NYC Events,”Only the Best” (01/30) + 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:

NY Philharmonic Open Rehearsal (next Thu. Dec.5)
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center / 9:45AM, $22
An Open Rehearsal is a fascinating opportunity to watch the New York Philharmonic at work, and see how a piece of music is shaped and polished by the conductor and the musicians. All Open Rehearsals are “working” rehearsals and therefore the program may not be played in its entirety.

Today: Britten and Elgar
The Philharmonic performs the Enigma Variations, Elgar’s crowning achievement, a portrayal of his social circle, disguised in irresistible tunes and “inside jokes,” with the heart of the work, the stirring Nimrod, often heard in commemoration of departed friends. Britten’s Four Sea Interludes reveal shimmering, haunting, and ferocious moods of the oceans.
Program to Include
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Brett Dean: Cello Concerto (New York Premiere)
Elgar: Enigma Variations
Simone Young, Conductor
Alban Gerhardt, Cello


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> “Transformation”
>> Complexions
>> Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber’s “Porgy & Bess The AstroBlack Trapfish Row Variations”
>> New York City Ballet
>> Unexpected Pairings: Katz’s Delicatessen & Teranga

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


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

“Transformation” (Jan.30-Feb.1)
Rose Theatre, Broadway at 60th St./ 8PM, $40+
“Glenn Close may be quite the versatile artist, but it’s still unexpected to find her performing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in a multimedia piece composed by Ted Nash, a Grammy-winning saxophone stalwart. Blending poetry (curated by Close), dance, and jazz, “Transformation” features guest appearances by John Cameron Mitchell, Amy Irving, and Justin Vivian Bond.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

Complexions (through Feb. 2)
at the Joyce Theater / 7:30PM, $45
“A terrific fall season at the Joyce Theatre seemed to augur a new era, free from deadweight repeat offenders, and yet here comes Complexions Contemporary Ballet for another two weeks. This season’s première, in the physically flexible, aesthetically rigid, vulgarly hyperactive company style, is “Love Rocks,” set to a collection of Lenny Kravitz recordings as heavy on recent let-love-rule pronouncements as old hits. “Bach 25,” from 2018, and last year’s “Woke” fill out the programs.” (Brian Seibert, NewYorker)

VIJAY IYER (Jan.29-Feb.1)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30
“Over the past dozen years or so, Iyer has established himself as one of jazz’s top pianists, composers and thought leaders. He not only plays in and writes for a rich array of ensembles, he is a faculty member at Harvard and a connective thinker who collaborates fruitfully with artists across media. But at the center of it all is his lulling, reflective piano style, which is as easy to love as it is imposing and conceptually advanced. That will be on unfettered display on Wednesday, when he performs solo; from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, he will be introducing a new trio, featuring Linda May Han Oh on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Gotham Early Music |
St. Bart’s Chapel, 325 Park Ave. / 1:15pm – 2:15pm; FREE
“Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS) in conjunction with The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation presents Midtown Concerts, a weekly series of 35-minute early music concerts in midtown Manhattan featuring soloists and ensembles from the U.S. and abroad.”

Free Weekly Series of Concerts of Early Music
Every Thursday at 1:15 pm in the Chapel
between September, 2019 – June, 2020

Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber’s “Porgy & Bess The AstroBlack Trapfish Row Variations”
Atrium @ Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, FREE
“Join Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber for the U.S. premiere of Porgy & Bess The AstroBlack Trapfish Row Variations–their “caramelization” of Gershwin’s gully but melancholic masterpiece. With overt nods to Miles Davis and Gil Evans’s brassy and melodious 1966 distillation of Porgy & Bess, Burnt Sugar’s varied arrangers and conductors turn a dub wise, samba-licious, and ska-inflected ear towards the twerk-inducing cadences of latter-day Southern hip-hop and the cosmic jungle music of 1970s Miles Davis.

Founded by Village Voice icon Greg Tate and co-led with Dayton, Ohio monster bassist Jared Michael Nickerson since 1999, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber is a sprawling band of musicians whose prodigious personnel allows them to freely juggle a wide swath of the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop spectrum.”

New York City Ballet (through March 1)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $78+
“The spotlight remains on George Balanchine, this company’s founding father, with more performances of “Allegro Brilliante,” “La Source” and “Firebird” (on Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Sunday’s matinee program, “Stravinsky & Balanchine,” highlights collaborations between the composer and the choreographer, including “Danses Concertantes” and “Stravinsky Violin Concerto.” The “New Combinations” bill on Jan. 30 pairs Jerome Robbins’s 1979 “Opus 19/The Dreamer” with Christopher Wheeldon’s 2001 “Polyphonia” and two newer dances: Justin Peck’s “Bright,” a brief ballet for six dancers that premiered last spring, and “Voices,” a new work by Alexei Ratmansky.” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)


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

Unexpected Pairings: Katz’s Delicatessen & Teranga
at the Museum of the City of New York / 6:30 PM, $25
“Pierre Thiam, co-founder and executive chef of the new West African comfort food spot Teranga (at The Africa Center), joins Jake Dell, owner of the famed NYC landmark Katz’s Delicatessen, for an exploration of the different meanings of comfort food and how they reflect the city’s diverse immigrant histories. New York Times food writer Julia Moskin moderates.” (untapped cities)

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.

A winter celebration with live entertainment, Bumper Cars on Ice, Cozy Igloos, and more!
Bryant Park
“Manhattan’s famed midtown oasis is hosting this 10-day celebration of offbeat things to do in cold weather, including riding in ice bumper cars, hanging out in artificial igloos and a kids scavenger hunt. Highlights include dueling pianos from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, a Cozy Sweater Pup Meetup (put Fido in his favorite sweater) at noon on Jan. 25 and a silent outdoor disco at 6 p.m. on Jan. 26.” (Newsday)
WHEN | WHERE Jan. 24-Feb. 2, 40th-42nd streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan I
NFO Free to enter, some events require tickets; 212-768-4242,



1/30 Seratones, Rough Trade
1/30-2/1 The Hot Sardines, Birdland
1/30-31 The Wood Brothers, Webster Hall
1/31 Nada Surf, Music Hall of Williamsburg
2/1 Grace Potter, Beacon Theatre
2/1 Drive-By Truckers, Rough Trade
2/1 Eaglemania & Tusk, St. George Theatre
2/2 Nada Surf, Bowery Ballroom
2/4-5 Cold War Kids, Webster Hall

♦ 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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