overview

This curated collection highlights the many ways in which LGBT people have helped shape the built environment of New York City, from sculptor Emma Stebbins’s iconic Angel of the Waters statue in Central Park to the architectural designs of Philip Johnson and Paul Rudolph.

Other sites associated with public art and design include the murals of Keith Haring, works by visual artists such as Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz on the piers along the Greenwich Village waterfront, and the restoration of many sections of Central Park by landscape architects Philip N. Winslow and Bruce Kelly.

Gay men and lesbians have been particularly influential in the historic preservation movement, though ironically the preservation of LGBT historic sites is still rarely discussed in the profession; if you know of sites associated with significant LGBT preservationists please let us know.

Header Photo caption

“Angel of the Waters,” atop the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, was designed by lesbian sculptor Emma Stebbins in the 1860s. Photo by Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2016.

On the Map

Featured Historic Sites (14)

A
240 Columbus Avenue
A bas-relief mural created in 1971 for Victor’s Café, a popular Cuban restaurant on the Upper West Side, was the work of local Cuban-born artist Arturo Martin Garcia. It depicts... Learn More
B
Kingsborough Houses
Sculptor Richmond Barthé created this 8-foot by 80-foot frieze Exodus and Dance (completed in 1939) for the Harlem River Houses, which was later named Green Pastures: The Walls of Jericho... Learn More
C
101 East 63rd Street
In 1966, real estate lawyer Alexander Hirsch and his partner Lewis Turner commissioned architect Paul Rudolph to remodel their residence (a former 19th-century carriage house) and design a new facade.... Learn More
D
200 Park Avenue
Richard Lippold, the preeminent mid-20th-century creator of site-specific indoor sculpture in America, designed three major works for spaces in New York City. Among his finest installations is “Flight,” located in... Learn More
E
246 East 58th Street
The Modulightor Building, built between 1989 and 1992, was designed by iconic modernist Paul Rudolph, who incorporated new construction into the pre-existing four-story structure; two additional stories were added to... Learn More
F
Central Park
The Angel of the Waters statue atop the Bethesda Fountain is the 1860s masterpiece of lesbian sculptor Emma Stebbins and was the earliest public artwork by a woman in New York City.... Learn More
G
122 East 17th Street
Elsie de Wolfe, often credited as America’s first professional interior designer, and Elisabeth Marbury, one of the world’s leading, and pioneering female, theatrical agents and producers, lived together in this... Learn More
H
11 West 53rd Street
Since its beginnings in the 1930s, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has employed a significant number of gay men and lesbians, many of whom have worked as highly influential... Learn More
I
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Architect Philip Johnson and artists Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol are all associated with the New York State Pavilion, built for the 1964 New York World’s... Learn More
J
Christopher Street Pier
For over a century, the Greenwich Village waterfront along the Hudson River, including the Christopher Street Pier at West 10th and West Streets, has been a destination for the LGBT... Learn More
K
23 Beekman Place
“First Lady of the Theater” Katharine Cornell and her husband, director-producer Guthrie McClintic, lived here from 1922 to 1951. Architect Paul Rudolph began renting here in 1961 and later converted... Learn More
L
1281 Sixth Avenue
Scott Burton, a major figure in the New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s, specialized in the creation of public installations that combined furniture design and sculpture. Among... Learn More
M
676 Broadway
The artist Keith Haring worked in a fifth-floor studio in this building from 1985 to 1990, the last five years of his life before dying of AIDS. In this time... Learn More
N
Various Locations
Central Park has had numerous associations with the LGBT community since its creation in 1857, including many areas popular for meeting and cruising, associations with Gay Pride Marches, and its... Learn More