FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ken Lustbader, NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
p: (917) 848-1776 / e: [email protected]
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project Celebrates
“LGBT History Month”
Throughout October, the Project will highlight important LGBT figures and events with new site listings, a curated tour, social media takeovers, Project launch event, and more
New York, NY – The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, a cultural heritage initiative working to document important LGBT sites throughout New York City, has announced its preliminary schedule of programming and events in celebration of October’s LGBT History Month.
LGBT History Month was established in 1994 by educators who recognized a void in the American historical narrative in which LGBT history was neither taught nor celebrated within the traditional educational system — public, parochial or private. Now, each year, shortly after schools return to session, historians, teachers, community groups, activists and the public at-large come together throughout the month to extol the achievements of LGBT individuals no longer with us, as well as those currently fighting and advocating for equal rights and visibility and working to further the movement into the 21st century.
“Our mission is to make the too-often unseen history of NYC’s LGBT community a visible and better-understood thread in our city’s historical fabric,” said Jay Shockley, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.
Project activities and events during LGBT History Month will include:
- Saturday, October 7th: “Gay Green-Wood” trolley tour at historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. The tour will highlight Green-Wood Cemetery’s connection to LGBT history by showing tour goers the final resting places of important LGBT figures who made a lasting impact on American culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some notable “permanent residents” include conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein; “It’s Raining Men” co-author Paul Jabara; Emma Stebbins, sculptor of Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain (already featured on the Project website); activists Drs. Emery Hetrick and Damien Martin; Broadway lyricist Fred Ebb, and more. Green-Wood’s Manager of Preservation and Restoration, Neela Wickremesinghe, will share how these sites are preserved, and tour goers will have the opportunity to mark each grave with a rainbow flag. (more)
- Wednesday, October 11th: National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Project collaborate on a social media “takeover” of the Trust’s Instagram channel (@savingplaces). October 11th is significant both for National Coming Out Day and as the anniversary of the death of American gay rights activist Franklin “Frank” Kameny, whose childhood residence in Queens was among the first sites researched. Throughout the day, the Project will take to the Trust’s Instagram page to share sites and historic photos that speak to the importance of these and LGBT history more broadly.
- Thursday, October 19th to Tuesday, October 24th: The Project will celebrate the 29th annual NewFest (beginning October 19th) and LGBT cinema in general with a series of high-impact image mosaics. Follow on Instagram (@nyclgbtsites) as mosaics highlight films that feature storylines and characters important to LGBT cinema history, or that capture — whether as main set locations or as part of the backdrop of New York City — places with history that looms large in the LGBT community.
- Monday, October 30th: Project launch event at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea. The Project will celebrate its progress documenting LGBT history and geography in NYC, as well as look forward to what’s in store for the immediate future. The invitation-only event will feature remarks by George Chauncey, historian and author of Gay New York; Matthew Riemer, co-creator of the influential @lgbt_history Instagram account; and other special guests. The Church of the Holy Apostles is a venue of particular significance as it is one of the most important meeting places in New York City for LGBT organizations, dating back to the early post-Stonewall gay rights movement in the early 1970s. Members of the press may contact staff to request media pass.
- New historic sites published to the Project website. Stay tuned for the final week of October when the Project will be debuting newly-researched historically significant locations on its website, www.nyclgbtsites.org. Residences, gathering spaces and institutions coming to the Project’s interactive map include: the Kitty Genovese Residence in Kew Gardens, Queens; the Empire State Building, highlighting the years-long activism of GLAAD to light the famed skyscraper for NYC Pride in 1990; the Jimmy Zappalorti Memorial Tree on Staten Island; Escuelita, a former transgender Latina bar in Midtown Manhattan; the Bayard-Condict Building in NoHo, designed by master architect Louis Sullivan; and the 1990s Desi Dhamaka protests in Madison Square Park.
“We hope that our website inspires the LGBT community and youth, as well as the population more generally, who are too often not taught this particular history,” said Ken Lustbader, Project co-director. “Now more than ever it is imperative to raise public awareness about the community’s contributions to American history as well as the struggles it has faced in achieving acceptance and equality under the law. Our project encourages everyone to take a second look at the physical places we pass every day and to appreciate a history that, until our initiative, has remained largely invisible.”
LGBT History Month activities come on the heels of two recent NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project announcements and successes:
- Caffe Cino listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places: 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 on September 14, 2017. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project’s nomination now goes to Washington, D.C. where it will be considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. (more)
- Debut of the Stonewall National Monument historical walking tour map: Stonewall National Monument — recognized as a national heritage site in 2016 — is the subject of a new historical walking tour, enabling tourists and native New Yorkers alike to engage with the LGBT history of Stonewall and the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood in a meaningful way. On September 29, 2017, the Project joins with the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Service for a press conference to celebrate this new national resource. (more)
About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is a nonprofit cultural initiative and educational resource undertaken in August 2015 that endeavors to catalog important yet often invisible LGBT history in New York City. A first-of-its-kind undertaking, The Project relies on expertise gained from over 25 years of advocacy and research by founders Andrew Dolkart, Ken Lustbader and Jay Shockley. The team includes project manager Amanda Davis who continues that work today by cataloging and archiving historic sites and personalities that are vital to LGBT heritage in New York City. For more, visit www.nyclgbtsites.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About LGBT History Month
Founded by Missouri high school teacher Rodney Wilson and other educators in 1994, LGBT History Month seeks to increase awareness of LGBT history by celebrating the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender icons. Recognizing that LGBT history is one of the only histories not taught in public schools or religious institutions, these educators seek to take advantage of the beginning of the school year to forefront these histories, using each day in October to celebrate a different LGBT icon. LGBT History Month has been endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Education Association and other national organizations. In 2006 Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBT History Month. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement about the LGBT community’s extraordinary national and international contributions. For more info visit lgbthistorymonth.com.