NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/18) + 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.”


Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do This:

4th Mediterranean Jazz Festival (Jan.18-19)
DROM / 6:30PM, $20+
“The Mediterranean Jazz Festival takes you on a musical tour of the region with performers from all over the globe. Multi-instrumentalist Adam Maalouf takes the stage along with the a capella Bulgarian Voices Trio of Vlada Tomova, Valentina Kvasova, and Shelley Thomas; jazz pianist Angelo di Loreto; and Catalan clarinetist and singer Carola Ortiz. Now in its 4th year, the festival continues to give a platform to global artists worth discovering right here in New York City.” (thrillist)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> The Smithereens
>> Jazz Age bash
>> Zlatne Uste Golden Festival
>> Jane Dickson and Scott Dougan Discuss The Deuce and Times Square
>> Barrel-Aged Beer Festival
>> Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival
You may want to look at previous days posts for events that continue through today.


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

The Smithereens rock on with Marshall Crenshaw
“They might frequently bill themselves as Jersey guys, but to rock, punk and alt fans around the world The Smithereens are legends. They lost their original lead singer Pat DiNizio in 2017, but have stayed active on the concert scene with a hand from guest vocalists who have been rocking on the scene for as long as they have. For their next show, the band will be fronted by Marshall Crenshaw, center, the acclaimed musician best remembered for the new wave-leaning 1982 hit “Someday, Someway.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Jan. 18, Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St., Manhattan
INFO $39.50-$90.01; 800-830-3976,

The ’20s are ready to roar at this Jazz Age bash
“This special edition of the New-York Historical Society’s “History After Dark” series is perfectly timed as we enter the 2020s. Travel back a century ago to the party personality of the 1920s and feel free to come dressed in Jazz Age-themed duds and dance to music of Dandy Wellington and his band. Guests can check out an open bar, pose in a photo booth and dance the night away. As a bonus, there will be a voting registration table.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE 7-10 p.m. Jan. 18, 170 Central Park W., Manhattan
INFO $25 (ages 21 and over); 212-873-3400,

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival (Jan.17-18)
@ The Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., Bklyn / 6PM, $35-$55
“Bask in Balkan beats at the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, which has been going strong for a whopping 35 years. Dance yourself silly to more than 60 bands on five stages over two days, like polyphonic Ukrainian folk singers Murmurosi, Macedonian group Gogofski, Armenian trio Zulal, Bulgarian a cappella group Yasna Voices, klezmer band Tsibele, traditional Anatolian singers Ta Aïdhonia, Greek brass band Kavala, Turkish pop musicians Wind of Anatolia, and many more. There will also be a Charshiya Balkan market filled with craftspeople and artisans, as well as all-you-can-eat Balkan meze and drinks all night long to fuel you up for more dancing.” (Gothamist)

at the Joyce Theater / 2PM, +8PM, $35+
“After a brief, recent visit to New York for Fall for Dance, this South African choreographer returns for an evening of his own as part of Prototype, the opera-theater festival. His contribution, “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro,” is a shadowy production set in a graveyard and inspired by the Zakes Mda novel “Cion,” which juxtaposes the story of a professional mourner from South Africa and the legacy of slavery in the United States. What qualifies this show for an opera celebration are the Isicathamiya singers, performing an a cappella style that originated among South African Zulus. The singers deliver a haunting rendition of Ravel’s illustrious score to accompany Maqoma’s grounded, gripping movement.” (NYT-)


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

Jane Dickson and Scott Dougan Discuss The Deuce and Times Square
Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, 6 E. 1st St./ 7PM, FREE
“Join Jane Dickson and Scott Dougan, production designer of the HBO series The Deuce, for a conversation about what it means to capture the essence of a particularly infamous time and place in the city—and why we find these visions of New York’s gritty and not-so-distant past so alluring today.” (ThoughtGallery)

Elsewhere, but these two outer borough drinking events look worth the detour:

Barrel-Aged Beer Festival
Get to know barrel-aged beers
Gun Hill Brewing Company / GA tickets are $65; tickets includes souvenir tasting glass, 4-pack of barley wine, and unlimited samples
“The Bronx’s Gun Hill Brewing Company is hosting a Barrel-Aged Beer Festival, where you can taste a range of beers from breweries all over the East Coast. Sip beer aged in rum barrels, sauvignon blanc barrels, and even Kentucky bourbon barrels to discern the flavors and aromas the wood imparts to the beer. This beer-making trend is still pretty new, but it’s growing quickly — and that’s good news for barrel owners and beer drinkers who want to get in on the hot new thing.” (thrilist)

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival
@ Brooklyn Expo Center / 12PM, $59–$99
“After nearly a decade in Manhattan, the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival is coming to Brooklyn. With 16 breweries, nine bourbon makers, and 10 pork purveyors, it’s hard to imagine anyone could leave hungry or thirsty. There will also be diversions and dares, like bacon-eating contests, Bourbon Bingo games, a “Beast Cage” serving up exotic meats like alligator and bison, and seminars with distillers, brewers, and pit masters from the deep South. When you need a break from stuffing your face, browse a marketplace of “brewerania” like sauces and BBQ accessories.” (gothamist)

Continuing Events

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.



1/16-19 Public Theater’s “Under The Radar” Festival
1/17-18 Umphrey’s McGee, Beacon Theatre
1/18 The Smithereens, Sony Hall
1/19 Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl
1/19 Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven, Sony Hall
1/21 Temples, Webster Hall
1/22 Rufus Wainwright, Alice Tully Hall, NYC
1/22 J Roddy Walston, The Bowery Ballroom
1/22 Toshi Reagon, Joe’s Pub

Fall Concerts (

David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway
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.”

♦ 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.


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.


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.”
“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.

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.

“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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 SUMMER 2020).
◊ Order before AUGUST 31, 2020 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.


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

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


NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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