Nuyorican Poets Cafe

236 E 3rd St

Founded circa 1973, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a living room salon in the East Village apartment of writer and poet, Miguel Algarin. Algarin, a college professor at the center of this blossoming arts community, was dedicated to bringing new wo... more

Founded circa 1973, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a living room salon in the East Village apartment of writer and poet, Miguel Algarin. Algarin, a college professor at the center of this blossoming arts community, was dedicated to bringing new work into the public eye. By 1975 it became clear that there were many poets and too much energy for Algarin's living room. William Morrow Inc. had just published an anthology titled “Nuyorican Poetry”. Miguel Piñero's “Short Eyes” had just won two awards as best play of the 1974 season. Poetry, the vital sign of a new culture, needed to be heard live. So Algarin rented an Irish bar, the Sunshine Cafe on East 6th Street, which was christened The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. By 1980, the overflow of audiences led the Cafe to purchase an “in rem” building at 236 East 3rd Street to expand its activities and programs. A non-profit organization, the Cafe has emerged as one of the country's most highly respected arts organizations and has become an acclaimed forum for innovative poetry, music, hip hop, video, visual arts, comedy and theatre. The mission of the Cafe is to create a multi-cultural venue that both nurtures artists and exhibits a va... more

Founded circa 1973, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a living room salon in the East Village apartment of writer and poet, Miguel Algarin. Algarin, a college professor at the center of this blossoming arts community, was dedicated to bringing new work into the public eye. By 1975 it became clear that there were many poets and too much energy for Algarin's living room. William Morrow Inc. had just published an anthology titled “Nuyorican Poetry”. Miguel Piñero's “Short Eyes” had just won two awards as best play of the 1974 season. Poetry, the vital sign of a new culture, needed to be heard live. So Algarin rented an Irish bar, the Sunshine Cafe on East 6th Street, which was christened The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. By 1980, the overflow of audiences led the Cafe to purchase an “in rem” building at 236 East 3rd Street to expand its activities and programs.

A non-profit organization, the Cafe has emerged as one of the country's most highly respected arts organizations and has become an acclaimed forum for innovative poetry, music, hip hop, video, visual arts, comedy and theatre.

The mission of the Cafe is to create a multi-cultural venue that both nurtures artists and exhibits a variety of artistic works. Without limitation, they are dedicated to providing a stage for the arts with access for the widest public.

The Cafe's purpose has always been to provide a stage for the artists traditionally under-represented in the mainstream media and culture; promoting their work while building an audience and providing an ongoing support system for them as they grow. The Nuyorican organization provides cultural programming to the whole of the East Village community. Their programming includes poetry and prose readings, theatrical and musical performances, and visual art exhibits. The weekly Poetry Slams are a hugely successful popularization of poetry conducted in mock epic contest judged by people selected at random from the audience. Their lesser known Theater Program has been awarded over 30 Audelco Awards and was honored with an OBIE Grant for excellence in theater. Theater events are held early evening from Thursday through Saturday with frequent Sunday matinees. The up and coming Latin Jazz Jam Session on Thursday nights fills the Cafe with its own special flavor and has been a weekly “Critics Choice” at New York Press for six consecutive years. Their Fifth Night Series has produced over 40 films from screenplay readings since its inception in January '94. Their Hip Hop events include an open mic and competitions for poets, freestylers and emcees, as well as collaborations for story tellers and jazz musicians – becoming a legendary hotbed for new talent. Finally, every month the comedy troupe, Nuyorican Rule, brings its humor on the urban, social, political and familial Latino experience to the Cafe.


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East Village Description

Nuyorican Poets Cafe is located in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Long before the musical "Rent" brought in legions of pierced, tattooed teenagers from every corner of America (and drove up the rents), the East Village was an eclectic mix of elderly Ukranians and Poles, Dominican and Puerto Rican families, and assorted artists, wanna-be bohemians, punks, their followers, lovers and friends. (Did we leave anyone out?) Largely gone are the heroin dealers, all night parties, punk music extravaganzas and infamous Bagel Tree of the 1980s and early 1990s, but the real landmarks remain, including the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Tompkins Square Park, and Cooper Union. The Public offers some of New York’s finest Off-Broadway Theater as well as Joe’s Pub, with a diverse variety of live shows. Beautiful Tompkins Square Park offers something for everyone, including dog runs, basketball courts, a weekly market, outdoor music events, and occasionally local characters chatting late into the night to infrequent riots. To be fair, few other parks in America have played such an important role in radical or anarchist history.

Many long-time residents complain of the neighborhood’s recent gentrification, and skyrocketing rents forced even legendary punk club CBGB's to exit the neighborhood, replaced by a John Varvatos boutique. And while there are truly many new restaurants and boutiques dotting Avenues A, B and C, lots of the famous watering holes, dives, and other unclassifiably scrappy bars remain. Some of our favorites include Mars on lower First Avenue, Zum Schneider on Avenue C, 2A on the corner of Second Street and Avenue A, and Lit Lounge, with its adjoining Fuse Gallery. Make sure to check out the Polish butcher stores on First Avenue and the nearby Italian pastry shops, walk along the Ukranian strip of Second Avenue, try one of the Japanese restaurants on East Ninth Street, and also walk along St. Marks Place, one of New York’s most eclectic streets.

East 4th Street's Theater Row boasts cultural buildings which house eight theaters and twelve dance companies as well as a couple of community development groups. Among its members are New York Theater Workshop, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, Rod Rodgers Dance Co., WOW Cafe Theatre, Millennium Film Workshop, Duo Multicultural Arts Center, Teatro Circulo, Downtown Art, Alpha Omega Dance Co., Choices Theater, Teatro IATI, Cooper Square Committee and Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association.

The Nuyorican Poets Café is still going strong on East Third Street between Avenues B and C. Since 1973 its mission has been to create a multi-cultural venue that provides a stage for artists traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream media and culture. Poetry slams, theater performances, open jam sessions for hip-hop, poetry and jazz, as well as unique screenplay readings all take place on a weekly basis in this intimate cultural setting.

For film buffs, we would be remiss not to mention the Anthology Film Archives on East 2nd Street, a local theater best known for consistently showing the finest in avant-garde and experimental cinema. We also recommend the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on East Houston Street, home away from home for those who enjoy great acoustics and the company of die hard independent film fans.

The East Village is also home to the trendy Cooper Square Hotel as well as the charming Gem Hotel, making it a great neighborhood to enjoy your stay in New York.

Info

236 E 3rd St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 505-8183
Website

Editorial Rating

Nearby Subway

  • to Delancey St
  • to Essex St -- 0.5

@NuyoricanPoets

Cyrus Aaron headlines our 9/20 Slam (
https://t.co/CboPtqNPji). Catch our poets at the Poetry Slam for Peace on 9/19…
https://t.co/2L0zihWdVO 20 Hours Ago

Narrated by @JohnLeguizamo, this virtual tour by @GVSHP and @googlearts highlights the Cafe and other important lan…
https://t.co/celaoKLWl7 Fri at 7:01 PM

“It takes time to understand yourself, to go inside yourself and to question. That’s self-expression.”--…
https://t.co/HAOS4tkNne Fri at 4:02 PM

“The single most revolutionary thing that you can do is recognize that you are enough.”[email protected]
https://t.co/CyQxPYfC0T Thu at 4:02 PM

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