Back in NYC when I was working in Chelsea… and living in BROOOOOKLYN, I frequented a spot called the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. NPC was founded in 1973 and began in a living room in the East Village apartment of writer and poet, Miguel Algarin. By 1975 it became clear that there were too many poets for Algarin’s living room. So Algarin rented an Irish bar on East 6th Street. By 1980, the overflow of audiences led the Cafe to purchase the building at 236 East 3rd Street to expand its activities and programs. To this day, Miguel still sits at the bar night after night. The regulars of NPC are lucky enough to witness the career births of The Roots, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, O.C., Company Flow, Mos Def, M.C. Search, Saul Williams and more…
I went back and it was like time stood still. I walked in and felt the same raw inspiration that I felt visiting SHU when I went for my interview to do Fine Arts just over 2 years ago.
If you ever get a chance, you should experience this historic venue for yourself.
On this particular night, the open mic consisted of a motley crew of poets and MCs. Color, age, style and sexuality were non-existent. It was all about the spoken word.
This young buck came in and made all the ladies in the house fall in love with him.
This young lady eventually won the evening’s open mic event. She was DEEP with her rhymes. The reincarnation of Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Crazy old dude from Europe came here to NY just to be on this stage. It was like a dream come true for him.
…Freestylin’ off the Blackberry…
The crazy cool curator Mahagony.
I struck gold when I was living in Brooklyn because I met a cool chick called Erin… Who is like my bestest New York friend now. She was new intown, a week before my very own arrival.
We were stoppin’ in this relatively big apartment in Williamsburg. It was a big flashy apartment but cramped with about 12 people in total. Which worked out that only really 6 of us living together… because of the 2 floors to it. The apartment itself was kind of cooky. We had to go through a Buhdist Yoga place to get to our stairwell. And it was an old industrialised building. and we lived right next door to American Apperal flagstore shop and this resturant/bar called Sea which loads of people went to because it was on Sex and the City and other movies. It was one night after a hard days work updating Postmasters website that i wondered home in the crazy humidity (im from the UK.. so any heat is always crazy hot) that I was just chillin’ on our balcony that over looked Manhattan and little indie retro white middle class kids diggin off daddy’s $$$ funds below on the street, when I was chattin’ to this Irish girl called Trudy. I was saying how I totally loved slam poetry and wanted to go 2 this NPC. And Erin… was like – yo dude me too!! And that’s were this love affair came from. Turns out Erin had just moved to NYC from a small town in Florida.. as she was an aspiring actress. Like me, I swapped stories of how I dreamed to make it as an artist… and the act of spending all my student loan on a plane ticket and some dodgy brooklyn apartment was in the hope of seeing whether i could try and figure the artworld out via a gallery .
I stopped with her in her new apartment (in brooklyn, crown heights) when I went bizack in September. This girl is amazing. We call her Erin “By any Means” Cadet.
Her writing talents are unbelievable. And I can’t wait to go back over to NYC so I can see my girl do her amazing thing on the NPC. Because Erin is going to make it, fo’ sho. I have my very own NPC star as a best friend… how cool is that?