NYC Events,”Only the Best” (09/26) + 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:

MARC RIBOT
at the Iridium / 8 p.m.; $32.50
“Irritation befits Ribot, a restless gadfly of a guitarist, who has become one of downtown New York’s most esteemed elders. His instrument has always writhed with distorted fury, and recently he’s begun pointing it more squarely at the political discontents of his era. His most recent album is titled “Songs of Resistance, 1942-2018,” boasting guest appearances from some of his best-known collaborators: Tom Waits, Meshell Ndegeocello, Steve Earle and others. At the Iridium, Ribot appears in a small group, with the organist Greg Lewis and the drummers Nasheet Waits (on Wednesday) and Chad Taylor (on Thursday).” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)

>> Jazztopad Festival Featuring Amir ElSaffar with Ksawery Wójciński, Wacław Zimpel, and the Lutosławski Quartet
>> LONG BEARD
>>Andrea McArdle and Donna McKechnie Celebrate Sondheim & Hamlisch
>> Arca
>> AYODELE CASEL AND ARTURO O’FARRILL
>> New York City Ballet
>> The Affordable Art Fair

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Art

Jazztopad Festival Featuring Amir ElSaffar with Ksawery Wójciński, Wacław Zimpel, and the Lutosławski Quartet
Opening set by Wacław Zimpel
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Explore the newest music in today’s jazz scene at the renowned Polish jazz festival, Jazztopad Festival. Tonight’s performance will feature an original work by Amir ElSaffar, an Atrium alum and classically trained trumpet player who developed his artistic language by combining jazz with the aesthetics derived from traditional music of the Middle East. ElSaffar’s new piece “Ahwaal”—or “states of consciousness,” an important concept in Sufism—fuses the microtonal resonances of Iraqi maqam with a subtle nod to Beethoven’s late quartets. For this special engagement, ElSaffar is joined by Polish artists Ksawery Wójciński, Wacław Zimpel, and the Lutosławski Quartet. The night will open with a solo electronic set by multi-award winner Wacław Zimpel.”

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
LONG BEARD
at Baby’s All Right / 6:30 p.m.; $12
“Leslie Bear’s musical path has not been a direct one: After graduating from college, the New Jersey native, who performs under the moniker Long Beard, released her debut album, then took a job as a computer programmer instead of taking to the road. Four years and a turn as Japanese Breakfast’s touring bassist later, Bear has just put out her sophomore album, “Means to Me.” Produced with Japanese Breakfast’s Craig Hendrix, it’s an ambling and inviting set of dream-pop tunes that examine ideas about home, growing up and growing apart.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

Andrea McArdle and Donna McKechnie Celebrate Sondheim & Hamlisch (Sept. 26-28)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $50+
“After a brilliant career as one of the all-time great Broadway dancers, McKechnie has refocused her energies on singing; McArdle has a performanent place in our hearts for her performance as the big-belting moppet in Annie. Now the two troupers team up for a salute to Stephen Sondheim and Marvin Hamlisch. Expect songs from Company and A Chorus Line—McKechnie was in the original casts of both—as well as Follies, A Little Night Music, They’re Playing Our Song and more.” (TONY)

Arca (Sept. 25-28)
The Shed, 545 W. 30th St./ 8PM, $47
“The Venezuelan singer-songwriter, producer, and performance artist Arca defies easy description; she has shaped her career around the experimental and the enigmatic, transforming with each new release (the latest of which was her self-titled album, from 2017). Here, she presents “Mutant;Faith,” an immersive four-part residency offering a unique experience every night. She débuts some of her latest work, and, with assistance from a team of artistic disruptors—including the d.j. Total Freedom and the interaction designer Daito Manabe—she continues probing the boundaries of art, technology, and sound.” (Briana Younger, NewYorker)

AYODELE CASEL AND ARTURO O’FARRILL (through Sept. 29).
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $
“O’Farrill, a jazz pianist and composer who has won multiple Grammys, is celebrated for his performances of, and contributions to, Afro-Latin music. Casel — “a spectacular tap artist,” according to The New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas — also draws from her African-American and Puerto Rican roots in her dancing. Given their shared cultural background and artistic focus, the two are a natural team. Their collaboration, which debuts at the Joyce on Tuesday and features live music and a squad of stellar dancers, explores the relationship between tap, jazz and Afro-Latin culture through various musical and dance styles.” (NYT)

New York City Ballet (thru Oct.13)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 3PM, $35
“Performances of Balanchine’s treasured triptych “Jewels” continue on Friday and Saturday, followed on Sunday and Tuesday by a program pairing Mr. B with the acclaimed British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Wednesday brings an all-Balanchine program of “Valse Fantaisie,” “Kammermusik No. 2” and “Union Jack.” On Thursday, City Ballet hosts its eighth Fall Fashion Gala, which features new works from the principal dancer Lauren Lovette and the former soloist Edwaard Liang, and costumes by Zac Posen and Anna Sui. Rounding out the evening is the Balanchine classic “Symphony in C.” (NYT)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

The Affordable Art Fair (Sept. 26-29)
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St./ 12-6PM, $18
“When you visit Affordable Art Fair NYC you’ll find an inspiring and friendly atmosphere where you can browse thousands of original contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints showcased by 74 local, national and international galleries. With contemporary artwork by over 400 established artists and rising stars, and price points ranging from $100-$10,000 – there is something to suit every taste and wallet whether you are a first-time art buyer or a seasoned collector” (cityguide)


Continuing Events

HARLEM COMEDY FESTIVAL (Sept. 22-29)
at various locations
“There’s more to stand-up in Harlem than the long-running amateur night at the Apollo Theater, as this celebration aims to demonstrate in the coming week at places such as Under Bar and the Chipped Cup. The preliminary rounds of the festival’s contest for aspiring stand-ups will be held from Monday to Wednesday, culminating with the finale on Sept. 29 at Harlem Nights. Other shows, meanwhile, will feature proven headliners such as Tony Woods.” (NYT-Sean L. McCarthy)

New York Oyster Week (thru Sept.29)
Multiple venues
“Whether you love to slurp them straight out of the shell or just happen to appreciate their role in the ocean’s ecosystem, Oyster Week has an event for you. The week kicks off with a fundraiser for the Billion Oyster Project and their plan to replenish the oyster population in New York harbor by 2035 at Pier A Harbor House, mingle with oyster experts while tasting signature bites and enjoying premium cocktails. Other events include a SHUCKeasy pairing oysters with cocktails, a rare showcase of Mexican oysters and Oystoberfest with all-you-can-drink Radeberger beer.” (TONY)

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

9/26 Brian Wilson & The Zombies, Beacon Theatre
9/26 UB40, Sony Hall
9/27 Graham Nash, Town Hall
9/27-28, 10/1-2,4 Tedeschi Trucks Band, Beacon Theatre
9/28 “Live From Here” with Chris Thile, Town Hall
9/28 Joseph, Webster Hall
9/30 Debbie Harry, Town Hall
9/30-10/1 Built To Spill, Webster Hall
10/1-2 Maggie Rogers, Radio City Music Hall
10/2 Mason Jennings, Sony Hall
10/2 Built To Spill, 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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