overview

Throughout many sections of New York City, cultural institutions, businesses, organizations, and gathering places have been created by and for people of color.

This includes LGBT people of color, who have either made significant contributions to places connected to communities of color; run LGBT-specific businesses and organizations, such as Bum Bum Bar in Queens or the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn; or founded mixed (gay and straight) spaces, such as the Asociación de Arte Latinoamericano (now INTAR) in Manhattan or the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!).

This curated collection highlights public spaces predominantly associated with LGBT people of color, with a notable concentration in the long-time Black mecca of Harlem. Please contact us at [email protected] if you know of others we should add to the website.

Header Photo
Salsa Soul Sisters pamphlet covers, c. 1980 (cropped). From 1976 to 1987, the Salsa Soul Sisters met in the parish house of Washington Square Methodist Church. Courtesy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

Featured Historic Sites ( 17 )

A
135 & 133 West 4th Street

The congregation of this former church was led by the pioneering, openly gay Reverend Paul M. Abels from 1973 to 1984. The church and neighboring parish house also provided meeting... Learn More

B
1084 Bergen Street

In 1962, openly gay African-American entrepreneur Harold “Mackie” Harris purchased the Starlite Lounge and established it as an LGBT-inclusive bar. Before being forced to close in 2010 after the building... Learn More

C
515 Malcolm X Boulevard

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture houses one of the country’s most significant collections of African American history and the African Diaspora, including the records of LGBT notables... Learn More

D
170 West 130th Street

Beginning in the 1920s, this Harlem rowhouse was home to a number of important Black social and political organizations. Most notably, it served as the National Headquarters for the March... Learn More

E
28 East 125th Street

Between the 1920s and 2003, when it was closed by New York City officials, the Mt. Morris Baths was an important social center for gay African-American men and one of... Learn More

F
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

G
695 Lenox Avenue

For about 25 years, beginning in 1920, countless African-American travelers stayed at the renowned Hotel Olga in Harlem. In the 1920s, two known LGBT guests included Alain Locke, the “Dean”... Learn More

H
180 West 135th Street

The 135th Street Branch of the YMCA (now the Harlem YMCA) and the original West 135th Street Branch across the street were among Harlem’s most important recreational and cultural centers... Learn More

I
2144 Fifth Avenue

Between 1926 and 1931, openly gay Alexander Gumby operated the Gumby Book Studio, one of the preeminent literary and artistic salons of the Harlem Renaissance, on the second floor of... 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
160-164 West 129th Street

A rare surviving Harlem building that hosted drag balls, the Imperial Lodge of Elks (also referred to as the Elks Lodge) was prominently featured in the documentary Paris Is Burning (1990), which... Learn More

L
63-14 Roosevelt Avenue

From the early 1990s until its closure at the end of 2018, the Bum Bum Bar (pronounced “boom boom”) catered to a predominately Latina lesbian clientele in Queens. Located under... Learn More

M
841 Barretto Street

The award-winning Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) was founded by dancer/choreographer Arthur Avilés and writer/activist Charles Rice-González, Bronx residents of Puerto Rican descent. Home to the Arthur Avilés... Learn More

N
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

O
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

P
253 West 125th Street

During the Apollo Theater’s heyday as a showcase for Black performers from the 1930s into the 1970s, nearly every important African-American entertainer played here, including many LGBT stars. In the... Learn More

Q
103-105 West 135th Street

During the Harlem Renaissance, the New York Public Library’s 135th Street Branch served as an intellectual and artistic center for African Americans, including the likes of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen,... Learn More

Other Curated Themes

7 Sites

Transgender History

25 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

24 Sites

Activism Outside Manhattan

18 Sites

Literary New York

13 Sites

Downtown Arts Scene

21 Sites

City of Immigrants

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