The Nuyorican Poets Cafe

A multi-arts and multicultural institution

Nuyorican Poets Cafe Front at an angleNuyorican Poets Cafe

Since 1973, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe has presented groundbreaking works of poetry, music and theater by multicultural artists who exist outside the mainstream.

Mural outside Nuyorican Poets Cafe (2012-06-25) by EV GrieveNuyorican Poets Cafe

Murals by Chico and Joe Whippler adorn the front of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a spoken word mecca where slam poetry was popularized.

Front of the Nuyorican Poets CafeNuyorican Poets Cafe

Chico's mural features a portrait of Reverend Pedro Pietri, one of the Cafe's founders.

Lucky Cienfuegos, Miguel Algarín and Miguel Piñero by Jesús MurilloNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe began as an informal gathering of poets, playwrights and musicians - many of Puerto Rican heritage - whose work defied mainstream categorization.

Miguel Piñero - Seeking the Cause - YouTube, From the collection of: Nuyorican Poets Cafe
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Poet and playwright Miguel Piñero was among the Cafe's founding artists.

Miguel Piñero and Sandra María EstevesNuyorican Poets Cafe

Miguel Piñero and Sandra Maria Esteves, two major figures of the Nuyorican poetry movement, on the train in New York City in 1977. Photograph by Bolivar Arellano.

1990s Friday Night Slam at the Nuyorican 1 (1990 - 2003) by UnknownNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe purchased a former tenement building in 1981, and transformed it into a multi-arts performance space. In the 1990s, poetry slams became the Cafe's main attraction.

Vintage Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Slam AudienceNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe staged its first poetry slams in the late 1980s. During the 1990s, slam poetry exploded in popularity at the Cafe and across America.

Tonya Ingram & Venessa Marco - "Khaleesi"Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Poets selected for the Cafe's annual Slam Team sometimes perform group pieces, like this popular poem by Nuyo Slam Team members Tonya Ingram and Venessa Marco.

1998 National Slam Competion 1 (1998) by Artist UnknownNuyorican Poets Cafe

In 1998, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe's poetry slam team won the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.

Fifty Times - Ploylessness (for Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo...)Nuyorican Poets Cafe

At the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, performance poets often collaborate with musicians, as in this duet between poet and actor Craig "muMs" Grant and vocalist Aurora Barnes.

Wilson Chembo Corniel and Grupo Chaworo at The Nuyorican Cafe - Latin Jazz Alive n Kickin clipNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe has long been a home for Latin Jazz, as well as for poetry and other art forms. Grammy nominee Wilson Chembo Corniel is among the accomplished musicians who often perform at the Cafe.

"Spirit Dance" from DivaNations at the Nuyorican Poets CaféNuyorican Poets Cafe

Renowned Nuyorican Poet Sandra María Esteves collaborated with Latin Jazz greats Ibrahim González and Bobby Sanabria and dancer Mariyn Idaka Worrell in this 2010 workshop performance at the Cafe.

Ntozake Shange @ the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (2010-11-15)Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Playwright and poet Ntzoake Shange has been associated with the Cafe since its earliest days; her choreopoems resonate with the Cafe's multi-arts tradition. Here she reads from a new work at the Cafe.

Sarah Jones (as Bella) interviews Gloria Steinem at the Nuyorican Poets CafeNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe often works with artists who campaign for social justice. In 2013, Tony winner Sarah Jones (a Nuyorican Poets Cafe alumnus) interviewed activist Gloria Steinem after a show at the Cafe.

Banana Pudding Jazz / Patience Higgans & Lillias WhiteNuyorican Poets Cafe

Rome Neal's Banana Puddin' Jazz Jam brings acclaimed jazz artists to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. In this segment, Tony winner Lillias White performs with Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Quartet.

Miss Elie Sorbsel Feat Boots Riley, Les marionettistesNuyorican Poets Cafe

Boots Riley is among the many well-known hip hop artists who have performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He recently joined French musician Emilie Lesbros for a duet onstage at the Nuyorican.

Daily News: Nuyorican Cafe to Celebrate with Big Bash at Town Hall (2015 - 2015) by Miguel Algarin, Carmen Pietri-Diaz, and Daniel GallantNuyorican Poets Cafe

Miguel Algarin, former executive director Carmen Pietri-Diaz and current executive director Daniel Gallant outside the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Upstairs at the NuyoricanNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe's upper floors store archival materials (years ago, Alvin Ailey and Jean-Michel Basquiat hosted gatherings here). These floors will soon be renovated to provide additional performance space.

Image from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Poetry Slam by Nuyorican Poets CafeNuyorican Poets Cafe

A recent Friday Night Slam at the Cafe, hosted by Mahogany L. Browne.

Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Slam 2010sNuyorican Poets Cafe

Since the 1990s, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe's spoken word events have drawn crowds of young and diverse New Yorkers. Allen Ginsberg called the Cafe "the most integrated place on the planet."

Nuyorican Poets in Puerto Rican Day Parade (2012-06-12)Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Artists, staff and volunteers from the Cafe often participate in community events, such as New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Carlos Andrés Gómez and Savion Glover - YouTube (2008-05-01/2008-10-01) by Carlos Andrés Gómez and Savion GloverNuyorican Poets Cafe

The Cafe stages free concerts and poetry events outdoors every year. This video from BronxNet documents a 2015 Nuyorican Poets Cafe Summerstage performance in the Bronx.

During the Cafe's 35th anniversary celebration in 2008, poet Carlos Andrés Gómez teamed up with tap dancer Savion Glover to deliver a memorable performance.

Aja Monet - What I've Learned by Aja Monet, Cam Be and the Nuyorican Poets CafeNuyorican Poets Cafe

Aja Monet, the youngest poet to ever win the Cafe's annual Grand Slam championship, collaborated with the Cafe on this short poetic film.

Credits: Story

Exhibit curated by Daniel Gallant, with research and editorial assistance from Tarah Douglas and Chris Lopez.

Special thanks to Jason Quinones, Eliazar Anchicanoy, Anita Contini, the board of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, all of our artists and everyone at Google Cultural Institute.

For more details about the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, visit or follow us at and

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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