6. Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, located at 236 East 3rd Street, is over a hundred years old and home to “groundbreaking works of poetry, music, theater and visual arts.” Daniel Gallant, Executive Director, shares some great history about the building. “The building later sat derelict for years, until it was purchased by La MaMa during the infancy of the off-off Broadway scene. In 1981, the building was sold to the organization that would become the Nuyorican Poets Cafe for $7,800.”

During its tenement years, the building held a ground-floor shop, in the space that is now used to stage poetry slams, plays and concerts. Brick fireplaces from the long-gone upper floor apartments are still visible. They’ll soon be renovating those upper floors (which held parties, rehearsals, and squatters in decades past, and are rumored to be haunted), in order to build a second performance space, office space and classroom space, as well as to remove some of the old fireplaces that have started to crumble. After the renovations, the upper floors will be able to accommodate thousands of artists, students and spectators each year.