Brooklyn Heights became known as a center of gay life beginning in the 1920s. This collection highlights the neighborhood’s LGBT history through residences of notable LGBT figures, gay cruising areas, and sites of political activism.

While much of New York City’s known LGBT history and life centers on Manhattan, we are currently working on adding more sites throughout Brooklyn to our website. If you have a suggestion, please fill out our online form.

This theme is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and a grant from Con Edison.

Header Photo caption

Gay Alliance of Brooklyn flyer, c. 1971. Courtesy of the Gay Alliance of Brooklyn records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.

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Featured Historic Sites (8)

70 Willow Street
Legendary theater designer Oliver Smith purchased this Brooklyn Heights residence in 1953 and lived here until his death. From around 1955 to 1965, he rented the garden apartment to Truman... Learn More
51 Clark Street
From the 1920s through the 1970s, the mammoth Hotel St. George was one of the best known centers of gay male life in Brooklyn. Famed for its luxurious public spaces... Learn More
141 Montague Street
In July 1966, the homophobic policies of The Brooklyn Heights Press, then headquartered in this building, were the focus of a successful protest by the Brooklyn Heights Chapter of the... Learn More
99 Clinton Street
The Gay Alliance of Brooklyn was one of the first gay civil rights organizations established in New York City outside of Manhattan. The group, which was active from 1971 to... Learn More
91 Joralemon Street
Pre-Stonewall gay rights activists Renée Vera Cafiero and Nancy Garden moved to an apartment in this building in December 1964, shortly after participating in the very first public demonstration for... Learn More
80 Montague Street
From 1962 to 1963 the Height’s Supper Club was one of the first bars in Brooklyn to cater to a gay male clientele. After the State Liquor Authority revoked its... Learn More
62 Montague Street
Bisexual poet-filmmaker-educator Willard Maas and his wife, visual artist-filmmaker Marie Menken, resided in this building from at least 1940 to their deaths in 1971 and 1970, respectively. Founders of the... Learn More
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
From the 1950s through the 1980s, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade was one of the city’s most popular and well-known gay male cruising areas. It became contested ground during the 1960s... Learn More