NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/17) + 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:  “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.”

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

THE GIL EVANS PROJECT (May 16-19)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $35
“Evans is the rare composer whose music doesn’t need any refurbishing or newfangled interpretation to sound contemporary. Ryan Truesdell, a young composer and arranger, has made it his mission to prove that point: He goes directly to Evans’s original big-band manuscripts — including some charts that haven’t been played in over 50 years — and restages them to full effect. On Thursday and Friday, Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project ensemble will perform selections from Evans’s tenure with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra in the 1940s. On Saturday and Sunday, the focus will fall on Evans’s better-known work of the 1950s and ’60s.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>
NEW YORK CITY BALLET
>> NEW YORK COMEDY MUSIC FESTIVAL
>> JOEY DEFRANCESCO WITH THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA
>> Parsons Dance Company
>> NICOLE MITCHELL
>> Essex Market

>> Springtoberfest

You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

NEW YORK CITY BALLET (through June 2)
at the NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“This weekend coincides with the return of the principal Amar Ramasar, one of two dancers who was fired for sharing sexually explicit photos of female dancers and was then reinstated to his position at City Ballet by an arbitrator. He appears opposite Sara Mearns in George Balanchine’s “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” (the matinees on Saturday and Sunday). On Friday night, a relatively fresh cast of Jerome Robbins’s “Dances at a Gathering” takes the stage with debuts by four of the finest dancers in the company: Unity Phelan, Anthony Huxley, Russell Janzen and Joseph Gordon. The coming week affords more chances to see Robbins’s masterpiece, along with Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes.” (NYT-Gia Kourlas)
tonight: CLASSIC NYCB II

  • Judah
  • Dances at a Gathering
  • Stars and Stripes

Paying tribute to the wide-ranging reach of our repertory, Gianna Reisen’s Fall 2018 premiere Judah joins audience favorites from Robbins and Balanchine.

NEW YORK COMEDY MUSIC FESTIVAL (May 17-19).
“A generation inspired by Dr. Demento celebrates their love of making and performing funny songs with shows in bars, clubs and theaters across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Highlights include a “50 Funny Songs” competition on Friday at 9:30 p.m. at the Friars Club, and a free musical parade on Saturday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., starting at John V. Lindsay East River Park, weather permitting.” (NYT-Sean L. McCarthy)

JOEY DEFRANCESCO WITH THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA (May 17-18)
at Rose Theater / 8 p.m.; $40+
“DeFrancesco, a virtuoso soul-jazz organist, recently put out an album in a more mystical mode, “In the Key of the Universe” — inching closer than ever to the late-career sound of Dr. Lonnie Smith, jazz’s other premier organ player. The record features a few entrancing tunes recorded with Pharoah Sanders as a special guest, and it affirms DeFrancesco’s versatility and sensitivity as a bandleader. More evidence of that adaptability will be on display at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he will be joined by the resident orchestra, performing selections from Duke Ellington’s “New Orleans Suite” and Oliver Nelson’s arrangement of “Peter and the Wolf” — two of the rare works in jazz that blend the Hammond B3 with a full orchestra.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Parsons Dance Company (May14-26)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 8PM, $55+
“David Parsons got his start in Paul Taylor’s company. Now the acolyte honors his mentor, who died last year, by presenting “Runes,” a powerfully strange ritual that Taylor made in 1975 and which later served as a breakout piece for Parsons. Also on the program is the New York première of “Eight Women,” by Trey McIntyre, set to songs by Aretha Franklin, who died the same month as Taylor. McIntyre has a strong track record making dances to pop music. Here, some of the women are played by men.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

NICOLE MITCHELL (May 14-18)
The Stone at the New School / 8:30 p.m.; $20
“Mitchell, a flutist who was recently selected to head the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious jazz program, has friends in many high places. One of the most esteemed performers and composers on the jazz avant-garde, she will gather a different group of collaborators every night during this five-day run. Highlights will include the trio appearing on Tuesday, with Val Jeanty on electronics and Chad Taylor on drums; Mitchell’s team-up with the Matthew Shipp Trio on Wednesday; and a group she’s calling Funkish — with André Lassalle, known as Dre Glo, on guitar, Jared Nickerson on bass and Calvin Gantt doing spoken word, on May 18.” (GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO-NYT)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Elsewhere, but these look worth the detour:

Essex Market
Celebrate the grand reopening
Weekend-long
“Essex Market, which began as a hub for herring-hustling pushcart peddlers in the 1880s, has seen a lot of changes in the last 131 years. The latest iteration opened this week in the shiny Essex Crossing development, its pushcarts having been replaced with vendors like the Arancini Bros. (known for their fried arborio rice balls), the L.E.S. Ice Cream Factory (from the purveyors behind the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory), and the strange, beloved Shopsin’s. And if you’re in the market for herring after all these years, there’s still plenty of smoked fish to be found.”
Cost: Free to enter, prices for groceries and prepared foods vary.” (thrillist.com)

Springtoberfest
at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., LICity, Queens; / 8PM-12AM; $15
“You may know MoMA PS1 for its collection of contemporary art, but come spring it throws a stellar shindig, Night at the Museum: Springtoberfest, that takes place in a one-night-only beer garden. Queens-based food and drink will be presented for purchase while outdoor screenings run, DJ Jadalareign spins beats and guests can enjoy after-hours access to the galleries.” (amNY)

AND The Statue of Liberty Museum opened yesterday!


Continuing Events

NYCxDESIGN (May 10-22)
“New York City’s annual celebration of design, attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and designers from across the globe. Taking place each May, the event celebrates a world of design and showcases over a dozen design disciplines through events taking place across the city’s five boroughs.”

What to See – Times Square transforms into a design paradise for NYCxDESIGN

“Here’s a reason for New Yorkers to head to Times Square: there are sixteen installations to check out at DESIGN PAVILION, the hub of NYCxDESIGN, the annual city-wide celebration of design.  Stretching from 42nd Street to 47th Street across five plazas (kiosks will show maps to aid your journey), there is everything from an “ecocapsule,”, a tiny house, a carousel of creative chairs, to an iconic Eastern European bloc kiosk shown in the United States for the first time.” (untapped cities)

Design Pavilion in Times Square. Explore the future at this free annual public design happening. Design Pavilion serves as the public hub for NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s annual celebration of international design. Open daily 11am-9pm between West 42nd and West 47th, bounded by Broadway and Seventh Avenue, highlights of the Design Pavilion include a 50,000 pound yacht, an interactive tiny house sculpture, FutureHAUS (the world’s best solar home), and a sound and vision exhibition. (cityguideny)

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

5/16-18 Broken Social Scene, Webster Hall
5/18 Rodrigo y Gabriela, Beacon Theatre
5/19 & 21 Passion Pit, The Rooftop At Pier 17
5/19 Anthony De Costa, Mercury Lounge
5/19-20 Nils Lofgren, City Winery
5/21 Jimmy Webb, City Winery
5/22 St. Lucia, Irving Plaza
5/22 Positively Bob Dylan 78th Birthday Tribute, City Winery

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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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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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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.”

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

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

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