NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/05) + 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:  “May 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.”


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

at the Town Hall / 7 p.m.; $45+
“A daughter of the sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar and the half sister of the singer-songwriter Norah Jones, this London-born composer comes by her musical gift honestly. Playing the instrument that her father famously helped introduce to Western popular culture in the 1960s, Shankar brings Indian classical music together with elements of pop, flamenco and electronic music; her most recent release, “Reflections,” is a greatest-hits compilation spanning her two-decade career. This performance in Midtown is part of a North American tour supporting the album. Shankar will perform its highlights, as well as music from her score for the Indian silent film “Shiraz.” (OLIVIA HORN-NYT)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
Al Green, The War and Treaty
>> Gilad Hekselman
>> Festival of Arcane Knowledge
>> Frieze New York


Music, Dance, Performing Art

Al Green, The War and Treaty
Radio City Music Hall / 8PM, $
“The legendary “Let’s Stay Together” singer is on his first tour in seven years, a bit of a surprise since his initial plan was only to perform at the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Though Al Green’s last album was 2008’s “Lay It Down,” any time Green performs away from his Full Gospel Tabernacle church in Memphis is now seen as a special event.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Sunday, May 5, Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., Manhattan
INFO $45 to $195; 800-745-3000,

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 2)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 3PM, $35+
“The season continues with repeats of premieres by Justin Peck and Pam Tanowitz, as well as several George Balanchine gems, including “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” “Stravinsky Violin Concerto” and “Western Symphony.” But, really, isn’t it all about “Diamonds”? Suzanne Farrell, the magnificent ballerina and muse to Balanchine, has recently been coaching dancers in the 1967 work, which is set to Tchaikovsky and pays homage to Russian schooling. The tiaras will glitter even more brightly than usual.” (NYT)

at Our Lady of Lourdes School / 4 p.m.; FREE with RSVP
“Williams was a brilliantly syncretic pianist whose self-possessed, physical style spanned swing, stride, gospel and bebop. She was also a devoted proponent of fellow musicians; in short, the breadth of her impact on jazz — in New York and beyond — is hard to estimate. In the later decades of her life, Williams became a devout Catholic, and Our Lady of Lourdes became a second home. This three-part celebration of her life includes a screening of the documentary “Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band”; a conversation with the film’s director, Carol Bash; and finally a performance by the fine octogenarian pianist Bertha Hope’s hard-bop quartet.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

at the Joyce Theater / 2PM, 8PM, $35+
“This event continues with performances by Australian Dance Theater (Friday to Monday) and the Australian Ballet (May 9 to 12). For its program, Australian Dance Theater explores the natural world in “The Beginning of Nature,” which is set to a score sung in Kaurna, the first language of the Indigenous peoples of the Adelaide Plains of South Australia. The Australian Ballet wraps up the festival with a trio of dances: Alice Topp’s “Aurum,” Stephen Baynes’s “Unspoken Dialoguesfollows” and a yet-to-be-titled premiere by Tim Harbour.” (NYT)

Gilad Hekselman (April 30-May 5)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S. / 8:30PM, +10:30PM, $35
“If the previous generation of jazz guitarists, flourishing in the wake of seventies fusion, were open to incorporating the extravagant sonics of avant rock and R. & B., the six-string maestros of today—among them, Gilad Hekselman—positively throw bear hugs around transformative contemporary textures. Here, Hekselman, an entrancing stylist who cleverly employs a small arsenal of pedals and effects, is joined by an ensemble that includes the outstanding saxophonist Mark Turner.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)


Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:

Festival of Arcane Knowledge
Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St., Bklyn / 12-7PM, $45
“Back by popular demand! Festival of Arcane Knowledge is an afternoon-long exploration of the intersections between art, death, and culture, featuring short talks, demonstrations, and film screenings presented by Morbid Anatomy’s community of makers, teachers, collectors, and rogue scholars. Special tours will be available of both the exhibition Envisioning the Afterlife: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory and Green-Wood. The day’s activities will be followed by an evening reception.”

Art New York (5/2-5/5)
Get inspired at an art fair
at Pier 92/94 : 12-8PM, $25 one-day ticket; $55 multi-day ticket
“An important exhibition facility for the arts that annually attracts over 150,000 collectors. Art New York will offer both noteworthy and fresh works by important artists from the modern, post-war, and pop eras, and feature paintings, photography, prints, drawings, design, and sculpture.” (

“Whether you’re most moved by paintings, photography, prints, drawings, or sculptures, contemporary, modern, post-war, or pop art, you’ll find something that speaks to you at Art New York. The fair features nearly 300 artists from 18 countries, displaying both up-and-coming talent and the biggest of the big names (read: Shepard Fairey, Dali, Matisse, Picasso, and Warhol).” (thrillist)

Not as convenient as Art New York, but worth a look:

Frieze New York (May 2- 5)
Randalls Island Park, Randall’s Island / 11AM, $27+
“Plan to spend some serious time immersing yourself in imaginative projects from 200 international galleries, both indoors and out, at Randall’s Island Park. This year, some of the art fest’s works are displayed off-site and even virtually. Frieze has teamed up with real estate company Tishman Speyer for a free public sculpture park at Rockefeller Center that presents 20 statues crafted by 14 far-reaching artists. Plus, Acute Art’s Daniel Birnbaum curates an exhibition dedicated to virtual-reality in which tech-loving aesthetes can view works in an immersive booth. If you can’t make it to the island, you can still experience the fest: Five hundred VR headsets are free to use at the aforementioned sculpture park, the Standard High Line and the Standard East Village.” (TONY)


Continuing Events

Tribeca Film Festival (Last Weekend)

“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. (NYMag) – Tribeca Film Festival What to see at the independent film fest.


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.


5/5 Vampire Weekend, Webster Hall
5/6 Bjork’s Cornucopia, The Shed
5/6-7 Nickel Creek, Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/7 Delta Rae, Sony Hall
5/7-8 Morrissey, Lunt-Fontaine Theatre
5/7-8 Imogen Heap, Town Hall
5/8 Dandy Warhols, Brooklyn Steel

♦ 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.


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

Bonus: Nifty 9 – Best Cabarets / Piano Bars NYCity
These are my favorite places for an after dinner night on the town – music and drinks.
Hit the Hot Link and check out what’s happening tonight:

Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W 54th St.

The Green Room 42 – 570 Tenth Ave.

Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46th St.

The Rum House, in the Hotel Edison – 228 W. 47th St.

Laurie Beechman Theatre – 407 W 42nd St.

Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St.

The Duplex – 61 Christopher St.

Sid Gold’s Request Room – 165 W 26th St.

Cafe Carlyle, in the Carlyle Hotel – 35 E. 76th St.
This is the only one not located on Manhattan’s WestSide, and it ain’t cheap, but it has some of the finest singers.

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”


NYT Theater Reviews – Our theater critics on the plays and musicals currently open in New York City.


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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