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NYC Pride: 24 historic LGBTQ sites to visit

These NYC sites have played major roles in the history of the LGBTQ rights movement

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Each year, thousands of people descend on New York City for the Pride March, commemorating the uprising that erupted following a police raid at Stonewall Inn in 1969. But while well-known landmarks like the Stonewall Inn or The Center are a major part of the Pride festivities, there are lots of other historic sites throughout the city that played a part in the LGBTQ rights movement in the city.

And soon, there will be more markers commemorating the trailblazers of that movement: The city will build a monument to activists Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and six sites connected to New York’s LGBTQ history are were named New York City landmarks at the beginning of June.

Whether you're a local or just in town for the NYC Pride festivities, be sure to check out these historic sites. They recognize the efforts of the individuals that brought about changes for the LGBTQ community, celebrate their victories, and commemorate those who were lost in the struggle.

Editor’s Note: This map was originally published June 21, 2017.

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Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art

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The world's first museum dedicated to LGBTQ art, the Leslie Lohman Museum was founded as a non-profit organization in 1987 by Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman, who had collected work from LGBTQ artists for decades. Today, the Museum has a collection of more than 24,000 works, and has an archive that contains information on 1,900 LGBTQ artists. Its permanent collection includes work by Catherine Opie, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol. The museum reopened after a massive renovation in March 2017.

Via Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art

Gay Activist Alliance Firehouse

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This storefront at 99 Wooster Street was once the headquarters of the Gay Activist Alliance. It was managed by the Alliance's Firehouse Committee, which held several popular dances that helped raise money for the organization. The firehouse was used as the main meeting spot for the organization until it burned down in 1974; today, it's home to a Victorinox Swiss Army shop. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Via NYPL

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

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Housing Works was launched by a group of four activists in 1990 who wanted to address the needs of some of the most neglected populations in NYC: homeless people living with HIV and AIDS. They believed that stable housing was necessary for HIV-positive people to live fulfilling lives. Today, the organizations operate a handful of thrift stores across the city, and the bookstore cafe in Soho is not only a great place to read and work, but also hosts a ton of great discussions and events—and all proceeds go towards the organization's mission.

Via Housing Works

Judson Memorial Church

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The Church altered its mission in the 1950s, and has since been an outspoken advocate for civil rights issues. In the 1980s, it helped provide resources to people with AIDS. Its annual Gay Pride Sunday service is one of the church's biggest events of the year, and an estimated third of its congregation represents the LGBTQ community. Parts of this more than 100-year-old church, designed by McKim, Mead & White, were declared New York City landmarks in 1966.

By Beyond My Ken/Wikipedia

The Daughters of Bilitis Meeting Spot

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The Daughters of Bilitis was the first civil rights group dedicated to fighting for the rights of lesbians, and though it was formed in San Francisco, the organization expanded to New York in the 1950s. It was seen as an alternative to meeting in lesbian bars, which were frequently raided at the time. The group educated women about their rights and provided a safe space for those who were afraid of coming out.

Via StreetEasy

Pyramid Club

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This East Village club opened in 1979, and in the subsequent decade was one of the defining venues for politically-conscious drag performance art. (RuPaul's first NYC show took place at this bar.) In recent years, activists have made a concerted effort to landmark the venue.

By americasroof/wikipedia

Edna St. Vincent Millay's House

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Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay lived here for brief time during the 1920s. Millay was openly bisexual, is considered an important figure in LGBTQ history, and subsequently helped establish the Cherry Lane Theater, focused on experimental plays. The house itself, considered the narrowest in New York City, has also been home to other celebrated figures like anthropologist Margaret Mead and cartoonist William Steig.

Via Daily Mail

‘Gay Liberation’

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Located right across from Stonewall Inn sits the monument called Gay Liberation, designed by George Segal. After a decade of opposition to the sculpture, and renovations to the park itself, it was finally unveiled in 1992. It depicts four figures in total—two standing men, and two seated women. The Parks Department says, "the result is specific, evocative, and understated, showing the public comfort and freedom to which the gay liberation movement aspired."

Via NYC Parks

Stonewall Inn

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Protests following a police raid here in June 1969 are seen by many as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. Those protests inspired decades of activists in the years to come, and today the charming (and dive-esque) Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village has become symbolic of the struggles the LGBTQ community has overcome in the subsequent years. The city recognized that cultural significance and landmarked the building in the summer of 2015. A concerted effort by the LGBTQ community helped Stonewall become a National Monument in 2016. Recently, Google contributed $1 million for an expansive oral history project on those who rallied and protested after the 1969 raid.

Shutterstock

Julius'

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Julius' Bar is often considered the oldest gay bar in New York City. Though it's been functioning as a bar since 1864, it wasn't until the 1950s that members of the LGBTQ community began frequenting the place. In 1966, members of the Mattachine Society organized a protest at the bar against an existing liquor law that prohibited the sale of alcohol to disorderly groups, which (inexplicably) included gay people. That protest eventually led to the overturning of those laws, and is subsequently seen as a landmark moment towards establishing other gay bars across the city.

Via Wikipedia

New York City AIDS Memorial

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The years-in-the-making New York City AIDS Memorial was finally dedicated and unveiled on World AIDS Day in 2016. The memorial is located in St. Vincent’s Triangle in the West Village, across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. The location is symbolic in that St. Vincent’s opened the United States’ second dedicated AIDS ward in 1984, and was considered “ground zero” for patients who suffered from the disease at the time of the epidemic. Today this memorial pays tribute to the over 100,000 New Yorkers who have lost their lives to the disease.

The memorial is complete

A post shared by Charlie Fishman (@chuckdafonk) on

The Cubbyhole Bar

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This lesbian bar in the West Village has been a popular LGBTQ haunt since it first opened in 1994. More than 20 years later it's still going strong, and stands out for its quirky ceiling decor, the jukebox, and the diverse crowds that frequent the place. The bar has some great weeknight specials, too.

Via Mahay Balan

LGBTQ Memorial

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New York City’s first official memorial dedicated to the LGBTQ community debuted in 2018, and is intended to honor “the LGBT community, those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence.” The memorial, designed by Brooklyn artist Anthony Goicolea, comprises nine large boulders that sit in a circular pattern. Six of these boulders are bisected and then bonded together again with glass.

Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

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The LGBT Center was founded in December 1983 after the city approved the sale of a former high school on West 13th Street for $1.5 million. The Center has been a vital source to the community ever since, and today it is used as a meeting spot by close to 300 groups. About 6,000 people visit the Center every week, and it's no wonder when you look at the plethora of services it offers, including HIV & AIDS services, arts and culture programs, and family support groups. Check out their events calendar for all their upcoming festivities. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Women’s Liberation Center

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The three-story building at 243 West 20th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues served as the headquarters for the Women’s Liberation Center from 1972 to 1987. The site served as an important meeting space for women’s groups, specifically those tied to the lesbian community. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Mattachine Society Office

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The Mattachine Society was one of the earliest gay rights organizations in the United States, probably only second to Chicago's Society for Human Rights. Though the group was established in Los Angeles in 1951, the New York Chapter was established just four years later and headquartered out of this building. The group focused on promoting gay rights through education and peaceful means in the subsequent years, but adopted more aggressive tactics after the Stonewall riots.

Via Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites

James Baldwin Residence

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Civil Rights activist and author James Baldwin lived in this rowhouse for over 20 years starting in 1965 until his death. Baldwin’s work often explored the intersectionality of race, sexuality, and class, especially during the 1950s and 60s. His seminal book, Giovanni’s Room, generated a lot of controversy at the time of its publication in 1956 for its depiction of homosexuality and interracial relationships. He lived between France and the United States for most of his adult life, and occupied the rear, ground floor apartment on the Upper West Side, with his mother and sister occupying the upper floors, according to the NYC LGBT Historic Sites project. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites project

Billy Strayhorn's House

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Jazz legend Billy Strayhorn lived here with his partner from 1939 to 1947. Strayhorn was openly gay and was an active participant in the civil rights issues of the time. It was during his time at this house that he continued his collaboration with Duke Ellington and wrote the famous tunes "Take the A Train" and "Lush Life."

Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites

Christine Jorgensen's Childhood Home

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Jorgensen was widely known as one of the first trans women in American, and became well-known after having gender affirmation surgery in the 1950s. This is the home she grew up in in the Bronx, and returned to subsequently after having served in the U.S. Army during WWII. An insensitive New York Daily News story in 1952 broke the news of her surgery in the United States, but she subsequently used that fame to raise awareness about transgender people.

Via Google Maps

Julio Rivera Corner

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This street sign was installed in 2000 in the memory of 29-year-old Julio Rivera, who was beaten to death shortly after he moved from the Bronx to Jackson Heights. Rivera was attacked for being gay on July 2, 1990 in the schoolyard of P.S. 69, and died of his injuries at Elmhurst Hospital. Even today, as the Queens Pride Parade passes through this corner at 37th Avenue and 78th Streets, participants hold a moment of silence in Rivera’s memory.

Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

Frank Kameny's Childhood House

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One of the pioneers of the gay rights movement in the United States, Frank Kameny grew up in this house in Richmond, Queens, and graduated from the Richmond Hill High School in 1941. He was fired from the U.S. Army's Map Service for being gay, and appealed that decision in court. Even though he lost, it was the first civil rights suits based on sexual orientation seen in the United States. He became one of the co-founders of the Mattachine Society's Washington D.C. chapter, and was a lifelong activist for LGBTQ rights.

Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites

Lesbian Herstory Archives

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The Archives grew out of the Stonewall Riots and subsequently out of the Gay Academic Union, when several women in the group felt it wasn't properly addressing issues of sexism within the gay community. The Archives were first located in the home of one of the co-founders, author Joan Nestle, on the Upper West Side. It moved to its current location in Park Slope in the early 1990s and today it is home to the largest collection of materials by and about lesbians.

Via NYC LGBT Sites

Audre Lorde's House

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Poet and civil rights activist Audre Lorde lived here with her partner at the time, Frances Clayton, along with Lorde's two children. They lived at the Staten Island home between 1972 and 1987, and it was during this time that she also wrote her autobiography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Lorde is most notable for her highlighting the intersectionality between black female identity, feminism, and civil rights. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Via NYC LGBT Historic Sites

Alice Austen House

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Pioneering photographer Alice Austen lived here almost her entire life, and shared this house, also known as Clear Comfort with her partner Gertrude Tate for the latter three decades of her life. Austen was known for her photographs depicting working class New Yorkers, and images of her friends challenging traditional gender norms. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project recently spearheaded a campaign to have the house declared a National LGBT Historic Site, and their efforts paid off last year when the site was awarded that designation. Today, the Alice Austen House is a museum showcasing the works of this trailblazing photographer.

Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art

Via Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art

The world's first museum dedicated to LGBTQ art, the Leslie Lohman Museum was founded as a non-profit organization in 1987 by Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman, who had collected work from LGBTQ artists for decades. Today, the Museum has a collection of more than 24,000 works, and has an archive that contains information on 1,900 LGBTQ artists. Its permanent collection includes work by Catherine Opie, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol. The museum reopened after a massive renovation in March 2017.

Via Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art

Gay Activist Alliance Firehouse

Via NYPL

This storefront at 99 Wooster Street was once the headquarters of the Gay Activist Alliance. It was managed by the Alliance's Firehouse Committee, which held several popular dances that helped raise money for the organization. The firehouse was used as the main meeting spot for the organization until it burned down in 1974; today, it's home to a Victorinox Swiss Army shop. The building is one of six sites that the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently designated a New York City landmark.

Via NYPL

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

Via Housing Works

Housing Works was launched by a group of four activists in 1990 who wanted to address the needs of some of the most neglected populations in NYC: homeless people living with HIV and AIDS. They believed that stable housing was necessary for HIV-positive people to live fulfilling lives. Today, the organizations operate a handful of thrift stores across the city, and the bookstore cafe in Soho is not only a great place to read and work, but also hosts a ton of great discussions and events—and all proceeds go towards the organization's mission.

Via Housing Works

Judson Memorial Church

By Beyond My Ken/Wikipedia

The Church altered its mission in the 1950s, and has since been an outspoken advocate for civil rights issues. In the 1980s, it helped provide resources to people with AIDS. Its annual Gay Pride Sunday service is one of the church's biggest events of the year, and an estimated third of its congregation represents the LGBTQ community. Parts of this more than 100-year-old church, designed by McKim, Mead & White, were declared New York City landmarks in 1966.

By Beyond My Ken/Wikipedia

The Daughters of Bilitis Meeting Spot

Via StreetEasy

The Daughters of Bilitis was the first civil rights group dedicated to fighting for the rights of lesbians, and though it was formed in San Francisco, the organization expanded to New York in the 1950s. It was seen as an alternative to meeting in lesbian bars, which were frequently raided at the time. The group educated women about their rights and provided a safe space for those who were afraid of coming out.

Via StreetEasy

Pyramid Club

By americasroof/wikipedia

This East Village club opened in 1979, and in the subsequent decade was one of the defining venues for politically-conscious drag performance art. (RuPaul's first NYC show took place at this bar.) In recent years, activists have made a concerted effort to landmark the venue.

By americasroof/wikipedia

Edna St. Vincent Millay's House

Via Daily Mail

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay lived here for brief time during the 1920s. Millay was openly bisexual, is considered an important figure in LGBTQ history, and subsequently helped establish the Cherry Lane Theater, focused on experimental plays. The house itself, considered the narrowest in New York City, has also been home to other celebrated figures like anthropologist Margaret Mead and cartoonist William Steig.

Via Daily Mail

‘Gay Liberation’

Via NYC Parks

Located right across from Stonewall Inn sits the monument called Gay Liberation, designed by George Segal. After a decade of opposition to the sculpture, and renovations to the park itself, it was finally unveiled in 1992. It depicts four figures in total—two standing men, and two seated women. The Parks Department says, "the result is specific, evocative, and understated, showing the public comfort and freedom to which the gay liberation movement aspired."

Via NYC Parks

Stonewall Inn

Shutterstock

Protests following a police raid here in June 1969 are seen by many as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. Those protests inspired decades of activists in the years to come, and today the charming (and dive-esque) Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village has become symbolic of the struggles the LGBTQ community has overcome in the subsequent years. The city recognized that cultural significance and landmarked the building in the summer of 2015. A concerted effort by the LGBTQ community helped Stonewall become a National Monument in 2016. Recently, Google contributed $1 million for an expansive oral history project on those who rallied and protested after the 1969 raid.

Shutterstock

Julius'

Via Wikipedia

Julius' Bar is often considered the oldest gay bar in New York City. Though it's been functioning as a bar since 1864, it wasn't until the 1950s that members of the LGBTQ community began frequenting the place. In 1966, members of the Mattachine Society organized a protest at the bar against an existing liquor law that prohibited the sale of alcohol to disorderly groups, which (inexplicably) included gay people. That protest eventually led to the overturning of those laws, and is subsequently seen as a landmark moment towards establishing other gay bars across the city.

Via Wikipedia

New York City AIDS Memorial

The years-in-the-making New York City AIDS Memorial was finally dedicated and unveiled on World AIDS Day in 2016. The memorial is located in St. Vincent’s Triangle in the West Village, across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. The location is symbolic in that St. Vincent’s opened the United States’ second dedicated AIDS ward in 1984, and was considered “ground zero” for patients who suffered from the disease at the time of the epidemic. Today this memorial pays tribute to the over 100,000 New Yorkers who have lost their lives to the disease.

The memorial is complete

A post shared by Charlie Fishman (@chuckdafonk) on

The Cubbyhole Bar

Via Mahay Balan

This lesbian bar in the West Village has been a popular LGBTQ haunt since it first opened in 1994. More than 20 years later it's still going strong, and stands out for its quirky ceiling decor, the jukebox, and the diverse crowds that frequent the place. The bar has some great weeknight specials, too.

Via Mahay Balan

LGBTQ Memorial