Invisible No More: Historic Places Connected to LGBTQ New Yorkers and Commuters

April 13, 2023 | 6 PM - 7:15 PM



NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project at Greenwich Historical Society

Project manager Amanda Davis will join Greenwich Historical Society to detail the ongoing efforts behind the Project’s research and documentation. She will also highlight historic places in New York City that have ties to past Connecticut residents, such as author Maurice Sendak and actress Katharine Hepburn, and share stories about how LGBTQ activism and life in the city impacted people in the Tri-State area and beyond.

This event is being held as part of Greenwich Historical Society’s “Shine a Light” series.

New York City has long been a refuge for LGBTQ people who, in turn, have helped shape the history and culture of the city, region, and nation through countless historic places. Yet, until recently, these contributions went largely unknown and uncelebrated. Since 2015, the award-winning NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has worked to flip the narrative by documenting historic places connected to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in New York City. The Project’s goal is to broaden public understanding of LGBTQ history beyond the Stonewall uprising of 1969, and to advocate for its inclusion in the collective telling of American history. Its interactive website includes over 400 sites, from the 17th century to the year 2000, and over 30 curated themes. The team further disseminates this history through community engagement, social media, and public programs. The Project’s research and advocacy have also resulted in the listing of eleven sites on the National Register of Historic Places and the designation of nine sites as New York City Landmarks for their significance to LGBTQ history.


“Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo,” with author Michael Schiavi

March 30, 2023 | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM



Vito Russo was a prominent and beloved figure in New York City’s LGBT community, beginning with his popular Friday night “Firehouse Flicks” at the Gay Activists Alliance headquarters in Soho in the early 1970s. As a co-founder of GLAAD and ACT UP in the 1980s, Russo helped push for better media representation for LGBT individuals and brought attention to the AIDS crisis at a time of government inaction and widespread public apathy. He is best remembered as an activist and for his 1980s book, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (1981; rev. 1987), a pioneering achievement that directly influenced the creation of LGBT media studies.

Join us for a book talk with Michael Schiavi, biographer of Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo (2011). Schiavi will discuss his book and Russo’s legacy 33 years after his death from AIDS-related complications. Ken Lustbader, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, will also highlight historic places on the Project’s website where Russo helped shape the course of LGBT history, including his long-time residence in Chelsea.


RIBBON CUTTING: Restoration of the La MaMa Experimental Theater

February 9, 2023 | 11 AM

La MaMa Experimental Theater Company
74 East 4th Street
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Lamama ribbon cutting

Celebrate the reopening of La MaMa Experimental Theater Company’s 74 East 4th Street building with a ribbon cutting event. Free; all are welcome to attend! Can’t be in NYC? La MaMa will be taking over the Project’s Instagram @nyclgbtsites to live broadcast this exciting community event. Tune in just before 11AM and share your congratulations from anywhere in the world!

Iconic theatre-artist André De Shields will be the special guest for our ribbon cutting at 74 East 4th Street, his artistic home starting in the ’70s. He will be joined onstage by Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Laurie Cumbo and NYC Councilmember Carlina Rivera, and others. Immediately following the ceremony, La MaMa invites you to come inside to see performances and installations as you explore and experience the renovated spaces. Ceremony will begin promptly at 11AM; gather a few minutes early with hot chocolate (and bells!). This event is rain or shine, and guests are encouraged to dress for the weather.

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club was founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart and moved to 74 East 4th Street in the East Village in 1969. Today it is widely considered the oldest surviving, most influential, and most prolific of all the Off-Off-Broadway stages. It has had associations with many LGBT playwrights, directors, and performers. (read more)


LGBTQ+ PUBLIC SPACES: Preservation of Historic Queer Landscapes

February 22, 2023 | 6:30 PM


A group of women at the beach in Riis Park, 1960s.

FREE to all; please consider a suggested donation $5 or more.


Outdoor public spaces are historically tied to the LGBTQ+ community and have been important places for community gathering, cruising and sex, mobilization, and celebration. These locations – parks, streetscapes, and beaches, to name a few – are where the queer community have appropriated spaces for survival and existence as well as for queer activism. However, in many cities throughout the country, these queer spaces, queer stories, and queer memories have largely gone undocumented and unappreciated. This presentation will explore the often unrecognized and untold stories and histories of LGBTQ+ people within the public spaces and landscapes we see everyday. Included will be a focus on New York City public spaces.

Join Project co-director Ken Lustbader with and Max Dickson, landscape designer and planner at OLIN, as they discuss the history of queer public spaces, share local and national case studies including New York City spaces such as Riis Beach and the Stonewall National Monument at Christopher Park, and explore the role of preservationists and designers in increasing the overall visibility of culturally significant LGBTQ+ landscapes.

Olin logoThis live virtual presentation will be co-sponsored by landscape architecture and urban planning studio, OLIN. OLIN works internationally on projects ranging in size from large-scale master planning to mid-sized institutions to small urban interventions. OLIN’s celebrated projects in New York City include Bryant Park, Battery Park City, and the newly opened Pier 26 at Hudson River Park. Since 2020, Max has led a research and advocacy initiative, “PrideScapes”, through OLIN’s internal research group, OLIN Labs. Labs seeks to grow the impact of the landscape architectural profession through original research, thought leadership, and by building platforms for purpose-driven collaboration and activism.

Photo: A group of women at the beach in Riis Park, 1960s. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.