Cornelia Street Cafe

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The Cornelia Street Cafe 2009

The Cornelia Street Cafe, is a restaurant & bar on Cornelia Street in New York City's Greenwich Village, United States, opened in July 1977. It was the birthplace of the Monday night songwriter's workshop started by singer/songwriter/and then cafe waitress Carolyne Mas, in December 1977. The group became known as The Songwriter's Exchange, and released an album on Stash Records in 1980. The cafe was a venue in which songwriters like Suzanne Vega, the group's most famous alumna, perfected their craft. The Songwriter's Exchange, over time and under the guidance of Jack Hardy eventually evolved into the cooperative that formed the Fast Folk Musical Magazine.

Other regular contributors to the workshop included Carolyne Mas, Jack Hardy, Tom Intondi, David Massengill, Ray Korona, Cliff Eberhardt, Steven Brant, Lucy Kaplansky, Rod MacDonald, and Michael Fracasso.[citation needed]

Today, the Cornelia Street Cafe is a restaurant and nightclub, showcasing musicians, poets, writers, and artists. Author Robin Hirsch is one of the owners. Singer/songwriter/pianist Valerie Ghent now runs The Songwriter's Beat, the current incarnation of The Songwriter's Exchange. In 1998, the Cafe was one of the restaurants recognized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation with a Village Award presented to "Cornelia Street Restaurants".[1]

The Pink Pony open mic poetry series is held at the Cornelia Street Cafe, and Jackie Sheeler is the host. Spoken word and Poetry Slam artists are featured.

The treatment of performers at Cornelia Street Cafe by house management is inconsistent, and on some occasions, performers have been asked to prematurely end their set.[2]


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Coordinates: 40°43′53″N 74°00′09″W / 40.731348°N 74.002391°W / 40.731348; -74.002391