NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/24) + 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:

The Metropolitan Opera
Porgy and Bess (next Jan.28, 7:30PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30PM, $85+
(Has proved so popular that the Met has added three performances to this second run of the season.)
“One of America’s favorite operas returns to the Met for the first time in nearly 30 years. James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to Catfish Row on the Charleston waterfront, vibrant with the music, dancing, emotion, and heartbreak of its inhabitants. “If you’re going to stage Gershwin’s opera, this is how,” raved the Guardian when the new production premiered in London in 2018. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles and an all-star ensemble that includes Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Alfred Walker, and Ryan Speedo Green.”

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> JOE LOVANO AND DAVE DOUGLAS SOUND PRINTS
>> Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars
>> New York City Ballet
>> Andy Karl & Orfeh: Legally Bound
>> New York Times Travel Show
>> Lunar New Year
>> BroadwayCon 2020

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

JOE LOVANO AND DAVE DOUGLAS SOUND PRINTS (through Jan. 26)
at the Village Vanguard / 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $
“Two leading voices in jazz since the 1980s, the trumpeter Douglas and the saxophonist Lovano teamed up close to 10 years ago to establish this quintet, a fertile playground for their wily post-bop compositions. The group features Lawrence Fields on piano, Linda May Han Oh on bass and Joey Baron on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars (Jan.21-26)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30PM, $20-$35
“As a performer, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie left behind an incredible record of innovation and inspiration and as a composer, a broad repository of musical masterpieces.

For Dizzy Gillespie, playing in a small combo was never enough. His artistry compelled him to seek and to create larger ensembles because as a composer and arranger, a big band was the ultimate vehicle for self-expression.

The Dizzy Gillespie™ Big Band and Alumni All-Star group (small group) is the direct descendant of these ventures, and happily, the tradition lives on, nurtured by Gillespie alumni and executive director, producer, and bassist John Lee.”

New York City Ballet (through March 1)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $78+
“In the opening week of the winter season, the company goes back to basics with two alternating programs of ballets by its founding choreographer, George Balanchine. The first features four of his ballets set to music by Igor Stravinsky, from the strutting, high-spirited “Danses Concertantes” (originally from 1944, but rechoreographed in 1972) to the delicate and courtly “Monumentum pro Gesualdo” (1960). The second program offers more variety, and yet another ballet with music by Stravinsky: the 1949 piece “Firebird,” with ravishing costumes by Marc Chagall. (Try to catch Teresa Reichlen in the title role.) It also includes the seldom seen “La Source,” a pas de deux (plus corps) overflowing with refinement and charm, set to sunny music by Léo Delibes, the composer of such ballets as “Coppélia” and “Sylvia.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

Andy Karl & Orfeh: Legally Bound (Jan.23-25, 27)
Feinstein’s/54 Below / 7PM, $70+
“One of musical theater’s royal couples—power belter and blue-eyed-soul recording artist Orfeh (soon to be seen in Pretty Woman) and her charming husband, Rocky dreamboat Andy Karl (most recently of Groundhog Day)—share some of their love.” (TONY)

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

New York Times Travel Show (Jan.24-26)
Travel the world (or just the Javits Center)
Javits Center / $20 for a one-day pass; $25 for two-day pass
“Can’t wait to plan your next big trip? Head to the New York Times Travel Show, where you’ll find seminars — “So You Think You Know Paris?”, “Pack Like a Pro”, “How to Travel to Cuba in 2020” — and special onsite deals to Alaska, Africa, the Finger Lakes, and Chernobyl. If all that travel talk makes you a little peckish, the Taste of the World presentations let you try bites from all corners of the globe. With 747 exhibitors from over 176 countries, you’ll come away inspired, informed, and ready to pack your suitcase for a trip to the exclusion zone.” (thrillist)

Lunar New Year (Jan.24-25)
Celebrate the Year of the Rat
Tang Hotpot / dinner only: $75/person; $99/person includes 3 glasses of beer, wine, or sake
“Lunar New Year begins on Saturday, officially ushering in the Year of the Rat. In China, the New Year is celebrated with New Year’s Eve dinner (年夜饭 – Nián yèfàn), where the family gathers to eat and celebrate the coming spring. Traditional foods include dumplings, fish, and rice cakes (年糕 – nián gāo). At Tang Hotpot, you can join in the celebration — the $75 prix fixe includes a seafood platter, veggie dumplings, and rice balls with black sesame.” (thrillist)

BroadwayCon 2020
at the New York Hilton Midtown.
“It’s a three-day meet & greet fest with your favorite Broadway stars!” (cityguideny.com)


Continuing Events

NYC Restaurant Week (Jan.21—Feb.9)

A celebration of NYC’s most fabulous pastime: dining out. With hundreds of restaurants throughout the City rolling out special prix-fixe menus for a limited time, this is your chance to revel without a cause.

Restaurants offer a minimum of three choices for appetizers and three choices for entrées at lunch ($26). Restaurants offer a minimum of three choices for appetizers, three choices for entrées and at least two desserts at dinner ($42). Several restaurants may also offer drink specials, supplemental items and other à la carte options for an additional price.
2-course lunch $26 | 3-course dinner $42

The Winter Show  (Jan.24-Feb.2)

The Winter Show is the leading art, antiques, and design fair in America, featuring 72 of the world’s top experts in the fine and decorative arts.

Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory in New York City, the fair highlights a dynamic mix of works dating from ancient times through the present day and maintains the highest standards of quality in the art market. Each object at the fair is vetted for authenticity, date, and condition by a committee of 150 experts from the United States and Europe.

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

1/23-26 Toshi Reagon’s 36th Annual Birthday Concerts, Joe’s Pub
1/24 Greensky Bluegrass, Beacon Theatre
1/28 Jill Sobule, Joe’s Pub
1/28-29 Madison Cunningham, (le) Poisson Rouge
1/28-29 The Hot Sardines, Birdland

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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 SUMMER 2020).
◊ Order before AUGUST 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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