Since the beginning, creatives, performers and entertainers alike have called New York City home. Nuyorican Poets Cafe is one of the city’s many cultural cornerstones that fosters this visionary environment. And now, it will shut down for three whole years to undergo $24 million worth of renovations.
Located on East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B, the cafe wasn’t always in this former tenement building. Before the founders purchased the space in 1981, Nuyorican Poets Cafe started in a humble East Village apartment living room nearly a decade prior. It was allegedly here that the action of snapping to applaud poets first began. It’s even one of our Secret NYC-approved local businesses!
“It’s the birthplace of a cultural movement, it’s something very meaningful to Puerto Ricans from Loisaida, from the Bronx, from everyone from that diaspora,” said local Councilmember Carlina Rivera.
The entire renovation project will take three years to complete. Once finished, art lovers can expect a new performance space on the first floor, an refurbished electrical and mechanical system, new elevators, a changing room in the basement and additional performance and office spaces on the higher floors, shared a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
The renovation is years in the making, as the cafe officially turns 50 this year. Supposedly, the cafe will host pop-ups and collaborations during the duration of the renovation.
To go out with a massive celebration and fundraising event, Nuyorican Poets Cafe will host a costume ball on October 31st.
“All these wonderful places are inviting us to bring the work, so it’s really not an ending at all. It’s the beginning of something totally new,” Caridad De La Luz, the cafe’s executive director, told The City. “In the long run if we want this place to keep going for the next 50 years it needs so much,” she said. “Pour some love back into the space for all it’s given to us and to prepare it for the next 50 years.”