Research to Document LGBT History of NYC’s Hotel Chelsea Receives Award From National Park Service

April 10, 2024

Ken Lustbader, NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
(917) 848-1776 / [email protected]


Architectural historians and scholars from the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project receive $25,000 to fund amendment to National Register of Historic Places

NEW YORK, NY—Wednesday, April 10, 2024—The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, an award-winning initiative committed to documenting and presenting historic sites connected to the LGBT community throughout New York City, has been awarded $25,000 by the National Park Service as part of its initiative to increase LGBT diversity on the National Register of Historic Places.

Under the auspices of its fiscal sponsor, the Fund for the City of New York, the Project will undertake research to amend the existing National Register of Historic Places nomination for New York City’s Hotel Chelsea to add the LGBT social history to its understanding and appreciation as a nationally-significant historic site.

“We are honored to have the National Park Service continue to support our work to increase LGBT diversity on the National Register of Historic Places. Now more than ever, as the teaching of queer history faces pushbacks across the country, sites like the famed Hotel Chelsea serve as important reminders of the contributions that LGBT people have made to American history and culture. This amendment will officially recognize these contributions by documenting, to date, over 80 notable LGBT artists, writers, musicians, and activists who helped turn the Hotel Chelsea into an internationally recognized icon of New York City.” —Amanda Davis, project manager of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project


From the existing entry for the Hotel Chelsea, located at 222 West 23rd Street, at

The Hotel Chelsea, the storied residence hotel on 23rd Street, has played host to a succession of countercultures throughout the 20th century, serving as a hub and inspiration for the Beat Generation, Postmodern artists, rock and punk musicians, drag performers, and the Club Kids. Until 2011, when new developers evicted many long-term residents and began controversial decade-long renovations, the Chelsea was a creative sanctuary that fostered collaboration among numerous LGBT writers, musicians, artists, designers, filmmakers, and actors such as:

  • Stormé DeLarverie, a biracial singer, male impersonator, activist, and bouncer
  • Charles James, widely regarded as the first American couturier and one of the most influential women’s fashion designers of the 20th century
  • Lance Loud, a TV personality, journalist, and punk rock musician who emerged as a public gay figure after his momentous coming out on America’s first reality television series, An American Family, in 1973
  • Ching Ho Cheng, an openly gay Chinese-American artist who depicted his rooms at the Chelsea in a series of gouache still-life paintings
  • Sarah Bernhardt, a 19th century French actress, fashion icon, and businesswoman who was one of the world’s first celebrities
  • Robert Mapplethorpe, a highly influential photographer of the late 20th century
  • Virgil Thomson, an eminent composer and music critic of the 20th century
  • Simone de Beauvoir, a French author and feminist who is best known for her treatise, The Second Sex (1949), a classic of feminist literature
  • Zaldy Goco, a Filipino-American fashion designer and model
  • Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist best known for her portraits depicting the human body, identity, and deat

Funding comes through the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities grant program, which began in 2014 and has provided $7 million to State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and Certified Local Governments to work towards diversifying the National Register of Historic Places through surveys and nominations.  The Underrepresented Communities grant program is one element of the Historic Preservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to assist with a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars, with the intent to mitigate the loss of a nonrenewable resource to benefit the preservation of other irreplaceable resources. Established in 1977, the HPF is authorized at $150 million per year through 2023 and has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, Tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Administered by the NPS, HPF funds may be appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s diverse cultural resources. For more information about NPS historic preservation programs and grants, please visit

About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, launched in 2015 by preservation professionals, is an award-winning cultural heritage initiative and educational resource documenting and presenting historic sites connected to the LGBT community throughout New York City. Its website, including an interactive map, features 450 diverse places from the 17th century to 2000 that are important to LGBT history and illustrate the community’s influence on NYC and American culture.

The project researches and nominates LGBT sites to the National Register, advocates for the official recognition of LGBT historic sites, provides walking tours, presents lectures, engages the community through events, develops educational programs for New York City public school students, and disseminates its content through robust social media channels. Its goal is to make an invisible history visible while fostering pride and awareness.

Instagram: @nyclgbtsites
Twitter: @nyclgbtsites
Facebook: /nyclgbtsites

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 428 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at