NYC Events,”Only the Best” (02/23) + 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:

WOODY GUTHRIE CENTER PRESENTS ‘THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND’
at the Town Hall / 8 p.m.; $52
“Eighty years ago this month, Woody Guthrie penned his most enduring contribution to the American songbook: “This Land Is Your Land,” an ode of complicated patriotism whose indictment of economic inequality remains as resonant as ever. In honor of the anniversary, the Woody Guthrie Center has invited musicians who carry on the folk tradition to gather at this Midtown concert hall, located near the site of the song’s composition. Performers will include Jeff Tweedy, frontman of the Chicago alt-rock group Wilco, as well as the Grammy-nominated Americana musician John Fullbright and the incisive up-and-coming folk singer Haley Heynderickx.” (NYT-OLIVIA HORN)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>Così fan tutte
>>Eden Espinosa: Unplugged & Unplanned
>> Trio 3
>> New York City Ballet
>> BILL FRISELL
>> The Ancient Law: A Cine-Concert, With Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin

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
Così fan tutte (next Feb.27, 7:30PM)
Metropolitan Opera House / 3PM, $30+
“Coney Island once again comes to the stage of the Met with the first revival of Phelim McDermott’s popular staging inspired by the side shows of the boardwalk. The pairs of young lovers are a casting dream: soprano Nicole Car, mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi, tenor Ben Bliss, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, with the glorious bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the cynical Don Alfonso and the charming soprano Heidi Stober as the mischievous maid Despina. Harry Bicket conducts.”

Eden Espinosa: Unplugged & Unplanned
The Green Room 42 / 7PM, $27+
“The severely talented Broadway leading lady (Brooklyn, Wicked, Rent) brings her iron belt to the Green Room 42 for an intimate residency that promises songs from her two albums, pop and musical-theater favorites and even audience requests.” (TONY)

Trio 3 (Feb.20-23)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./
“The saxophonist Oliver Lake, the bassist Reggie Workman, and the drummer Andrew Cyrille—all veterans of a heady era when the basic conventions of jazz were morphing into challenging new forms—have now convened as Trio 3. For this engagement, they’re joined by Vijay Iyer, David Virelles, Marilyn Crispell, and Jason Moran, four of the most flexible and adventurous pianists working today, for an intergenerational meeting of aligned spirits.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

New York City Ballet (through March 1)
NYS Theater, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $78+
“Where would the art of ballet be without “Swan Lake”? Even this company, not known for its allegiance to evening-length story ballets, has a version (which it will perform Feb. 14-23). This staging dates back to 1996, when Peter Martins—the company’s former artistic director—created it for the Royal Danish Ballet. (A bit of trivia: the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky danced it when he was a member of the Danish company, in the nineties.) Three years later, Martins brought it to N.Y.C.B. The staging is swift and a bit dry, and it includes a second virtuoso male role, for a pesky jester who flits about the stage in great, flying leaps. It also includes some choreography by Balanchine, from a previous, one-act version. The abstract, color-coded designs are by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby.” (Marina Harss, NewYorker)

BILL FRISELL (Feb.18-23)
at the Blue Note / 8 and 10:30 p.m.; $20, $35
“Each of the ensembles Frisell has in store for this six-day run promises something rewarding. The challenge is deciding which to pick. For the first two nights, this folk-inflected experimental guitar hero will play in a trio with two of his frequent collaborators, the bassist Thomas Morgan and the drummer Kenny Wollesen. On Feb. 20-21, he will be in duet with the expert trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and from Feb. 22 to 23 he will present a quintet featuring Akinmusire, Wollesen, the saxophonist Greg Tardy and the bassist Tony Scherr.” (NYT-GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

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

The Ancient Law: A Cine-Concert, With Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin
Hirsch Hall, 251 West 100th St. / 3PM, FREE
“As part of our weekend focusing on the American Jewish Theater experience, please join us for The Ancient Law: A Cine-Concert, with Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin With an original live score composed and performed by renowned klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals and silent film music legend, pianist Donald Sosin.

Director E.A. DuPont’s 1923 silent film, The Ancient Law (Das Alte Gesetz) is about a rabbi’s son who runs away to become an actor and is disowned by his father. Digitally restored in 2017, it paints a complex portrait of the tension between tradition and modernity, and is an outstanding example of the creativity of Jewish filmmakers in 1920s Germany.”


Continuing Events

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope

Saturday, February 15, 2020 – Sunday, April 19, 2020

Experience Famed Designer Jeff Leatham’s Bold and Colorful Vision

“The dazzling floral creations of Jeff Leatham, famed artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris and floral designer to the stars, energize the 18th annual Orchid Show. Leatham’s bold and colorful vision unfolds through captivating installations and designs, transforming each gallery of the exhibition in the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a different color experience and visual effect, like the turn of a kaleidoscope.

Thousands of orchids provide bursts of forms and colors—in purples, reds, oranges, and hot pink—revealed through overhead arches, vine-inspired ribbons, mirrored sculpture, dramatic lighting, and other artistic embellishments.”

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COMING SOON (WFUV)

2/23 The Woody Guthrie Center Presents “This Land Is Your Land,” The Town Hall
2/23 Altan, Symphony Space
2/23 Ari Hest, City Vineyard
2/24 Black Lips, Music Hall of Williamsburg
2/24 Wolf Parade, Brooklyn Steel
2/25 Stone Temple Pilots, Gramercy Theatre
2/25 Rhys Lewis, Mercury Lounge
2/26 Tibet House Benefit Concert, Carnegie Hall
2/26 Natalie Merchant, Jazz At Lincoln Center
2/26 Glass Animals, Music Hall of Williamsburg

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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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