NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/28) + 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:  “July 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:

Kirk Franklin
Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway / 8PM, $35+
“When Kirk Franklin burst into mainstream gospel music, in the mid-nineties, he was more often clad in casual wear than in choir robes. Messages of the sacred, adorned in the aesthetics of the secular, became a hallmark—of his music and of his persona—that continues to endear him to younger generations. In recent years, his work with Kanye West and Chance the Rapper (not to mention his Milly Rock) has reaffirmed the durability of his influence in both the church and pop culture, highlighting the often thin line between the two. At the Beacon Theatre, on July 28, he gets support from a stylistic heir, Koryn Hawthorne, whose rise in the gospel world has been defined by her worldly approach to music, funnelled through the creative imagination of pop and R. & B.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> George Coleman Quintet
>> Meshell Ndegeocello
>> Catherine Russell

>> Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz
>> New York City Poetry Festival
>> Films meet vinyl in ‘Back to the Futurist’

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

George Coleman Quintet (July25-28)
Jazz Standard / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“Few bands currently active can provide as concentrated a dose of jazz history, spirit, insight and camaraderie as a group led by tenor saxophonist George Coleman.” (TONY)

Meshell Ndegeocello (July25-28)
Blue Note / 8PM, 10:30PM, $30-$45
“Singer, songwriter and bassist Ndegeocello is endowed with an undeniable charm that enables her to sing about almost any topic—including such heavy subject matter as politics and race—and make it sound as intimate as pillow talk.” (TONY)

Catherine Russell
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, 9:30PM; $50 ($35 on Sunday)
“Grammy Award winner Catherine Russell has been one of the most widely recognized jazz vocalists since the release of her debut album in 2006. Her 2017 album, Harlem on My Mind, was nominated for the 2017 Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy Award, and in April 2019 she released another anticipated recording. Russell’s experience extends far beyond releasing her acclaimed albums as a solo artist; she has also worked with Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, and Levon Helm.”

Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz (LAST DAY)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $70+
“The stars of the original Off Broadway production of The Last Five Years, having gone on to major Broadway careers, reunite for a nightclub set. Scott is a blond bombshell with a paradoxical flair for understatement, a reticent power that reached its apex in her 2010 Broadway showcase, Everyday Rapture; Butz has an unlikely but winning combination of everyday guyness and star magnetism. In addition to The Last Five Years, the two have also shared the stage in Rent and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and both are highly accomplished nightclub performers, so this should be a doozy. Todd Almond is the musical director.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

New York City Poetry Festival (July 27-28)
Be a poet (even if you didn’t know it)
Governors Island / 11AM-7PM, FREE
“Headlined by the likes of Robert Pinsky and Chen Chen, the New York City Poetry Festival will feature over 250 poets reading in the shade of Governors Island’s Colonel’s Row. Expect art, music, small presses hawking their wares, and inspiring, emotional performances. There will be an open mic, too, so come prepared with your very best couplets. Sign-up starts first thing in the morning, so get there early if you’ve got a poem the whole world has to hear.” (Thrillist)

Films meet vinyl in ‘Back to the Futurist’ (July 28)
The Lofts at Prince: 177 Prince St./ 6PM, $10
The Secret Speak-easy events at the Museum of Interesting Things (held on a mostly monthly basis) serve as an opportunity to dive into popular culture. This month it’s the “Back to the Futurist” program, featuring projected 16-mm films and songs played off vinyl records with a theme focused on how movies and music of the past envisioned how the future would be.” (amNY)


Continuing Events

“Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival will run from July 10 through August 10, 2019. Harnessing Mozart’s innovative spirit as its inspiration, this edition will feature groundbreaking, multidisciplinary, international productions and acclaimed artists from a variety of genres, introducing the audience to emerging creative voices, commissions and premieres.  The program will include performances from Mark Morris Dance Company, a panel discussion on Mozart’s Magic Flute, a screening of the film The Great Buster: A Celebration, and much more. For a full festival lineup, visit the Mostly Mozart Festival event page.” (nyc-arts.org)

NYC Restaurant Week 2019: Start making your reservations.

“The more than three-week-long promotion featuring two-course lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42) at some of the city’s best restaurants is back for its summer edition starting July 22. This time around, the celebration features prix-fixe meals at more than 380 eateries, with deals through Aug. 16.

You can find links to menus and the restaurants involved here, but check out our picks for some of the most enticing deals below.” (amNY)

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (Last Day)
Japan Society, 333 East 47th St./ various times, $15 individual films
“From July 19 – 28, the Japan Society will present JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film. Premiering 26 features and 16 short films, the festival offers a deep dive into one of the world’s most vital film cultures with a diverse selection across its Feature Slate, Classics: Rediscoveries and Restorations, Documentary Focus, Experimental Spotlight and Shorts Showcase sections. This year’s lineup features 19 first-time filmmakers and 14 female directors (the most in the festival’s history), including 10 International Premieres, 16 North American Premieres, 4 U.S. Premieres, 4 East Coast Premieres and 6 New York Premieres. In addition, over 20 guest filmmakers and talent from Japan will join the festival to participate in post-screening Q&As and parties.”
(NYC-ARTS.ORG)

GregD: This is the Best of Contemporary Japanese Cinema – some films already sold out.

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

7/28 Sheryl Crow, The Rooftop at Pier 17
7/29 Black Pumas, Mercury Lounge
7/30 The Wallflowers, City Winery
7/31 NPR’s Turning The Table live: The Motherlode, Lincoln Center Out Of Doors
7/31 Joan Osborne and special guests, 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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