A beloved 40-year-old cultural institution in the East Village is trying to bounce back after it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and a big fundraiser is being held this week to lend a hand in the recovery. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Poet Mahogany Browne hosts the popular Friday night Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on East 3rd Street between Avenues B and C. A group of poets, playwrights and musicians founded the non-profit arts center in 1973, to showcase their less traditional work.
"This place represents freedom of speech, it represents freedom of love and creative space," Browne said.
Browne will host a benefit Thursday Night at 11:30 p.m. at nearby Joe's Pub to raise money for the cafe, which lost its heating system during Hurricane Sandy. The place has stayed open with the help of some space heaters, but with colder weather coming a new system needs to be installed sooner than later. The cost is around $28,000.
"We're very worried that if we do not have functional heat, space heaters and the goodwill of our community alone are not going to be enough to keep us open when the real winter chill sets in especially if our pipes freeze we're very concerned about that danger," said Nuyorican Poets Cafe Executive Director Daniel Gallant.
The cafe also wants to continue its programs for young people which were also impacted by the storm.
"We had a number of programs including educational programs and literacy programs for students from underprivileged communities, programs that were cancelled due to the storm and we're trying to raise money and continue some of those programs and reschedule them for 2013," Browne noted.
Thursday night's fundraiser will be a perfect chance to see some of what happens at the cafe.
"They can expect a lot of laughter and fun and poetry and song and dance and a lot of music," Browne said.
For more information on the benefit at Joe's Pub or to find out other ways to help, visit nuyorican.org.