Making an invisible history visible.

In New York City, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and communities have profoundly influenced and contributed to the history and culture of the city and the entire country, yet the specific places associated with this history remain largely unknown.

The New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project is, for the first time, comprehensively documenting these sites in all five boroughs.

The next phase of the website will include a fully interactive map with more significant sites to explore!

Map of LGBT Historic Sites
Upcoming Event

The Upper West Side's LGBT History

Landmark West!
Macaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th Street
November 15, 2016

A Sampling of NYC’s LGBT Historic Sites

Below are examples of the types of existing sites that are included in the project, representing a range of eras and categories of significance throughout the five boroughs from the city’s founding to the year 2000.

Site types include theaters and performance venues, bars, clubs, and restaurants, residences of notable figures, LGBT rights and organizational sites, the AIDS epidemic, and community and public spaces. While this is a preliminary website, we are continuing to research sites and have already identified over 500. We plan to partner with organizations and archives as well as reach out to the public in order to identify sites that represent the histories of diverse LGBT communities in New York City. Please visit this website in the future to see our interactive map that will include all of the sites that we continue to uncover. You will soon be able to explore sites by location, significance, theme, and/or use.

The website will also periodically spotlight certain sites as well as significant dates in New York City LGBT history.

Activism and Politics
Hamilton Grange

Hamilton Grange

St. Nicholas Park, Manhattan

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton lived in this house, which was built for him and his family in 1802, until his death in 1804 (though it has since been relocated twice). In the book, Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendship (2006), author William E. Benemann states that there is considerable evidence that Hamilton and his closest friend John Laurens were “passionately in love and perhaps sexually involved with each other” during the Revolutionary War.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: Pre-1850

Literature
Walt Whitman House

Walt Whitman House

99 Ryerson Street, Brooklyn

Long-time Brooklyn resident Walt Whitman lived in this house when he finished the first edition of his epochal Leaves of Grass (1855), which was controversial for its sensuality (a later edition of which included his “Calamus” poems expressing male-male love). Although altered, this is one of only two known extant sites in New York City associated with the great American poet.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1850-1899

Visual Arts
Bethesda

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, Manhattan

Sculptor Emma Stebbins designed her Angel of the Waters masterpiece – the earliest public artwork by a woman in New York City – in the 1860s while living in Rome with her lover Charlotte Cushman, the leading star of the American and British stages. The couple was part of a circle of “female jolly bachelors” who were among the first generation of women to forge a career in the arts and to form same-sex relationships.

Site Type: Public Space
Era: 1850-1899

Commemorative
Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery

517 East 233rd Street, Bronx

Many notable LGBT figures are buried at Woodlawn, some of whom include leading suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, literary figure Countee Cullen, illustrator Joseph Leyendecker, theatrical agent Elisabeth Marbury, playwright Clyde Fitch, photographer George Platt Lynes, and sculptor Malvina Hoffman. Catt requested to be buried next to her partner and fellow suffragist Mary Garrett Hay, and their tombstone (shown above) reads, "Here lie two united in friendship for thirty eight years through constant service to a great cause."

Site Type: Public Space
Era: 1850-1899 to 1960s

Visual Arts
Alice Austen House

Alice Austen House

2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island

Pioneering female photographer Alice Austen grew up in her family’s “Clear Comfort” home where she later lived with schoolteacher Gertrude Tate, her partner of 50 years. Austen’s work includes early images of women embracing, in bed together, and dressed in male drag, all of which have since become iconic to the LGBT community.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1850-1899 to 1940s

Activism and Politics
Frank Kameny Childhood House

Frank Kameny Childhood House

103-11 115th Street, Queens

Renowned gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny lived in this duplex house as a child and later attended nearby Richmond Hill High School and Queens College in Flushing. Kameny, whose Washington, D.C. home is one of the few LGBT sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, became a chief strategist for the LGBT rights movement after he was fired by the federal government in 1957 because he was gay.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1920s

Sports, activism and politics
West Side Tennis Club

West Side Tennis Club

1 Tennis Place, Queens

Tennis superstars Bill Tilden, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova competed in the U.S. Open when it was located here from 1915 to 1977 (King and Navratilova have since become LGBT rights activists). In a huge victory for transgender rights, Renée Richards became the first trans woman to compete at the U.S. Open in 1977 after the New York Supreme Court ruled that the United States Tennis Association could not deny her entry for refusing to verify her gender through genetic testing.

Site Type: Entertainment Venue
Era: 1920s; 1960s to 1970s

Activism and Politics
Christine Jorgensen Childhood House

Christine Jorgensen Childhood House

2847 Dudley Avenue, Bronx

In late 1952, a sensationalist New York Daily News headline broke the story of the recent overseas sex reassignment surgery of Bronx native Christine Jorgensen, a trans woman who ultimately became a household name across the United States amidst post-World War II anxieties about gender and sexuality. As a result, Jorgensen – who returned to a media frenzy outside her family home here in 1953 – is credited with helping to introduce the word “transsexual” into the American vocabulary.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1920s to 1950s

Performing Arts
Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater

253 West 125th Street, Manhattan

This world-renowned theater featured nearly every leading African-American performer in a permanent variety show format from the 1930s to the ‘70s, including LGBT icons Alberta Hunter, "Moms" Mabley, Johnny Mathis, Little Richard, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billy Preston, Carolyn Franklin (Aretha's singer/songwriter sister), Clara Ward, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marie Knight, James Cleveland, Alex Bradford, and Luther Vandross. In the 1960s, the popular drag show Jewel Box Revue was often hosted by its sole woman, lesbian Stormé DeLarverie.

Site Type: Entertainment Venue
Era: 1930s to 1970s

Performing Arts
Billy Strayhorn and Aaron Bridgers Residence

Billy Strayhorn and Aaron Bridgers Residence

315 Convent Avenue, Manhattan

Jazz great Billy Strayhorn lived here with his lover, jazz pianist Aaron Bridgers, from 1939 to 1947, though Strayhorn stayed until 1950. During these years, the openly gay Strayhorn continued his music collaboration with jazz composer Duke Ellington, and wrote “Take the A Train”, “Lotus Blossom”, and “Lush Life” as well as most of the music for the musicals Beggar’s Holiday and Jump for Joy.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1940s

Activism and Politics
Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis Offices

Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis Offices

1133 Broadway, Manhattan

In the two decades leading up to the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis – both founded in California – were early “homophile” groups that in the conservative post-World War II era were considered quite radical for campaigning for the rights of gay men and lesbians to simply exist openly in society without fear of arrest or persecution. Among the most important issues they raised were the roles of government, religion, and psychiatry as agents of oppression; DOB New York chapter president Barbara Gittings called on libraries to be positive forces for change by offering appropriate books for young people grappling with their sexuality.

Site Type: Organization Location
Era: 1950s to 1960s

Performing Arts
Ethel Waters Residence

Ethel Waters Residence

190 New York Avenue, Brooklyn

Legendary blues, jazz, and gospel singer Ethel Waters lived on the second story of this house in the 1950s. Considered the first African-American female star of stage, screen, and television, Waters previously lived in Harlem where she was well known in lesbian circles of the 1920s.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1950s

Activism and Politics
Julius'

Julius’

159 West 10th Street, Manhattan

On April 21, 1966, a "Sip-In" was organized by members of the Mattachine Society, one of the country’s earliest gay rights organizations, to challenge the State Liquor Authority's discriminatory policy of revoking the licenses of bars that served known or suspected gay men and lesbians. The publicized event – at which they were refused service after intentionally revealing they were “homosexuals” – was one of the earliest pre-Stonewall public actions for LGBT rights as well as a big step forward in the eventual development of legitimate LGBT bars in New York City.

Site Type: Bars, Clubs, and Restaurants
Era: 1960s to 1990

Activism and Politics
Manford Family House

Manford Family House

33-23 171st Street, Queens

In 1972, Queens schoolteacher Jeanne Manford participated in the Christopher Street Liberation Day March (today’s Pride March) and publicly spoke out in support of her gay son Morty at a time when homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. That same year, Jeanne and her husband Jules founded the first support group for parents of gay children (now known nationally as PFLAG) and held meetings in this house.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1970s to 1990s

Literature, Activism and Politics
Audre Lorde and Frances Clayton House

Audre Lorde and Frances Clayton House

207 St. Paul’s Avenue, Staten Island

Acclaimed African-American lesbian feminist, writer, and activist Audre Lorde lived here with her partner, psychology professor Frances Clayton, and Lorde’s two children from 1972 to 1987. While here, Lorde published her autobiography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982), which mentions the Pony Stable Inn and the Bagatelle, two post-World War II lesbian bars in Greenwich Village that she had frequented.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1970s to 1980s

Activism and Politics
ACT UP Demonstration at the New York Stock Exchange

ACT UP Demonstration at the New York Stock Exchange

11 Wall Street, Manhattan

The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is a political action group that formed in Manhattan in 1987 to call attention to the AIDS crisis. In 1989, it held a demonstration at the New York Stock Exchange to protest the high price of AZT – the only approved AIDS drug – which was unaffordable to most HIV-positive people; the price was lowered several days later.

Site Type: Organization Location
Era: 1980s

Visual Arts
Keith Haring Studio and Foundation

Keith Haring Studio and Foundation

676 Broadway, Manhattan

The artist Keith Haring lived on the fifth floor of this building in the late 1980s when he was diagnosed with AIDS. While here, he painted the Carmine Street Swimming Pool Mural in the Village’s James J. Walker Park, opened Pop Shop on Lafayette Street, and established the Keith Haring Foundation, which continues to shape his artistic legacy in this location.

Site Type: Residence of Notable Figure
Era: 1980s

Commemorative
Julio Rivera Corner

Julio Rivera Corner

37th Avenue and 78th Street, Queens

This street sign – installed in 2000 – commemorates Julio Rivera, a 29-year-old Latino man who in July 1990 was murdered by three men in the nearby schoolyard because he was gay. The hate crime helped galvanize the Queens LGBT community into action, with openly gay current City Council Member Daniel Dromm founding the Queens LGBT Pride Parade in 1993 and the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens in 1994.

Site Type: Public Space
Era: 1990s