NYC Events,”Only the Best” (12/19) + 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:  “December 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:

David Broza
Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Ave. at 65th St./ 8PM, $45
“In 1977, the Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza débuted with his yearning peace song “Yihye Tov.” Considering the events that followed, it was perhaps not the most successful of peace anthems, yet he maintains a dogged optimism that can evoke Pete Seeger. Broza habitually collaborates with Palestinian musicians and other players from around the world. On his current tour he leads Trio Havana, lending his songs a Cuban twist whether delivered in Hebrew, English, or Spanish.” (Jay Ruttenberg, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  PAUL WINTER’S WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
>> McGill/McHale Trio
>> Rumberos del Callejón’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
>> The Magic Flute
>> Carmen Lundy
>> Handel’s Messiah
>> Winter Rhythms 2019

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

PAUL WINTER’S WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
“Enjoy a contemporary take on the ancient rituals of the winter solstice, when people gathered on the longest night of the year to welcome the return of the sun. International musicians and vocalists perform in this colossal cathedral with its extraordinary acoustics and seven-second reverberation. This year’s theatrical extravaganza, led by saxophonist, composer and bandleader Paul Winter, highlights the natural world and includes the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-20 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave.
INFO 866-811-4111, solsticeconcert.com

McGill/McHale Trio
Family affair.
92nd Street Y / 7:30PM, $35
“The superstar of the clarinet, Anthony McGill (whose main gig is principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic) teams up with his flutist brother Demarre and pianist Michael McHale for a concert of shorts including a new piece, For Anton Vishio, by Tyshawn Sorey.” (J.D.-NYMagazine)

¡VAYA! 63
Rumberos del Callejón’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Founded in Venezuela by bandleader Carlos Padron, Rumberos del Callejón is a project created by the Padron family that blends classical and new salsa to perfection. After a decade which produced three albums (with a fourth in progress), this outstanding group remains fiercely dedicated to making great music for salsa lovers worldwide and taking their musical project to the next level. Rumberos del Callejón invites you to join them at the Atrium for a night of dance in celebration of ten years of unstoppable, delirious rhythms.”

The Metropolitan Opera
The Magic Flute (next Dec.21, 1PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 3PM, $200+
“A beloved holiday tradition continues as Mozart’s delightful fairy tale returns in the Met’s abridged, English-language version for families, perfect for younger audiences, with no intermission and a running time of less than two hours. Lothar Koenigs conducts a dynamic cast of standout Mozarteans in Julie Taymor’s magical production, an enduring Met classic with its eye-popping puppetry and stunning visuals.”

Carmen Lundy (Dec.19-22)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
Although Carmen Lundy was right on the cusp of the jazz-vocal renaissance of the early nineties, fame somehow eluded the accomplished and versatile singer. A model of persistence, Lundy has soldiered on with ever greater self-possession; her recordings, including the recent “Modern Ancestors,” resound with musical assurance—she composes much of her material—and outspoken political fervor.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Handel’s Messiah (Dec.17-21)
David Geffen Hall (at Lincoln Center) / 7:30PM, $31+
“Give in to the holiday spirit when British conductor Harry Bicket oversees some of the best choral music on earth in David Geffen Hall. Prepare for your soul to be soothed.” (TONY)

Winter Rhythms 2019 (Dec.12-21)
Urban Stages / 7PM, +9PM, $30
“The 11th annual edition of Urban Stages’s cabaret festival comprises 20 shows, with artists including Karen Akers, Sue Matsuki, Carly Ozard, Meg Flather, Sally Darling, Sean Harkness, Lina Koutrakos and Marcus Simeone.” (TONY)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS

More smart stuff coming soon.


Continuing Events

NYC holiday markets – five to explore.  (Newsday)

HOLIDAY SHOPS AT BRYANT PARK

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 31-Jan. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 40th Street and Sixth Avenue
INFO bryantpark.org/eat-drink/holiday-shops

UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Union Square Park’s southern side
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

COLUMBUS CIRCLE HOLIDAY MARKET

WHEN | WHERE Dec. 4-24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, 59th Street and Central Park West
INFO urbanspacenyc.com

GRAND CENTRAL HOLIDAY FAIR

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 18-Dec. 24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (closed Thanksgiving; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve), Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St.
INFO grandcentralterminal.com

GRAND BAZAAR NYC

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 100 W. 77th St.
INFO grandbazaarnyc.org

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Holiday windows in NYC you won’t want to miss

“‘Tis the season! As Thanksgiving draws near, New York City’s department stores are unveiling their holiday windows. Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, American Girl and others are each putting their festive foot forward for the holidays.” (amNY)

Here is the extensive Holiday Windows rundown from amNY.

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GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER
NEW YORK CITY BALLET (THRU Jan.5)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center/ TODAY: 2PM, +8PM,; $95+
“’Twas the day after Thanksgiving and all through the land, ballet companies began trotting out productions of “The Nutcracker,” a holiday dance tradition most grand. And in New York, the grandest among them is City Ballet’s, formally known as “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” which has been performed since 1954. That title rightly emphasizes this version’s secret weapon: Act II’s glorious choreography, particularly the breathtaking final pas de deux between the Sugarplum Fairy and her cavalier. Act I has its own virtuosic feat in the form of a supersize Christmas tree, which captures all the magic and wonder of this familiar tale.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

‘THE NUTCRACKER’ SIX WAYS

“The Waltz of the Snowflakes becomes a nor’easter this week with a deluge of “Nutcracker” productions around town. Among them are Dances Patrelle’s “The Yorkville Nutcracker,” set in 19th-century New York (Friday to Sunday, the Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College); New York Theater Ballet’s hourlong “Keith Michael’s the Nutcracker” (Friday to Sunday, Florence Gould Hall); a hip-hop infused “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” by Brooklyn Ballet (Saturday, Kings Theater); the wacky “Nut/Cracked” by the Bang Group (Dec. 19-21, the Flea Theater); a traditional staging by National Ballet Theater of Odessa (Saturday, New Jersey Performing Arts Center); and, of course, the splendid “George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker” by New York City Ballet (David H. Koch Theater, through Jan. 5). ” (NYT)
dancespatrelle.org
nytb.org
brooklynballet.org
thebanggroup.com
njpac.org

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COMING SOON (WFUV

12/19 Jesse Malin, Bowery Ballroom
12/19 Paul Winter’s 40th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration, Church of St. John the Divine
12/20-21 Rebirth Brass Band, Brooklyn Bowl
12/21 Cee Lo Green – Holiday Hits Tour, Sony Hall
12/21 Marcus King Band, Beacon Theatre
12/22-25 Yo La Tengo – 8 Nights of Hanukkah, Bowery Ballroom

Fall Concerts (nycgo.com)

David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway
October 4­, 2019–January 19, 2020
Hudson Theatre
“The Talking Heads frontman hits Broadway with a show based on his latest album—but you can expect some old favorites as well.”

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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 SPRING 2020).
◊ Order before MAY. 31, 2020 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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Bonus NYC Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St., thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
and one more, not quite WestSide
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com

For a comprehensive list of the best places to hear All Types of Live Music in Manhattan see the tab above “LiveMusic.”

In Memoriam:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. caffevivaldi.com, 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.
Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

I MEMORIALIZE THIS WONDERFUL CLUB AS A WARNING.
WE HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO SAVE THESE SPECIAL PLACES.

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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