NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/09) + 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:  “August 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:

Michael Feinstein: I Happen to Like New York (Aug.7-23)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $85+
“The popular and polished standard-bearer of American song returns to the club that bears his name for a three-week run devoted to tunes that celebrate New York City; the set includes a salute to the masterfully ebullient singer-pianist Bobby Short, who defined the champagne wing of cabaret in his four-decade run at the Café Carlyle. Feinstein is joined by special guests Marilyn Maye (August 6–13), Melissa Manchester (August 15–20) and Jackie Evancho (August 21–23).” (TONY)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Matuto, Eileen Ivers, and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas.
>> Roxy Music’s landmark “Avalon” album
>>
John Mayall
>> Under Siege
>> BILL FRISELL
>> INGRID LAUBROCK
>> Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Matuto, Eileen Ivers, and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas.
Be wowed by the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the violin’
Bryant Park / 6PM, FREE
“Dance the night away in Bryant Park with quartet Matuto, which mixes Brazilian folk music and American bluegrass, Eileen Ivers, a Grammy Award-winning, Emmy nominated, and nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, dubbed “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by The New York Times, and Zydeco a band that pulls inspiration from across genres — Cajun, Afro-Caribbean, and African-American pop. The free concert, Carnegie Hall Citywide Night, takes place on the park’s stage on the park lawn.” (amNY)

Roxy Music’s landmark “Avalon” album
“The old time Roxy Music rocks and rolls again.
We will all be slaves to love, as newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fam member Bryan Ferry delivers songs from Roxy Music’s landmark “Avalon” album, as well as songs from the band’s catalog and his own stylish solo career. Maybe it turns out “Love Is the Drug,” too.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Aug. 9, United Palace, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan
INFO $45.50 to $166; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

John Mayall (Aug.8-10)
@ The Iridium / 8PM, $55+
“Blues rock legend John Mayall is the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, which helped launch the careers of members of Cream, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, and more. Mayall is still at it today, and the chance to see him is a real treat. He begins a three-night stand at the Iridium tonight.” (brooklynvegan)

Under Siege (Aug.8-10)
A superstar’s take on the fight for ancient China.
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $65+
“Choreographer Yang Liping abbreviates the story and expands the spectacle of China’s third-century B.C. civil war into a visual extravaganza that combines dance, music, and martial arts against a cinematic backdrop by Oscar-winning production designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).” (Justin Davidson, NYMagazine)

BILL FRISELL (Aug. 6-11)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $35
“Blue Note Records announced this week that it had signed Frisell, a homey eminence of downtown guitar experimentalism. He has often appeared on the label as a sideman over the years, but “Harmony,” due this fall, will be his first as a leader. Whatever he has in store with that release, his recent albums for ECM — luminous duo affairs with the bassist Thomas Morgan — probably offer a good clue of what to expect at these shows, where he and Morgan will be joined by the drummer Rudy Royston.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

INGRID LAUBROCK (Aug. 6-10)
at the Stone / 8:30 p.m.; $20
“Laubrock can manipulate her tenor saxophone with everything from thin, breathy lines to harsh slaps of the tongue. Despite her expressionist tendencies, she never lets go of her devotion to cool, lyrical clarity. Laubrock kicks off a five-night run at the Stone on Tuesday with Mary Halvorson on guitar, Kris Davis on piano and Tom Rainey on drums. She will convene a different combo on each of the following nights — featuring all-stars of the avant-garde — before wrapping things up with a quintet performance on Aug. 10 dedicated to the music of Anthony Braxton.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward (Aug.7-11)
Irish Repertory Theatre / 3PM, +8PM, $45-$50
“The Noël Coward touch was always a light one. His music scampers like a mouse; his lyrics bounce like balloons. In his plays, even suffering has an upward tendency. But when his work is excerpted and performed by others, that glancing quality can turn coy and saccharine, as it sometimes does in Barry Day’s two-handed cabaret Love, Noël.

Reading from Coward’s letters and covering nearly two dozen songs, cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan pay Coward tribute. Sometimes Ross, the longtime king of café cabaret, is his own tuxedoed self, and sometimes he’s pretending to be Coward; an amused-seeming Sullivan takes on all the women. (She does a great, gloomy Marlene Dietrich.)” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More smart stuff coming soon.


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)

MM

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

8/8 Guster, SummerStage Central Park
8/8 Dead On Live, Rockin’ The River Circle Line Cruises, Pier 83
8/9 “What’s Goin’ On” The Music of Marvin Gaye, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
8/10 My Morning Jacket, Forest Hills Stadium
8/10 Mountain Goats, SummerStage East River Park
Lincoln Center “Out Of Doors” festival: Roots of American Music:
8/10 Patty Griffin and Yola
8/11 David Crosby and Anais Mitchell

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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 2019 – the ninth consecutive year. 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 WINTER 2020).
◊ Order before FEB. 28, 2020 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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