LOWER EAST SIDE (WABC) -- In 1973, in a living room in the East Village, a collection of Latino poets, playwrights and musicians founded an iconic New York institution. More than 40 years later, the Nuyorican Poets Café is still one of the hottest venues in the city.
"This is the soul of New York City," says open mic host Caridad de la Luz. "This is where the truth gets told."
This award-winning venue is a coveted stage for storytellers, emcees, musicians and competitive poetry slam competitions. Though initially founded for unsung Puerto Rican artists in the city, the scope of the art it showcases has expanded.
"It started with Latinos but it's part of the entire New York City history," says Erik Maldonado, a producer and host at the Nuyorican. "There were a lot of people in the community who weren't able to showcase their art. This gave them that space."
The Nuyorican Poets Café draws thousands each week for open mics and poetry slams.
"Even if you're not a connoisseur of the arts, everyone is welcome," Maldonado says.
"If you're looking for the positive energy, a place where you can authentically be yourself," de la Luz adds, "Come to the Nuyorian Poets Café."
To hear more amazing stories of community leaders in our area, join ABC7 in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.