Nightlife & Bars

Nuyorican Poetry Cafe: A True New Yorker Experience In The East Village

June 23, 2016 | BTSNYC
Nightlife Bars Nuyorican Poets Cafe Façade

We recently went to the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe for a live poetry slam night and we were in complete “awe”! It’s definitely a true New Yorker experience you have to try.

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The Nuyorican Poetry Cafe is located in the East Village, close to East Houston Street.

The entrance of the place has some pretty awesome graffiti work on the walls and you’ll notice only a very local crowd hanging out there.

It was amazing to see the upcoming poets performing for the first time and definitely amusing to see the veteran poets rockin’ on stage!

Some of these veterans are the top Poets in the Country! They do mix poetry with music, uniting a great creative community in a dim lighted, beautiful brick walled, kinda dirty-cool space.

The space was founded by Miguel Algarin back in 1973. At that time, the magic happened inside his own living room, also in the East Village. Obviously, the neighborhood was very different back then.

Society was also very different and segregation was definitely more intense. There is a great group that is part of the founding artists behind the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

These guys were fantastic musicians of color, poets and some were playwrights. Their work was very unique and groundbreaking, but back then, it wasn’t accepted in the entertainment industry, as well as in other industries.

A bit over two years later, the space became small to host the rising number of artists eager to be part of this community. They expanded into an Iren Bar that was called Sunshine Cafe, but that lasted only another few years.

The space got small, once again, and they finally purchased and moved into their current location in 1981. They were able to bring in all the artists, expand the programs and the various activities they offered.

“Our Latin Jazz Jams on Thursday nights fill the space with stellar tunes by celebrated musicians. Our Hip Hop events include open mics and competitions for poets, freestylers and emcees, as well as collaborations for storytellers and jazz musicians.”

Nuyorican Poetry Cafe one of the most unique spots in the East Village and we are sure you’ll have a fantastic and enlightening time there!

For their full list of events, take a look online.

Last, but surely not least, at the door, ask for our dear friend Raul! He’s definitely THE guy to talk to and one of the responsible for making this place so special!

He also runs a special charity program called Latinos NYC, that collaborated once a month with Friends in Need. Check them out, if you’re interested in doing some service and using your time to help communities in need. We are always working with them on their feeding programs!

Get ready to immerse into a true New Yorker experience!

Hours: See online hours for specific night and shows.

Location: 236 East 3rd Street

Text: Excerpts from their website
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nuyorican Poetry Cafe
*Last Update on March/2020.*

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