Though here earlier, Jewish immigrants arrived in New York City in significant numbers from Germany in the mid-19th century and then in particularly large waves from Eastern Europe beginning in 1881.

LGBT New Yorkers featured in this curated theme mostly descended from working-class immigrant families and made a profound impact on the American arts scene, LGBT activism, and religious life. These include composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, tennis player Renée Richards, archivist and activist Joan Nestle, playwright Tony Kushner, PFLAG co-founder Jeanne Manford, and more.

We continue to research sites that highlight the contributions of LGBT Jewish New Yorkers. Submit your suggestions here.

Header Photo caption

Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, c. 1940. Photo by Victor Kraft. Source: Library of Congress, Music Division, Aaron Copland Collection.

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Featured Historic Sites (14)

129 Macdougal Street
“Eve Addams’” was a popular after-theater club run by Polish-Jewish lesbian émigré Chawe Zlocsewer (with other variations, such as Eva Kotchever or Eva Czlotcheber) from 1925 to 1926. It closed... Learn More
103-17 115th Street
Renowned gay rights pioneer Franklin ("Frank") E. Kameny grew up in this semi-detached brick house from 1925 to 1948. Kameny, who frequently visited his parents' house until 1979, became a... Learn More
481 Eighth Avenue
Considered one of the first, great pioneers of LGBT rights in the early 20th century, German-Jewish physician and sexologist, Magnus Hirschfeld, arrived in New York in November 1930 to begin... Learn More
44 West 63rd Street
Composer Aaron Copland – one of the most celebrated figures in classical music – lived in the Hotel Empire from 1936 to 1947 during the height of his career. While... Learn More
217 Mott Street, rear
Behind this tenement building is another building at the back of the lot that was the home of civil rights activists, conscientious objectors, and pacifists Igal Roodenko, from 1947 to... Learn More
1634 Broadway
The Winter Garden Theater has been home to many musicals created by members of the LGBT community over the years. Premiering here in 1957, West Side Story had a creative team... Learn More
170 East 2nd Street
A founding figure of the Beat Generation, one of the 20th century’s most important literary movements, the openly gay poet Allen Ginsberg lived in this tenement building with his "life-long... Learn More
26 West 56th Street
Between May 1959 and early 1964, fashion designer Arnold Scaasi used this building, which he owned, as his design studio, showrooms, and residence. Scaasi would later gain worldwide attention when... Learn More
33-23 171st Street
In 1972, Queens schoolteacher Jeanne Manford publicly spoke out in support of her gay son Morty at a time when homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder by the... Learn More
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
215 West 92nd Street
From 1974 to 2002, apartment 13A in this Upper West Side building was the residence of Joan Nestle, an influential lesbian activist and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. A... Learn More
445-465 West Street
The Westbeth Artists’ Complex is an early (1968-70) conversion of industrial space into housing for artists and has been home to many LGBT painters, sculptors, writers, choreographers, filmmakers, and other... Learn More
1 Tennis Place
For nearly 60 years, the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills was the first New York City home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Several notable LGBT players, including... Learn More
Central Park
The Angel of the Waters statue atop the Bethesda Fountain is the 1860s masterpiece of lesbian sculptor Emma Stebbins and was the earliest public artwork by a woman in New York City.... Learn More