Thursday, September 1, 2016

Report: $10 million expansion coming to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 2018


[EVG file photo]

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe will undergo a $10 million-plus renovation that will more than double capacity at its current East Third Street home, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Some details per the article:

The planned overhaul includes a gut renovation of the dilapidated upper portion of its building on East Third Street between Avenues B and C, which its founders bought for less than $8,000 back in 1981. The three top floors, now used for storage, will be converted into performance, classroom and administrative space.

And!

Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and last for at least a year. The cafe would close during that time, though [executive director Daniel] Gallant said the organization plans to continue slam-poetry events and other core programs at other venues in the neighborhood and beyond.

New York City has allocated $10.9 million for the project through the city council, the Mayor’s office, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Manhattan Borough President’s office.

Here's a look at the plans via Rice + Lipka Architects ...


[Click to go big]

The expansion has been a long time coming. The Journal reported in December 2010 that the Cafe "is in the process of expanding its three upper floors with the help of a $500,000 grant received from the city."

Puerto Rican writer and poet Miguel Algarín founded Nuyorican in 1973 as a living room salon. As the Journal notes, the cafe has an annual budget near the $1 million mark via ticket and drink sales (the poetry slams on Friday nights remain a popular draw), space rentals and off-site bookings.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

He who pays the Piper ...

Anonymous said...

This is great. Hope the expanded Nuyorican brings a longer life and expanded capabilities to the downtown art/poetry/writing scene.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm impressed that something positive can happen downtown!

Anonymous said...

I don't quite see where the education and administratives spaces are going to be, other than the small office on the fourth floor?

Also, I wonder what educational programs they are planning.

Anyway, great news--nice to hear about an arts/poetry space expanding instead of closing or moving!

RRReality1 said...

Let's hope being closed for renovation for one year doesn't turn into more than five years like the last time the building closed in the early 80's, not to reopen until '89. And let's hope all the changes don't water down, monoculturize and Disneyfy the organization and the place. Let's hope being closed for one year doesn't result in the loss of the tremendous momentum the organization currently enjoys by way of full house events week after week, or that the young population of poets that stoke its operations now don't disperse to a degree they do not refocus in the new building once it is done. For being the Nuyorican - New York Puerto Rican- Poets Café, the governance still has a bit of a problem with diversity among its constituent members. There is a history of conflict among its directors about what is the best direction for the organization, which could get intensified by this major change.

mrnickcooper said...

10 million for an expansion? 20 years ago that could've been an endowment

Anonymous said...

NYC is a city for millionaires. The rest of us are fucked. Quite literally.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of money. Open an all ages live music venue instead.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:31. Somehow that news doesn't come as a surprise!

John Zorn said...

Anonymous 7:47 -- There is already an all-ages music venue, on Avenue C and East 2nd Street, called The Stone.

deva said...

To John Zorn at 9:48AM - I don't know how I've missed this so thanks so much for posting that. The Stone is just what I like - can't wait to check it out!

Anonymous said...

The Stone is a good venue for experimental and unusual music. I used to go more when it was $10 instead of $20 for an hour show.

Anonymous said...

9:48pm Really? All ages in policy, ok, but not in what they book.

It's not a real all ages venue until it books hardcore punk shows since hardcore punk birthed the concept of the all ages venue.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:34 -- "All ages" does not mean myopic musical tastes. And hard-core certainly did not start the idea of "all ages" shows. Early rock-n-roll shows were for all ages.