NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/05) + 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:  “February 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:

Dee Dee Bridgewater (Feb. 5-9)
Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St./ 8 and 10:30 p.m.; $30-$45
“There’s little that the vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater can’t wrap her inclusive sensibilities around. On her most recent album, “Memphis . . . Yes, I’m Ready,” the venerated performer takes on R. & B. and gospel material associated with the Southern region she originally called home. True to form, the ever-game Bridgewater grabs this repertoire by the throat and doesn’t let go until it gleefully surrenders to her ardor.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>> RAVI COLTRANE
>> New York City Ballet
>> Le Nozze di Figaro
>> The Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
>> James Kaplan on Irving Berlin
>>“Real Fake: The Art, Life and Crimes of Elmyr de Hory”
>> Preet Bharara: Doing Justice

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

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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

RAVI COLTRANE (Feb. 4-9)
at Jazz Standard / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; $30
“Coltrane has released just one leadership album in the past decade, but he’s kept a busy and diverse itinerary as a bandleader in live scenarios. If recording devices have been running, there ought to be enough material by now for a boxed set of live recordings from his past 10 years, full of various bands and projects. The band this saxophonist will bring to New York in the coming week is new, and if the personnel is any indication it suggests an interest in tacking to the center of a certain musical tradition, with help from musicians whose hometowns all boast rich, nurturing jazz histories: the pianist Orrin Evans, from Philadelphia; the bassist Bob Hurst, from Detroit; and the drummer Jeff Watts, known as Tain, from Pittsburgh. (Allan Mednard, a New Yorker, will fill the drum chair from Tuesday to Feb. 6.)” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

New York City Ballet (through March 1)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 7:30PM, $35+
“The coming week brings a potpourri of programs: The “New Combinations” bill on Friday and Tuesday pairs Jerome Robbins’s “Opus 19/The Dreamer” (1979) with Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia” (2001), Justin Peck’s “Bright” and Alexei Ratmansky’s new work, “Voices.” The Saturday and Sunday matinees highlight collaborations between Balanchine and Stravinsky, while the performances on Saturday evening and Wednesday juxtapose Balanchine with Peck in two slightly different mixes. The program on Feb. 6 again includes Balanchine (“Haieff Divertimento” and “Episodes”) and Peck (the lovely “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes”) along with Robbins (“Concertino”).” (NYT-Brian Schaefer)

The Metropolitan Opera
Le Nozze di Figaro (next Feb.8, 8PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 7:30 PM, $30+
“Two outstanding casts—including sopranos Nadine Sierra, Anita Hartig, Susanna Phillips, and Hanna-Elisabeth Müller; mezzo-sopranos Gaëlle Arquez and Marianne Crebassa; baritone Mariusz Kwiecien; and bass-baritones Luca Pisaroni and Adam Plachetka—come together for Mozart’s scintillating class comedy. Antonello Manacorda and Cornelius Meister conduct Sir Richard Eyre’s fast-paced production.”

The Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
now in its 20th year of residency!
Birdland / 5:30PM, $20-$30
“Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. Legendary record producer George Avakian describes the band in this way:

“There has never been a band quite like this one. Most groups, past and present, stick to one style. Some current groups attempt to recreate early recordings in their entirety. These guys do neither. Inspired by divergent bands of the 1920s and 30s, you’ll hear them swing a variety of styles in music by a wide range of composers, always true to the joy and heart of the music.”

GD: No better music anywhere at this time of day. If you like New Orleans Jazz , you’ll love this group, they are the best.

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

James Kaplan on Irving Berlin
Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave./ 6:30PM, FREE
“Irving Berlin (1888–1989) has been called—by George Gershwin, among others—the greatest songwriter of the golden age of the American popular song. “Berlin has no place in American music,” legendary composer Jerome Kern wrote; “he is American music.” In a career that spanned an astonishing nine decades, Berlin wrote some fifteen hundred tunes, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.” From ragtime to the rock era, Berlin’s work has endured in the very fiber of American national identity.

Exploring the interplay of Berlin’s life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self‑made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. This fast‑paced, musically opinionated biography uncovers Berlin’s unique brilliance as a composer of music and lyrics. Masterfully written and psychologically penetrating, Kaplan’s book underscores Berlin’s continued relevance in American popular culture.”

“Real Fake: The Art, Life and Crimes of Elmyr de Hory”
The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park S./ 8PM, FREE
“Elmyr de Hory was one of the most notorious forgers. He is alleged to have painted thousands of “fakes,” many of which still hang in major museums and private collections worldwide. Having eluded prosecution from Interpol, Scotland Yard and other authorities, veteran filmmaker Jeff Oppenheim reopens the case in this investigative caper that sheds new light on the depth of Elmyr’s crimes.”

Preet Bharara: Doing Justice
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway / 7:30PM, $26+
“The one-time federal prosecutor and host of Stay Tuned with Preet joins us for the launch of the paperback of his New York Times-bestselling book, Doing Justice, an important overview of the way our justice system works, and why the rule of law is essential to our survival as a society.”


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

NYC Broadway Week (Jan.21-Feb.9)
“There’s nothing like live theater—and no place for it like Broadway. NYC Broadway Week invites you to experience the magic firsthand with 2-for-1 tickets to some of the most spectacular performances on stage right now.”

AND

NYC Must-See Week (Jan.21-Feb.9)
“It may be impossible to do it all in New York City—but trying is the fun part. During NYC Must-See Week, enjoy 2-for-1 tickets to many of the iconic experiences right in our backyard, including attractions, museums, tours and performing arts.”

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

2/4-5 Cold War Kids, Webster Hall

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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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