overview

Before the 1983 opening of the LGBT Community Center at 208 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, a number of important social and political spaces that served as an alternative to the (often Mafia-run) bar scene were established in New York City.

Earliest known community centers before and immediately after Stonewall were housed in office and retail spaces, former firehouses, and LGBT-welcoming churches.

While the curated collection below primarily features historic sites in downtown Manhattan, we will be adding more to the map from around the city as we uncover them.

Header Photo caption

Gathering at the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse in SoHo, 1971. Gift of The Estate of Fred W. McDarrah.

On the Map

 

Featured Historic Sites (12)

A
55 Washington Square South
Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square in the 1960s and '70s was home to avant-garde arts groups, and a site for lesbian and gay political gatherings. With the emergence of... Learn More
B
240 West 38th Street
The Corduroy Club was a significant effort by the pre-Stonewall LGBT community in New York to have a social space that was outside of the control of the Mafia, New... Learn More
C
291 Mercer Street
Gay rights activist Craig Rodwell established America’s first gay and lesbian bookstore, named in memory of Oscar Wilde, in a storefront of this apartment building on Mercer Street in 1967.... Learn More
D
296 Ninth Avenue
From 1969 to 1974, the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea was one of the most important meeting places in New York City for organizations of the early post-Stonewall... Learn More
E
530 Sixth Avenue / 69 West 14th Street
After the Stonewall rebellion in June 1969, the first LGBT activist organization formed was the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), in July. GLF used Alternate U., a free counterculture school and... Learn More
F
130 West 3rd Street
Tony Pastor’s Downtown, in business from 1939 to 1967, was a mob-backed club with a mixed clientele but popular with lesbians. The New York State Liquor Authority revoked its liquor... Learn More
G
99 Wooster Street
The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) formed in December 1969 and became the most influential American gay liberation political activist organization in the early 1970s. From 1971 to 1974, GAA used this... Learn More
H
247 West 11th Street
In 1972, friends Leonard Ebreo and Alice Bloch co-founded Liberation House, an early post-Stonewall community center that provided health services to the LGBT community. It was also the first home of... Learn More
I
446 West 36th Street
The Metropolitan Community Church was founded to minister to the LGBT community whose members were not welcome in most churches. The New York congregation held its first service in 1972... Learn More
J
37 Ninth Avenue
This building in the Meatpacking District was the longest home of the West Side Discussion Group, which met here from 1972 to 1978. The group, generally made up of an... Learn More
K
243 West 20th Street
In the early 1970s, the Women’s Liberation Center was founded as an important meeting space for many women’s groups, including those that specifically served the lesbian community. The Center operated... Learn More
L
135 & 133 West 4th Street
The congregation of this former church was led by the pioneering, openly gay Reverend Paul M. Abels from 1973 to 1984. The church and neighboring parish house also provided meeting... Learn More