NYC Events,”Only the Best” (09/20) + 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:  “September 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:

Easy Rider Live
@ Radio City Music Hall  1260 Sixth Ave./ 8PM, $20

“Pay a fitting tribute to a legend at Easy Rider Live, a live-music and cinematic experience in celebration of the classic film’s 50th anniversary. The film will be shown on the world’s largest installed LED screen, while its legendary soundtrack—including “Born To Be Wild,” “The Weight,” and “Ballad of Easy Rider”—is performed live onstage by John Kay, Roger McGuinn, and special guests, produced by T Bone Burnett. The evening was originally planned to include opening remarks by Peter Fonda, who passed away last month; his wife Parky Fonda has praised the event, saying, “The celebration of a cinematic masterpiece, a Hollywood icon, and my beloved husband [will be] exactly what he wanted.”  (gothamist)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> Bobby Sanabria
>> RODNEY WHITAKER
>> Houston Person
>> Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene
>> Ravi Coltrane

>> New York City Ballet
>> Listening Party: John Coltrane’s Blue World
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

¡VAYA! 63
Bobby Sanabria
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE, but get there early for a seat.
“¡VAYA! 63 Led by renowned percussionist, composer, arranger, and educator Bobby Sanabria, the 21-piece multi-Grammy-nominated Multiverse Big Band has been hailed by DownBeat magazine as a “force of nature.” Uniquely known for its versatility, the orchestra can seamlessly transition from complex concert repertoire to swinging big-band dance music. On the heels of the Grammy-nominated West Side Story Reimagined double CD, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band will pay tribute to the mecca of all Latin dance halls, the legendary Palladium Ballroom, where the fusion of big-band mambo and jazz reigned supreme.Kick off the fifth season of ¡VAYA! 63, the Atrium’s popular Latin dance party, with this stellar band.“

RODNEY WHITAKER (Sept. 20-21)
at Smalls / 7:30 and 9 p.m.; $20
“A redoubtable bassist and influential jazz educator at Michigan State University, Whitaker recently released “Common Ground,” a collection of lively post-bop tunes written by the Michigan-based composer Gregg Hill. He’s likely to draw from that songbook when he performs here with Stacy Dillard on tenor saxophone, Luther S. Allison on piano and Michael Reed on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Houston Person (Sept. 19-22)
Jazz Standard,116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
You don’t come to Houston Person in search of innovation; you merely bask in a surplus of old-school warmth and melodic charm and in a generosity of tone that emanates from precious few saxophonists of any age. For this outing, the eighty-four-year-old tenor master likely dips into the blues-drenched ballads that make up his characteristic new album, “I’m Just a Lucky So and So.” (Steve Futterman, New Yorker)

Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene (Sept.18-22)
York Theatre Company at St. Peter’s Church / 2:30PM, $40
“Whether attracting or repelling her audiences, international chanteuse Lemper is never less than magnetic. Her style is perversely polymorphic: One moment she might tear into a song with predatory hunger, then she might purr out a dreamy croon or toss back her head for a brassy squeal of jazz. Her newest set is inspired by a long conversation she shared with languid legend Marlene Dietrich in 1988.” (TONY)

Ravi Coltrane (Sept.17-22)
Village Vanguard / 8:30, +10:30PM, $35
“Expect plenty of inside-outside postbop intrigue here, as the subtly commanding sax star distills the innovative spirit from his jazz-royalty legacy into a distinctly modern style with a killer quartet.” (TONY)

New York City Ballet
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $
“For a company that tends to eschew evening-length ballets, “Jewels,” created by the choreographer George Balanchine, in 1967, is an exception. More than a single ballet, it is composed of three separate but thematically connected works, inspired by the qualities of gemstones and by contrasting musical worlds. “Emeralds,” set to music by Fauré, is quietly mysterious. “Rubies,” all sharp angles and brazenness, is meant to evoke the energy of New York. And “Diamonds” reflects the opulence and wistfulness of the Russia of Balanchine’s imagination. In recent years, both Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns have dominated “Diamonds”; Kowroski is remote and regal, Mearns urgent, almost feverish in her approach. The tall, phlegmatic Teresa Reichlen has come to define the cool glamour of “Rubies.” Few ballets give a better sense of the company as a whole.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

Listening Party: John Coltrane’s Blue World
Education Center at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall / 7PM, FREE, but get there early for a seat.
“Join host Ashley Kahn as we celebrate the release of the John Coltrane album Blue World. Conceived as a film soundtrack, we will discuss the album and screen Le chat dans le sac, the film it accompanied! Please note that seating is on a first come, first served basis, and there are no reservations.”


Continuing Events

Photoville @ Brooklyn Bridge Plaza (LAST WEEK – thru Sept.22)

It’s the eighth year for the gargantuan photography show Photoville, featuring 80 exhibits and work by more than 600 artists, nightly outdoor programming, site-specific installations, talks, demonstrations, workshops, and more. It’s all installed in and around 60+ shipping containers scattered throughout Brooklyn Bridge Plaza. The huge opening night celebration, presented by United Photo Industries, showcases work from the Magnum Foundation, For Freedoms, Bronx Documentary Center, Batsi’ Lab, and Facing Change: Documenting America. The festival will run through September 22nd.


Feast of San Gennaro (LAST DAYS-through Sept. 22)

“Where: Mulberry Street, between Canal and Houston streets; on Hester Street, between Baxter and Centre streets; and on Grand Avenue, between Baxter Street and Centre Market Place. The stage is at the corner of Grand and Mott streets.

What it’s all about: The Feast of San Gennaro dates to 1926 when Neapolitan immigrants wanted to continue the September 19 feast day observed back home. The feast also was a way for Italian immigrants to celebrate their heritage. After being told they would be relegated to worship in the basement of other churches, dominated by Irish Catholics, the community built its own church.

Over the years, the Feast of San Gennaro has grown to 11 full days of celebration, food and drink. Speaking of which, vendors you’ll see include: Cannoli King Caffe Palermo, Grotta Azzurra, Umberto’s Clam House, Lombardi’s, Capri, Alleva Dairy, DiPalo, Ferrara Bakery and more.” Iconic eats to celebrate the feast.(amNY)

Mangia at the 93rd annual San Gennaro Feast

There’ll be food, glorious food, as the 93rd annual Feast of San Gennaro honoring the patron saint of Naples kicks off in Little Italy. The 11-night fest features live music and food on top of food on top of food. Activities include a cannoli-eating contest (2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13), as well as a parade (2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 with “The Sopranos” star Steve Schirripa serving as grand marshal), a zeppole-eating competition (1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18) and a High Mass in the name of San Gennaro (6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19). (Free; food and other items available for purchase; sangennaronyc.org)

Brooklyn Americana Music Festival @ Various venues (thru Sept.22)

“Get ready for plenty of hand-clapping and foot-stomping at the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, touching down all across Dumbo and Red Hook for the fifth year running. The fest promises 50 shows in nine venues over four days, all free of charge except for the opening-night gala. Some highlights include Female Songwriter of the Year Dayna Kurtz, Americana-folk troubadours Underhill Rose, NOLA R&B group Sabine McCalla and the Dew Drops, classic country crooners the Haggard Kings, country-blues outfit Cari Ray and the Shaky Legs, a Green Chile Bluegrass Brunch, and much, much more.” (gothamist)

Opens Thursday, September 19th // Various venues // Free

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

9/20 Bloc Party, SummerStage Central Park
9/20 Orville Peck, Music Hall of Williamsburg
9/21 Josh Ritter, Beacon Theatre
9/21 Kermit Ruffins, Sony Hall
9/22 & 24 Lizzo, Radio City Music Hall
9/22 Cat Power, Webster Hall
9/23 Nick Cave, The Town Hall
9/24 Jade Bird, Webster Hall
9/24 Brittany Howard, Beacon Theatre
9/24 The B-52s, SummerStage Central Park
9/24 Tegan and Sara, The Murmrr
9/25 Janelle Monae, The Rooftop at Pier 17
9/25 Michael Kiwanuka, Brooklyn Steel
9/25 Xavier Rudd, 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 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 and A WARNING. WE HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO SAVE THESE SPECIAL PLACES.
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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