Nearly 60 years after the Caffe Cino opened at 31 Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village, we’re thrilled that our nomination of the famed Off-Off-Broadway cafe theater was listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places today!
Joe Cino, an openly gay man, operated “the Cino” in the storefront space from December 1958 to March 1968. In addition to being the birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway, the Cino was a pioneer in the development of gay theater and in its support of gay playwrights at a time when depicting homosexuality on stage was illegal. It was also significant as a pre-Stonewall site that gave the LGBT community (predominantly gay white men) the opportunity to meet in a social space that served as an alternative to the bar and bathhouse scenes.
Project manager Amanda Davis, who researched and wrote the nomination over the course of the summer, attended today’s meeting of the New York State Board for Historic Preservation at the beautiful Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site in Yonkers. Kathleen LaFrank, National Register Coordinator for the New York State Historic Preservation Office, presented the nomination to the review board who unanimously voted to add the Caffe Cino to New York State’s honorary register of historic sites. The NYC LGBT Historic Site Project’s nomination now goes to Washington, D.C. where it will be considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stay tuned for updates in the next couple of months and, in the meantime, check out other sites in New York City that have been listed for their significance to LGBT history, based on our nominations.
Research work was funded, in part, by a grant from the National Park Service Underrepresented Grants Programs, administered through the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.