overview

Before the 1983 opening of the LGBT Community Center at 208 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, a number of important social and political spaces that served as an alternative to the (often Mafia-run) bar scene were established in New York City.

Earliest known community centers before and immediately after Stonewall were housed in office and retail spaces, former firehouses, and LGBT-welcoming churches.

While the curated collection below primarily features historic sites in downtown Manhattan, we will be adding more to the map from around the city as we uncover them.

Header Photo
Before the 1983 opening of the LGBT Community Center at 208 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, a number of important social and political spaces that served as an alternative to the (often Mafia-run) bar scene were established in New York City. Earliest known community centers before and immediately after Stonewall were housed in office and retail spaces, former firehouses, and LGBT-welcoming churches. While the curated collection below primarily features historic sites in downtown Manhattan, we will be adding more to the map from around the city as we uncover them.

Featured Historic Sites ( 13 )

A
re55 Washington Square South

Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square in the 1960s and ’70s was home to avant-garde arts groups, and a site for lesbian and gay political gatherings. With the emergence of... Learn More

B
240 West 38th Street

The Corduroy Club, located here from March 1967 to 1971, was a significant effort by the pre-Stonewall LGBT community in New York to have a social space that was outside... Learn More

C
291 Mercer Street

Gay rights activist Craig Rodwell established the East Coast’s first gay and lesbian bookstore (and the first one in the nation to operate long term), named in memory of Oscar... Learn More

D
15 Christopher Street

In 1973, Craig Rodwell moved his Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, the first gay and lesbian bookstore on the East Coast (and the first of its kind in the nation to... Learn More

E
296 Ninth Avenue

From 1969 to 1974, the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea was one of the most important meeting places in New York City for organizations of the early post-Stonewall... Learn More

F
530 Sixth Avenue / 69 West 14th Street

After the Stonewall rebellion in June 1969, the first LGBT activist organization formed was the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), in July. GLF used Alternate U., a free counterculture school and... Learn More

G
130 West 3rd Street

Tony Pastor’s Downtown, in business from 1939 to 1967, was a mob-backed club with a mixed clientele but popular with lesbians. The New York State Liquor Authority revoked its liquor... Learn More

H
99 Wooster Street

The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) formed in December 1969 and became the most influential American gay liberation political activist organization in the early 1970s. From 1971 to 1974, GAA used this... Learn More

I
247 West 11th Street

In 1972, friends Leonard Ebreo and Alice Bloch co-founded Liberation House, an early post-Stonewall community center that provided health services to the LGBT community. It was also the first home of... Learn More

J
446 West 36th Street

The Metropolitan Community Church was founded to minister to the LGBT community whose members were not welcome in most churches. The New York congregation held its first service in 1972... Learn More

K
37 Ninth Avenue

This building in the Meatpacking District was the longest home of the West Side Discussion Group, which met here from 1972 to 1978. The group, generally made up of an... Learn More

L
243 West 20th Street

In the early 1970s, the Women’s Liberation Center was founded as an important meeting space for many women’s groups, including those that specifically served the lesbian community. The Center operated... Learn More

M
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

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

21 Sites

City of Immigrants

17 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

18 Sites

Pre-20th Century History

23 Sites

Bars & Nightlife

13 Sites

Activism Before Stonewall

22 Sites

Homophobia & Transphobia

43 Sites

Broadway Theater District

11 Sites

Influential Black New Yorkers

13 Sites

Lesbian Life Before Stonewall

11 Sites

The AIDS Crisis

25 Sites

LGBT-Named Public Schools

15 Sites

Art & Architecture

10 Sites

National Register Listings

21 Sites

Spotlight on the Theater