onetime Grateful Dead member) Bruce Hornsby has been in the process of reinventing himself as an indie rock-approved artist, partially thanks to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon who’s collaborated with him a few times over the past few years and contributed to his new album Absolute Zero (alongside Vernon associates Brad Cook, S. Carey, Rob Moose, The Staves and yMusic). Hornsby brings his new songs to Williamsburg venue National Sawdust tonight and tomorrow.” (brooklynvegan)

The Ring Cycle (Apr.29-May11)
Tonight; Wagner’s Das Rheingold
Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center) / 7:30PM, $188+
tonight may be a tough ticket – try one of the other performances, or the secondary market.
“The first installment of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle returns to the stage in Robert Lepage’s “sweeping and evocative” (New York Times) production, featuring a cast of leading Wagnerians and maestro Philippe Jordan on the podium.”

“Wagner’s operatic tetralogy returns to the Met for the first time in six seasons. Show up to witness one of opera’s grandest works—and Robert Lepage’s equally grand production, which features a 45-ton mechanical set.” (TONY)

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Birdland, / 9:30PM, $30
Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly soiree that brings a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night. It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars, backed by Steve Doyle on bass, Billy Stritch on piano and Daniel Glass on drums, hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.” (broadwayworld)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Walking: One Step at a Time
Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, 58 Park Ave./ 7PM, FREE
“Erling Kagge, the bestselling author of Silence in the Age of Noise, returns to Scandinavia House for a discussion on his new book Walking: One Step at a Time, an illuminating examination of the joy of walking. From those perilous first steps as a toddler, to great expeditions, from walking to work to trekking to the North Pole, Erling Kagge explains that he who walks goes further and lives better. Walking is a book about the love of exploration, the delight of discovery and the equilibrium that can be found in this most simple of activities.”

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Continuing Events


Tribeca Film Festival (April 24 to May 5)

“Robert De Niro and Co.’s Tribeca Film Festival has long shown a spotlight on local indie features, documentaries, foreign films, the latest from big-name talent and the greatest from up-and-coming filmmakers.

TimeOutNY has got your complete one-stop-shopping guide to Tribeca Film Festival: their personal must-see picks, movie screenings, ticket info, a list of nearby bars and restaurants and much more.”

See Also:
IndieWire – Tribeca 2019: 12 Must-See Films at This Year’s Festival, From Danny Boyle to a Wild ‘Showgirls’ Doc.
CBS News – 15 highlights at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.
vulture.com (NYMag) – Tribeca Film Festival What to see at the independent film fest.

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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.”

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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.”
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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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