NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/15) + 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:

Azar Lawrence Experience (Aug.15-18)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“The fulsome tenor and soprano saxophonist Azar Lawrence doesn’t disguise his admiration for John Coltrane—his bona fides include work with the Coltrane associates Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner—but a fondness for earthy R. & B. has earned him his own loyal following; his seventies recordings, including “Bridge Into the New Age,” are widely regarded as essential listening. Here, he performs with Experience, his fortified septet, which includes the guitarist Julian Coryell, the son of the fusion pioneer Larry Coryell.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Cedric Burnside
>> Broadway in Bryant Park
>> MICHAEL THOMAS QUARTET
>> John Fogerty, The Allman Betts Band
>> Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward
>> Michael Feinstein: I Happen to Like New York
>> Hudson Yards: New York’s Newest Neighborhood

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Cedric Burnside
Atrium at Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Grammy-nominated blues musician and songwriter Cedric Burnside—a descendant of blues royalty—continues the rich tradition of Mississippi Hill Country, imbuing the genre with modern-day sensibilities and a biting timeless flavor. Burnside has both played and recorded with North Mississippi Allstars, Widespread Panic, Jimmy Buffett, Bobby Rush, Hubert Sumlin, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and is now embarking on a tour with collaborator and Pimps of Joytime bandleader Brian Jay. For this very special appearance at the Atrium, Burnside brings his stinging guitar licks, raw, cutting rhythms, and soul-baring vocals to a blues set that will enthrall a new generation of listeners.”

Broadway in Bryant Park (LAST Thursday)
Bryant Park / 12:30pm–1:30pm, FREE
“For lovers of musical theater, the Broadway in Bryant Park concert series is one of the best things to do in the summer in NYC. Presented each year by the radio station 106.7 Lite fm, it’s a great way to spend a Thursday lunch hour: It’s outdoors, it’s free and it features performances from some of the best Broadway musicals, as well as Off Broadway shows. Bring a blanket, sit in the sun and let your inner show-tune fan out to play in the park for a while.” (TONY)

Today: featuring musical numbers from hit shows:
Mean Girls
Frankenstein
The Phantom of the Opera
Tootsie

MICHAEL THOMAS QUARTET
at the Jazz Gallery / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $15-$20
“Young and unassuming, Thomas, an alto saxophonist, is gaining recognition on the New York scene simply by virtue of his talents. He writes energetic, tuneful music for both combos and large ensembles (he is a leader of the Terraza Big Band), but he hasn’t put forth a new album under his own name since 2011. That may soon change: These shows will be recorded by Giant Step Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to presenting new jazz works in concert and capturing those performances on record. Thomas’s band here includes Jason Palmer on trumpet, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

John Fogerty, The Allman Betts Band
@ Radio City Music Hall / 8PM, $80+
“While Woodstock 50 is not happening this weekend, John will probably share a few stories about Creedence Clearwater Revival’s appearance at the original festival, and play lots of their songs as well as solo favorites tonight.” (brooklynvegan)

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 Melissa Manchester (August 15–20) and Jackie Evancho (August 21–23).” (TONY)

Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward (Aug.14-18)
Irish Repertory Theatre / 7PM, $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

Hudson Yards: New York’s Newest Neighborhood
The Municipal Art Society of New York/ 6PM, $30
WITH MATT POSTAL
“Join Matt Postal for a special evening tour of Manhattan’s newest neighborhood. Anchored by a subway station and public park, this very high-profile mixed-use development stands mostly above active railroad tracks. We’ll discuss the project’s master plan by Kohn Pedersen & Fox and its impact on the surrounding neighborhood, including the Shed (a flexible interdisciplinary arts venue) and the so-called “Vessel,” designed by Heatherwick Studio, as well as numerous shiny new office buildings and residential towers.”


Continuing Events

NYC Restaurant Week 2019:  Only 2 more days!
“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)

Battery Dance presents The 38th Annual Battery Dance Festival
Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park (Aug.11-16) / 7-9PM, FREE
Schimmel Center, 3 Spruce St. (Aug.17) / 6-8PM, $10
“Battery Dance, in association with Battery Park City Authority, announces the 38th Annual Battery Dance Festival with free performances from August 11-16, 2019 from 7-9 pm against the backdrop of New York Harbor at Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park in Battery Park City, culminating in a closing performance on August 17, 2019, from 6pm to 8pm at The Schimmel Center at Pace University. Tickets for the closing performance are $10.00; or $65 including after-reception.”

This festival, which started in 1982, returns to Lower Manhattan for a week of outdoor shows, as well as one at the Schimmel Center on Aug. 17. As always, the event includes dance companies and artists from around the world; this year, expect performers from Argentina, Austria, Curaçao, France, India, Iraq, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Turkey. And it wouldn’t be the Battery Dance Festival without a celebration, on Thursday, of Indian Independence Day. The focus is on Manipuri dance with Darshana Jhaveri & Drummers and Dancers of Manipur. Audience members have the chance to dance, too: After each outdoor show, artists will lead participants in a movement adventure of their own.” (NYT-

JAZZ IN TIMES SQUARE
Concert Series / Curated by Jazz at Lincoln Center
Thursdays from 5-7pm, from June to September
Broadway Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets

“Give your Thursday night a new rhythm as you head to the train or wait for a colleague to join you for dinner. Jazz at Lincoln Center brings New York City’s hottest young jazz bands to the plaza, creating the feeling of an intimate club amidst the lights and sounds of Times Square.”

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

8/15 Bonerama, Brooklyn Bowl
8/16 Willie Nile & James Maddock, Rockin The River, Circle Line
8/16 Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, The Bell House
8/16-17 Galactic, Brooklyn Bowl
8/17 Beck, Cage The Elephant and Spoon, Forest Hills Stadium
8/19 The Binky Griptite Orchestra, Union Pool
8/21 Tame Impala, Madison Square Garden

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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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