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

Featured Historic Sites ( 12 )

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 Mattachine... 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

62 Clark Street

Poet Maurice Kenny, widely regarded as one of the first Native American writers to publish literature exploring Two-Spirit identity, rented a studio apartment on the top floor of this Brooklyn... Learn More

55 Pierrepont Street

Berlin-born Charlotte Charlaque underwent gender affirmation surgery in Germany between 1928 and 1931, in one of the earliest documented cases of the procedure in the world. Memorialized by the Brooklyn... Learn More

152 Henry Street

Beginning in the 1890s, this Brooklyn Heights rowhouse was the home of long-term partners L. Adele Cuinet, a pioneering female dentist, and Helen S. Lassen, a medical doctor. Both Cuinet... Learn More

18 Cranberry Street

Clay Lancaster, who lived in this Brooklyn Heights rowhouse from c. 1943 to 1961, was among the most influential founders of the modern historic preservation movement that blossomed in the... Learn More

Other Curated Themes

14 Sites

Transgender History

26 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

17 Sites

Communities of Color

24 Sites

Activism Outside Manhattan

20 Sites

Literary New York

13 Sites

Downtown Arts Scene

21 Sites

City of Immigrants

18 Sites

1970s Lesbian Activism & Community

8 Sites

The Bronx

8 Sites

Jackson Heights

12 Sites

Staten Island

12 Sites

Why We March

15 Sites

Village Pride Tour

20 Sites

Gay Activists Alliance

13 Sites

The Harlem Renaissance

14 Sites

Jewish New York

20 Sites

Pre-20th Century History

25 Sites

Bars & Nightlife

13 Sites

Activism Before Stonewall

20 Sites

Homophobia & Transphobia

44 Sites

Broadway Theater District

11 Sites

Influential Black New Yorkers

12 Sites

Early Community Centers

13 Sites

Lesbian Life Before Stonewall

11 Sites

The AIDS Crisis

29 Sites

LGBT-Named Public Schools

15 Sites

Art & Architecture

11 Sites

National Register Listings

21 Sites

Spotlight on the Theater