NYC Events,”Only the Best” (05/23) + 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:

Vivian Reed Sings Lena Horne
York Theatre Company at St. Peter’s Church / 7PM, $40
“The star of Broadway’s Bubbling Brown Sugar, among other things, is a lithe and dynamic triple-threat performer, with a voice that roams magically from contralto depths to R&B peaks. Her new set honors the career and legacy of Lena Horne; songs include “A Fine Romance,” “The Lady Is a Tramp” and, of course, “Stormy Weather.” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
>> Parsons Dance Company
>> John Lloyd Young: Jukebox Hero
>> JOE LOVANO’S TRIO TAPESTRY
>> ¡VAYA! 63 – Karen Joseph
>> Bill Charlap Trio

>> Carolyn Burke on Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
City Winery / 8PM, $55+
“For Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – ‘comfortable’ has never been a word associated with their brand of raucous, roots-tinged rock and bluesy reverie. The Jukes have more than 30 albums on their resume, thousands of acclaimed live performances across the globe, and a vibrant legacy of classic songs that have become “hits” to their large and famously-dedicated fan base.”

Parsons Dance Company (May14-26)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave./ 8PM, $50+
“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)

John Lloyd Young: Jukebox Hero (May 22-25)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $75+
The Tony-winning star of Jersey Boys, both the Broadway musical and the Clint Eastwood film, brings his musical highs and puppyish eyes back to Feinstein’s/54 Below in a set of hit tunes from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s—including, surely, at least one by the Four Seasons.” (TONY)

JOE LOVANO’S TRIO TAPESTRY (May 21-26)
at the Village Vanguard /8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $35
“There’s a quiet bravado to Lovano’s playing — on both tenor and soprano saxophones — that allows him to make a home in almost any jazz style, from the freely improvised to the rigorously composed. The music of this new trio, featuring the pianist Marilyn Crispell and the drummer Carmen Castaldi, lands somewhere in the middle, but it leans toward the open-ended. Melodies glide and taper, textures rise and shudder and dissipate. At the Vanguard, the trio will draw selections from a fine debut album, “Trio Tapestry,” recently out on ECM.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

¡VAYA! 63
Karen Joseph
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“A native New Yorker, Karen Joseph has established herself as one of the premier flutists in Latin music, performing with the who’s who of the genre, including Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta II, Johnny Almendra y Los Jóvenes del Barrio, Hansel y Raul, Charanga America, Charlie Rodriguez’s Conjunto, La Charanga 76, and countless others. For this special engagement at the Atrium, Joseph leads her own band, MamboCha, whose pulsating beats will keep you on your feet all night long.”

Bill Charlap Trio (May 14-26)
Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center/ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $40-$45
“Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…when he sits down to play, the result is an embrace, an act of possession. The tune rises, falls, disappears, and resurfaces in new forms as Charlap ranges over the keyboard with nimble, crisply swinging lines, subtly layered textures, dense chords, and spiky interjections.” TIME Magazine
One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Bill Charlap has performed and recorded with modern masters ranging from Phil Woods and Wynton Marsalis to Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand. Since 1997 he has led the Grammy Award-nominated Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, long recognized as a leading group in jazz. Veterans of all the top jazz venues, including, this trio is exemplary for its jaw-dropping level of chemistry and on-the-fly interactivity, made possible by both technical chops and hard-earned experience.”

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Carolyn Burke on Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury
Book Culture, 536 W. 112th St./ 7PM, FREE
“A captivating, spirited account of the intense relationship among four artists whose strong personalities, passionate feelings, and aesthetic ideals drew them together, pulled them apart, and profoundly influenced the very shape of twentieth-century art.”

AND The Statue of Liberty Museum opened just last week!


Continuing Events

coming soon.

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

5/23 Lizzo, Terminal 5
5/23-24 MGMT, Webster Hall
5/24 St. Lucia, Irving Plaza
5/25 Amy Ray, (le) Poisson Rouge
5/25 Greta Van Fleet, Forest Hills Stadium
5/25 Walk Off The Earth, Irving Plaza
5/26 The Hot Sardines, Joe’s Pub
5/26 Bjork’s Cornucopia, The Shed
5/26 Rodney Crowell, City Winery
5/29 Rufus Wainwright, City Winery
5/29 Weyes Blood, Music Hall of Williamsburg

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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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