overview

For centuries, the character of New York City has been shaped by waves of immigration from all parts of the globe.

LGBT immigrants have left their own mark on the city’s history and culture as entrepreneurs, artists, writers, and activists.

This collection highlights sites associated with LGBT people who arrived in New York from all over the world during the 19th and 20th centuries. It also includes still-operating institutions and organizations that were founded by American-born LGBT New Yorkers to assist immigrant populations.

Header Photo
Cuban-born artist Arturo Martín Garcia works on a mural he created for Victor’s Café on the Upper West Side, 1971. Courtesy of Monica Zaldivar.

Featured Historic Sites ( 21 )

A
Fifth Avenue and East 61st Street

The first German-American Steuben Parade, celebrating German-American heritage, was held in 1958. Named for the hero of the American Revolution, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus von Steuben, it inadvertently honors a... Learn More

B
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

C
682 Sixth Avenue

For nearly 40 years, gay artistic director Max Ferrá led INTAR, a Latino theater company first known as Asociación de Arte Latinoamericano (ADAL) when it was located in this building... Learn More

D
85 South Oxford Street

The groundbreaking Audre Lorde Project (ALP), founded in 1994, has been located in the parish house of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, since 1996. Credited as the... Learn More

E
438 Hudson Street

Currently occupied by Henrietta Hudson, one of the city’s three remaining lesbian bars, this space was formerly known as Cubby Hole, from 1983 to 1990. Activist and performer Stormé DeLarverie... Learn More

F
Madison Square Park

For several years in the 1990s, the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA) led “Desi Dhamaka” protests in Madison Square Park in response to being banned from participating in... Learn More

G
447 West 22nd Street

Poet Elsa Gidlow, though largely associated with the San Francisco Bay Area, likely wrote her groundbreaking book of poetry On a Grey Thread while living at this Manhattan address in the early... Learn More

H
208 & 210 East 13th Street

Anarchist leader and immigrant Emma Goldman was the first prominent figure and ally in the United States to publicly speak out in support of homosexual rights. From 1903 to 1913,... Learn More

I
129 Macdougal Street

Eve Adams, the name adopted by a Polish-Jewish lesbian émigré, operated a popular gay and lesbian tearoom near Washington Square in Greenwich Village from 1925 to 1926. It closed when... Learn More

J
78-11 Roosevelt Avenue

Owned since 1989 by business and personal partners Eddie Valentin and Casimiro Villa, Friend’s Tavern (or Friend’s) in Jackson Heights is known as the oldest active gay bar in Queens.... Learn More

K
450 East 52nd Street

Greta Garbo was one of the silver screen’s most iconic stars of the 1920s and 1930s and was also well known for being protective of her privacy. Garbo found refuge... Learn More

L
77th Street & Broadway

Guillermo Vasquez was a leading gay rights, AIDS, and Latino community activist in Queens who emigrated from Colombia in 1972. Seventeen years after his 1996 death from AIDS-related complications, this... Learn More

M
St. Nicholas Park

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton lived in this house – which was built for him and his family in 1802 – until his death in 1804, though the house has since been relocated... Learn More

N
Castle Williams & Fort Jay

Early gay rights activist Henry Gerber lived on Governors Island from the late 1920s to 1945 as a member of the United States Army. In 1924, Gerber founded the Society for Human... Learn More

O
263-267 Henry Street

In 1893, public health nurse and progressive reformer Lillian Wald co-founded the Henry Street Settlement to provide no-cost medical services to poor immigrants living in cramped tenements on the Lower... Learn More

P
77-02 Broadway

The Love Boat was a popular gay Latino bar and dance space in Elmhurst, situated on the border of Jackson Heights. Drawing crowds of gay men with roots from countries... Learn More

Q
45 Belmont Place

The Jamaican-born author Michelle Cliff was living in this two-family house when she graduated from nearby Curtis High School in 1965. In later years, when she became a prominent writer,... Learn More

R
457 Sixth Avenue

This rowhouse near the Jefferson Market police court (now the Jefferson Market Library) was the last residence and office of well-known Tammany politico Murray H. Hall, who today would be... Learn More

S
89th Street & 37th Avenue

In 1993, the inaugural Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival took place in the historically gay neighborhood of Jackson Heights and was the first such event to be organized in... Learn More

T
43rd Street & Skillman Avenue

In 2000, the inaugural St. Pat’s for All Parade took place in the historically Irish neighborhoods of Sunnyside and Woodside, Queens. The event, which still runs, was founded by LGBT... Learn More

U
77 Saint Marks Place

The influential poet, essayist, playwright, and librettist W. H. Auden lived at this address with his lover and collaborator Chester Kallman from 1953 to 1972. He produced many notable works... Learn More

Other Curated Themes

7 Sites

Transgender History

25 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

17 Sites

Communities of Color

24 Sites

Activism Outside Manhattan

18 Sites

Literary New York

13 Sites

Downtown Arts Scene

18 Sites

1970s Lesbian Activism & Community

7 Sites

The Bronx

8 Sites

Brooklyn Heights

7 Sites

Jackson Heights

12 Sites

Staten Island

10 Sites

Why We March

15 Sites

Village Pride Tour

20 Sites

Gay Activists Alliance

13 Sites

The Harlem Renaissance

12 Sites

Jewish New York

19 Sites

Pre-20th Century History

24 Sites

Bars & Nightlife

13 Sites

Activism Before Stonewall

23 Sites

Homophobia & Transphobia

43 Sites

Broadway Theater District

11 Sites

Influential Black New Yorkers

13 Sites

Early Community Centers

13 Sites

Lesbian Life Before Stonewall

11 Sites

The AIDS Crisis

25 Sites

LGBT-Named Public Schools

14 Sites

Art & Architecture

10 Sites

National Register Listings

21 Sites

Spotlight on the Theater