NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/12) + 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:  “January 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:

globalFEST
The Copacabana, 268 West 47th St./ 6PM, $50
“GlobalFEST was launched, in 2004, with the goal of exposing concert bookers—in town for a larger convention—to musicians from far-flung locales. One needn’t be an industry type to savor this annual showcase, which affords the musically curious a peek at a global bounty spread across three stages. From shamanic Korean folk-pop (the delightfully uncanny Ak Dan Gwang Chil) to Algerian psychedelia (Sofiane Saidi and Mazalda), all make a noisy case for porous borders in an age of closure.” (Jay Ruttenberg, NewYorker)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> La Bohème
>> 2019 DANCE NOW Festival
>> Philly Reunion
>> American Dance Platform
>> Simultaneous Chess Exhibition with Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik
>> The Politics of Preservation

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Metropolitan Opera
La Bohème (next Jan.17, 7:30PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 3PM, $30+
“Three casts of captivating artists bring Puccini’s classic tragedy of bohemian friends and lovers to life in Franco Zeffirelli’s immortal staging. Tenors Matthew Polenzani, Roberto Alagna, and Joseph Calleja trade off as the exuberant Rodolfo, alongside sopranos Ailyn Pérez, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Maria Agresta as the fragile Mimì. Marco Armiliato and Emmanuel Villaume share conducting duties.”

2019 DANCE NOW Festival
See the ten best dancers of 2019
Joe’s Pub / 4PM, $25
“The 2019 DANCE NOW Festival asked artists to create a five minute performance specifically for the stage at Joe’s Pub — and for 2020, they’ve brought their favorites back to perform. At this encore show, 10 of the festival’s top artists, including this year’s winner Nicole Vaughan-Diaz, are reprising their five-minute shows. Each performance is short and no two are alike, making it the ideal night of dance for those who don’t normally spring for a night out at the ballet.” (thrillist)

Philly Reunion (Jan. 9-12)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $30-$45
Philadelphia’s jazz heritage stretches deep into the music’s history—the fifties alone produced, among others, Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, and an up-and-comer named John Coltrane—and the friendly city continues to give rise to exceptional players. For this engagement, three nationally prominent natives—the bassist Christian McBride, the keyboardist Joey DeFrancesco, and the guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel—join a stalwart local treasure, the drummer Lil’ John Roberts, to investigate what makes contemporary Philly-sourced jazz so, well, funky.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

American Dance Platform (Jan. 7-12)
Joyce Theatre, 175 Eighth Ave. / 7:30PM, $ may be a tough ticket
“Early January is the season for dance showcases, timed to coincide with conferences for dance theatres from around the world who come to New York to find new work to present. For the general public, this offers a chance to consume a tasting menu of dance in a short period of time. This series at the Joyce is made up of four programs, each featuring two ensembles. Of particular note are the modern-dance troupe Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Jan. 7 and Jan. 12), the innovative and socially engaged ODC/Dance, from San Francisco (Jan. 9 and Jan. 11), and the excellent Brooklyn-based hip-hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement (Jan. 10-11), all showing recent work.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC EventS
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Simultaneous Chess Exhibition with Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave./ 2-5PM, $25 to play/$10 to observe
“After a sold-out simultaneous exhibition last year, Grandmaster chess champion Gennady Sagalchik returns to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan to take on challengers. The afternoon will begin with a presentation by Sagalchik on the history of the game and its current state; attendees are invited to play Sagalchik or simply watch the demonstration.” (ThoughtGallery)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:

The Politics of Preservation
MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave./ 3PM, $15
“President Trump’s recent threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites makes this afternoon gathering particularly timely. Medical anthropologist Omar Dewachi leads a panel discussion on the destruction of Iraqi heritage by allied forces and the ways culture is valued in times of war. A concert by renowned Iraqi maqam vocalist Hamid Al-Saadi will follow, presenting Arabic song with the ensemble Safaafir featuring Amir ElSaffar.” (ThoughtGallery)


Continuing Events

Winter Jazzfest
Various venues // Various prices
“Since 2009, the Winter Jazzfest has grown from a single evening to a multi-night, multi-venue, multi-disciplinary showcase of the cutting edge of jazz and its many stylistic subcategories, from hot swing to avant-garde to jazz-inflected world music. This year’s festival features more than 600 artists in 150 groups on 20 stages over 10 nights. There will be a British Jazz Showcase, a celebration of Detroit’s jazz history, plus talks, panels, and workshops focused on social justice, immigration, gender balance, and more. The fest also includes three all-night marathons at some 20 venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.”
(Jan.9-17)  (Gothamist) 

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (Jan.9-17)
“Ever watched a squash game in a train station? The 23rd annual J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (ToC) arrives in Grand Central Terminal, bringing together the world’s greatest squash stars for an exciting week of international competition and live spectator events. The matches are played beneath the iconic chandeliers in Vanderbilt Hall in a state-of-the-art glass squash court with stadium seating for 500 and a free standing room area for commuters and passersby. Gracing the courts with their talent will be all of the world’s top-ranking men’s and women’s players, representing 24 nations and six continents.” (cityguideny.com)

Prototype
Opera but make it fashion.
“Theater and opera aficionados know that January is the right time to get a hit of all the wildest, newest experiments in music-performance: The Prototype festival has been blowing minds for seven years. Even if you’re not typically an operagoer, you should dabble here. You like poetry? Try Ellen West, with a libretto by Frank Bidart. You like taiko drumming and puppetry? It’s got Ellen McLaughlin and Garrett Fisher’s Blood Moon. There’s even a confrontation between Zakes Mda’s novel Cion and Ravel’s Boléro by the South African choreographer Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, which should tick every single box a culture vulture’s got. ” (Helen Shaw, NYMag)
Various locations, January 9 to 19.

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

1/12 Red Molly, Birds of Chicago, Teddy Thompson, Bowery Ballroom
1/13 Nellie McKay, Joe’s Pub
1/13 Kevin Eubanks and Orrin Evans, (le) Poisson Rouge
1/14 On Your Radar with John Platt, Rockwood Music Hall
1/14-15 Hamilton Leithauser, Cafe Carlyle

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.”

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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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