1. Why is the Nuyorican Poets Cafe a non-profit organization?
The Nuyorican is a tax-exempt non-profit organization (sometimes called a 501(c)3, because of the IRS tax code that governs non-profits) because it presents arts and educational programs that benefit New York City’s diverse communities of artists, spectators and students. The Cafe gratefully accepts donations from individuals and grants from public and private foundations; these contributions allow the Nuyorican to offer exciting events at very affordable ticket prices. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit our contribute page.
2. Does the Cafe serve food and drink?
We serve beverages but not food (except during special events like Banana Puddin’ Jazz, when – you guessed it – fresh banana pudding is available for all guests). You can order soda, beer, wine, coffee and bottled water at our bar. There are a number of restaurants in the neighborhood, if you want food before or after a show; we recommend Poco’s Resturant, Station B, Croxley Ales, Solo’s Pizza, Snack Dragon (Taco stand) and Café Cortadito (Cuban food), all of which are within a block or two of the Nuyorican. There are many other great restaurants nearby as well. Please note that the Cafe only serves drinks during events – if there’s nothing on our event calendar, we’re not open.
3. Can I buy tickets in advance? What time should I arrive at the Cafe for a show?
We sell advance tickets online for all of our events. It is best to arrive at least 15 minutes before performance time; for our Monday Night Open Mic, arrive by 8pm for sign up. For the Slam Open on Wednesday, arrive by 8:30 if you want to sign up for a performance slot, and for the Friday Night Poetry Slam (which can get VERY crowded), arrive between 8:45pm and 9pm if you want a seat.
4. For whom are events at the Nuyorican appropriate?
Everyone. There are no age restrictions at our events; to order beer or wine from our bar, of course, patrons must be at least 21 years of age and have valid ID (our bartenders are hard to fool), but events at the Nuyorican are open to (and frequently attended by) children, teenagers, adults and retired persons. Individuals in wheelchairs can access our performance venue via a wheelchair ramp. Please note that our spoken word events do sometimes include explicit language and can also get very crowded, so we encourage parents to exercise their best judgment when deciding whether to bring younger children – but that’s your call to make, not ours.
5. Can I get a discount if I bring a large group of spectators to a show at the Nuyorican?
We do provide some group discounts on a case-by-case basis. Keep in mind that our ticket prices ($5-$12 for most events) are extremely low by Manhattan standards, and we depend on ticket sales to cover many of our expenses, so we don’t offer many discounts. If you want to inquire about a group discount, call 212-780-9386.
6. Can I videotape or make audio recordings of events at the Cafe?
No; unless you have written permission from Nuyorican Poets Cafe management, you may not record any events at the Nuyorican or bring recording devices into the Cafe. We realize that posting videos of their own performances online is an important means of promotion for many artists, and that the internet is constantly redefining the relationship between live and recorded entertainment. But we also know of too many instances when the work of artists has been recorded and distributed (sometimes for profit) without their permission. Out of respect for our artists AND for the audiences who pay to see them perform live at the Nuyorican, we strictly forbid unauthorized recording of any events at the Cafe. If you would like to request permission to record an event at the Cafe, please call 212-780-9386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Can I advertise on your calendar, website or e-blasts?
The Nuyorican sells advertising space on its calendar, website and in its monthly e-blasts. Collectively, these materials are viewed by tens of thousands of arts-focused individuals each month. Advertising rates depend on the length of the promotion and the size of the ads involved; lower rates are available for small non-profit entities (please see our non-profit page for more details). To inquire about advertising with us, please contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 212-780-9386.
8. If I am a member of the press, whom should I contact regarding press passes, interviews, or any other inquiries?
For Press information, please contact Daniel Gallant, at email@example.com.
9. Can I rent the Cafe for an event?
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is available for rentals from time to time. Most often, we rent to other non-profit groups for evening benefit events; to school or educational groups for daytime events; to production companies for film or TV location shooting; for book launches or for other receptions. Rental rates are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the length of the event, the number of people expected to attend, the technical demands of the event and the number of our staff members who will be needed to work the event. We encourage prospective renters to look at these pictures of the Cafe’s interior and this list of the Cafe’s technical specifications and resources here. If you’re interested in renting the Cafe, please contact 212-780-9386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. How do I apply for jobs or internships at the Cafe?
The Nuyorican has a small staff but a large community of artists, consultants, volunteers and interns. We are always interested in hearing from potential volunteers and interns; please visit our internships page for detailed information about internships. We rarely have job openings, but we will be gradually expanding our staff over the next several years. We’ll look at resumes if you submit them, but we STRONGLY encourage job seekers to acquaint themselves with the Nuyorican’s programs and history before inquiring about employment. Resumes and letters of inquiry may be submitted to email@example.com.
11. How do I get to perform my poetry at the Nuyorican? How do I become a poetry slammer at the Nuyorican?
If you’re new to the slam poetry scene and want to learn more, begin by attending our Wednesday Night Open Slams and Friday Night Poetry Slams to meet our hosts and listen to other poets. You can learn about Poetry Slam in general, watch performances of poetry slammers at the Nuyorican, and learn the illustrious history of the Nuyorican Poetry Slam at the online poetry slam archive Verbs on Asphalt. You can also find resources and links to the National Poetry Slam organization on the MEDIA link of this site. Our slams are friendly and welcoming events, so feel free to ask questions and participate when you come.
To become a Nuyorican Poetry Slammer, you must first win a Wednesday Night Open Slam event; winning an Open Slam qualifies you to compete in the Nuyorican Friday Night Poetry Slam (Friday Night Poetry Slams are not Open Mics; in order to perform during Friday Slams, you must first have won a Wednesday Night Open). Poets who win on a Friday Night then compete in Semi-Final Slams during the year, which culminate with the Grand Slam Finale each spring. Our National Team emerges via a series of RunOffs at this point in the year.
12. What kind of Open Mic opportunities do you have for poets, spoken word artists and jazz musicians? how do I sign up for the open mic?
Our open mic events operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. Interested performers may line up at the venue 1 hour before doors open (e.g. 8pm for a 9pm show). When doors open, we pass out a sign up sheet and the first 25-30 performers receive slots. Open Mic Monday participants receive 5 minutes to perform; Wednesday Night Slam Open performers get approximately 3 minutes.
Our featured poets at the Friday Night Slams are advance-curated by the event's host; we do not allow the general public to perform at these events or accept outside submissions. However, we encourage Friday Slam attendees to stick around for the Open Room, a post-show open mic starting around 12:30am
14. How does the Nuyorican Poets Cafe fit into the history of Puerto Rican writers and poets?
The Nuyorican was originally founded in the 1970s by a pioneering group of Puerto Rican writers; that group included Miguel Algarin, Lucky Cienfuegos, Sandra Maria Esteves, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Rev. Pedro Pietri, Miguel Piñero and Bimbo Rivas. Some of these Founding Poets are still active at the Nuyorican today; they have helped established the Cafe as a landmark for countless other artists. Visit the History page for more details about these founders, and the many artists who followed in their footsteps.
15. Is the Nuyorican Poets Cafe only for Latino/Latina poets, Slam Poets or Spoken Word Artists?
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is a multi-cultural arts organization that serves an enormous community of diverse artists. The performers and spectators who frequent the Nuyorican hail from countless different backgrounds and locations. The current leaders of the Cafe continue to fulfill the original founders’ vision of inclusiveness and artistic excellence. We are proud of our roots and are guided by our heritage; artists are welcomed to the Cafe from every corner of the earth. Not for nothing did poet Allen Ginsberg call the Nuyorican Poets Cafe “the most integrated place on the planet”.
16. How can I perform or present my work at the Nuyorican?
We have a long tradition of providing performance opportunities for both rising and established artists, and we’re always on the lookout for new talent. If you’re a musician, theater artist, dancer, singer, hip-hop artist or a producer/presenter and you want to book a show or performance at the Nuyorican, we encourage you to first familiarize yourself with our programs by clicking HERE. If you are a slam poet/spoken word artist or a jazz artist looking for an opportunity to jam, please read the information about our Open Mic events above, see question 12.
Here are some general facts about how events are programmed at the Cafe:
We generally stage 2 events every night. Late-night slots on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are almost never available, but we often book outside artists for early evening slots (starting at 6 or 7PM on those nights).
We prefer to book night-time events that have a running time no shorter than 45 minutes and no longer than two hours. Rental events can sometimes run longer than two hours, as can daytime events.
When we book an event with outside artists, we usually charge $10-$15 for tickets and split the gross ticket income with the artists. Artists generally receive between 40 and 60 percent of the gross ticket income, depending on the type of event.
We require that outside artists make a deposit in order to secure an event date. This deposit is necessary because if an artist cancels an event at the last minute or does not attract any ticket-buyers, we can lose hundreds of dollars. The amount of the deposit is between $150 and $300 per event, depending on the length of the event. The deposit is refunded to the artist in full if the Nuyorican’s share of the ticket income from an event equals or exceeds the amount of the deposit (so if you give us a $200 deposit for an event at which we agree to split the income evenly, you’ll get back the deposit if the event grosses $400 or more; if the event grosses less than $400, you’ll still get your 50/50 cut of the door, but we’ll keep part of the deposit, in order to make sure that we end up with enough money to pay our staff at the end of the night!)
We STRONGLY encourage any and all artists who perform at the Nuyorican to promote their events to their friends, fans, colleagues and press contacts. The Cafe sends its event listings to a wide mailing list, posts them online and distributes event calendars; however, we ALWAYS find that artists who do their own promotion attract many more spectators than artists who don’t. And we’re more likely to invite artists back who have promoted their events well then those who have depended solely on our promotional efforts.
To inquire about booking an event at the Cafe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to include links to a website, online videos or other examples of your work, and please include a brief artist bio. Please do NOT send large attachments.