NYC Pride: Tracing the History of NYC’s Gay Neighborhoods from Past to Present

June 30, 2016

Following President Obama’s designation of Stonewall National Monument last week, the Brick Underground ran a story on the changing nature of gay neighborhoods over the years. Project co-director Ken Lustbader weighs in at the end of the piece about the importance of documenting LGBT history beyond the well-known sites such as Stonewall.

Read the full story via the Brick Underground.

The Oldest Gay Bars in New York


The Daily Beast explores some of the oldest sites in New York that we would identify today as gay bars. These are all places that our project has uncovered since our work began last year. Ken Lustbader, our project co-director, and George Chauncey, author of Gay New York and a member of our advisory committee, are quoted in the piece.

Read the whole article via The Daily Beast.

President Obama Announces Stonewall National Monument!


President Obama has just announced the designation of Stonewall National Monument here in New York City to honor the struggle for LGBT equality throughout the nation. It joins existing national monuments for women’s rights in Seneca Falls, New York and for African-American rights in Selma, Alabama in recognizing hard-fought efforts for civil rights in America. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us: that we are stronger together, that out of many, we are one.” While their significance is often underestimated or dismissed by heterosexual society, bars and other establishments have played a pivotal role throughout the 20th century as centers for LGBT activism and community. The designation of Stonewall National Monument recognizes a key moment in American history when LGBT people fought back against oppression that they had faced for decades.

The White House released videos about this historic announcement, which you can view below.


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Meet the Preservationists Who Are Cataloging NYC’s LGBT History

June 24, 2016

In this article from Curbed, our project co-director Ken Lustbader discusses our research process and the kinds of LGBT historic sites we are documenting around the five boroughs. He says, “More than anything we want this project to be fun and to provoke curiosity. There was a strong, thriving LGBT community in New York even before Stonewall, and it has had a direct impact on American culture. Our project is just one of the many ways to tell those stories.” The piece also covers our recent pride flagging events at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Read the whole story via Curbed.

Presenting at the New York Public Library


This evening we spoke about our project to a great audience at the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman branch. George Chauncey (author of Gay New York) began the evening with a moving speech on the importance of the project’s goal to recognize LGBT historic sites, particularly for its potential to positively impact LGBT youth. Afterward, we shared historic sites that we’ve uncovered since our project launched last August, discussed our recent nomination of Julius’ to the National Register of Historic Places, and highlighted our pre-project efforts — beginning in the early 1990s — to document LGBT place-based history.

We’d like to thank Jason Baumann, Coordinator of Collection Assessment, Humanities, and LGBT Collections at the New York Public Library for coordinating this event with us and for helping us navigate the library’s extensive LGBT collections as we continue to uncover new sites across the city’s five boroughs.

Related links

Julius’ National Register Nomination

Placing Pride Flags at Woodlawn Cemetery

By: Amanda Davis


Today the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project continued our Pride Month celebrations by placing pride flags at the graves of LGBT notables at the beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The flags will be there for the month of June, so please be sure and visit! This follows our flagging event at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn yesterday. “Flagging graves of LGBT individuals is a way of both celebrating important individuals and providing recognition of the contributions made by LGBT people to the larger community. Working with Woodlawn Cemetery staff, we placed pride flags at the graves of suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt and Mary Garrett Hay, poet Countee Cullen, playwrights Clyde Fitch and Roi Cooper Mergue, sculptor Malvina Hoffman, illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, photographer George Platt Lynes, literary agent Elisabeth Marbury, vaudeville star Bert Savoy, and lawyer John W. Sterling. We also placed flags next to sculptor Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage, which she made before same-sex marriage was legal and shows her and her wife Deborah Kass in a loving embrace (both are still living).

We’d like to thank Susan Olsen, Woodlawn’s Director of Historical Services, in particular for her assistance with this initiative as well as Woodlawn volunteers who helped find additional LGBT permanent residents who we honored today. Olsen had this to say,

“Although there are many historic figures associated with the LGBT community memorialized at Woodlawn, prejudices and societal views often kept these individuals from openly declaring their relationships and separation from their life partners when they were laid to rest. In recent times attitudes have changed inspiring lot ownership and memorization that commemorates the rights of all.”

Check out our Woodlawn Cemetery site page to learn more about each of the individuals honored today. We’ll also be adding more names to that page as we discover them. If you have suggestions, please let us know!

 arcus foundation

Related Links

Woodlawn Cemetery History Page

Kicking Off Pride Month at Green-Wood Cemetery

By: Amanda Davis

We were thrilled to kick off our first LGBT Pride Month at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn earlier today. Green-Wood is one of the oldest rural Victorian cemeteries in the country, and has long been the final resting place of famous Brooklynites and others from around New York City.

In partnership with Historic Green-Wood, we spent a beautiful afternoon placing pride flags at the gravesites of LGBT notables. The flags will be in place for the entire month of June so we hope you’ll stop by and say hello! You can find the location of each gravesite by using Green-Wood’s online search feature.

Those remembered today include sculptor Emma Stebbins, composers Leonard Bernstein and Louis Moreau Gottschalk, actor/singer/songwriter Paul Jabara, lyricist Fred Ebb, psychiatrist and gay rights activist Richard Isay, and muralist Violet Oakley.

Richard Moyland, President of Green-Wood, weighed in on the day:

“Green-Wood is proud to partner with the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project in its work to recognize our permanent residents and their contributions to so many important aspects of American life and culture. Throughout the year, Green-Wood strives to honor these individuals by keeping their stories alive and focusing attention on their extraordinary lives with our annual LGBTQ-themed trolley tour coinciding with Brooklyn Pride Week. He continued. This year, the presence of rainbow flags will be a visible and constant reminder to all that our world is richer because of them. We’d like to thank the staff at Green-Wood for taking part in this special event with us. Please be sure to check out their annual “Gay Green-Wood Trolley Tour” later this month.

As we discover more LGBT people buried here we will add it to our Green-Wood Cemetery site page. There you’ll also find photos of all gravesites that we flagged in addition to any we may have discovered after today’s event. If someone is missing from that page that you feel should be included please let us know so we can add their names and honor them at our next pride flagging event. We’d also be happy to flag the gravesites of your LGBT loved ones, whether they were famous or not.

See you next June!

Event Partners

green-wood cemetery

Related Links

Green-Wood Cemetery History Page