LGBT Latinas and Latinos have made important political, artistic, and cultural contributions to New York City life since the mid-20th century, particularly after immigration from South America and the Caribbean increased in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cuban-born Tony Segura, perhaps the earliest notable figure of this group, was among the most significant activists of the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in 1950s America; later pioneers include those hailing from or having roots in Puerto Rico (such as co-founders Charles Rice-González and Arthur Avilés of the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) and trans activist Sylvia Rivera), Colombia (such as community and AIDS activist Guillermo Vasquez), and Cuba (such as Ana María Simo, co-founder of Medusa’s Revenge and the Lesbian Avengers, and award-winning Off-Broadway playwright Irene Fornés).

This curated collection explores Hispanic-run and/or associated nightlife spots, beaches, and performance venues, as well as artist residences and works of art.

Header Photo
Irene Fornés (3rd from left) with her students at INTAR’s Hispanic Playwrights in Residence Lab, late 1980s (photo cropped). INTAR had been founded as Asociación de Arte Latinoamericano (ADAL) in New York City in 1966. Photo by James Kent. Source: American Theatre website.

Featured Historic Sites ( 26 )

52 East 1st Street

From at least 1983 until 2018, Cuban exile writer, playwright, and activist Ana María Simo owned and lived in the third-floor apartment of this tenement building, where she hosted a... Learn More

31 Union Square West

Fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and art director Juan Ramos had a 27-year professional collaboration that reinvigorated and redefined fashion illustration at a time when photography was being prioritized for advertising.... Learn More

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

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

432 West 14th Street

A portion of the ground floor and part of the basement of this former market building in the Meatpacking District was the home of Bar Room 432 from 1990 to... Learn More

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

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

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

70 Grove Street

The commercial space of this building held several lesbian bars from the 1970s to the 1990s, beginning with the Duchess in 1972. Pandora’s Box, the last lesbian bar to occupy... Learn More

21 Grove Street

Artist Félix González-Torres was known for his conceptual, minimalist art installations that employed everyday objects to reflect on his experiences as an openly gay Cuban-American wrestling with both the personal... Learn More

78-11 Roosevelt Avenue

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

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

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

78th Street & 37th Avenue

This street sign in Jackson Heights commemorates Julio Rivera, a gay Puerto Rican man who in 1990 was brutally attacked by three skinheads in the nearby schoolyard and soon after... Learn More

301 West 39th Street

La Escuelita (the “Little School”), an LGBT nightclub known for its Latin House music, drag shows, and balls, opened c. 1970 and had several locations, all on the west side.... Learn More

10 Bleecker Street

Medusa’s Revenge, the pioneering lesbian multicultural performance and community space, was founded by Cuban exiles Ana María Simo and Magaly Alabau in 1976. Located in the vast basement of this... Learn More

315 East 68th Street

The writer Mercedes de Acosta, known for her tell-all autobiography that detailed her love affairs with some of the world’s most famous women, lived in this apartment building in the... Learn More

405 East 54th Street

In 1986, following the death of his partner Leslie Blanchard, Miguel Braschi received an eviction notice from the landlord of the apartment they had shared for ten years because he... Learn More

Pelham Bay Park

Orchard Beach, sometimes referred to as “the Bronx Riviera,” has long been a meeting and cruising location for LGBT people of color, in particular. Learn More

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

Jacob Riis Park

The isolated eastern end of the beach at Jacob Riis Park has been a location for LGBT sunbathing and cruising since the 1940s. Historically, it has been the most popular... Learn More

23 Riverside Drive

Cuban-born gay rights activist Tony Segura lived in an apartment in this building facing Riverside Park on the Upper West Side by 1953 and until 1959. While here, he co-founded... Learn More

59-61 East 4th Street

Formed in 1980, WOW (Women’s One World) Café Theatre is considered one of the premiere centers for lesbian, women’s, and transgender theater in New York. It has performed in this... Learn More

300 Fort Washington Avenue

Widely regarded as one of the most important openly gay Puerto Rican writers of the 20th century, Manuel Ramos Otero developed an explicitly gay literature that transcended the canons of... Learn More

24 West 25th Street

With its inaugural broadcast in April 1994, HoMoVISIONES was the first Latino LGBT public access television program in New York City. Between 1995 and 2000, HoMoVISIONES leased an office on... Learn More

26 West 56th Street

In 1994, a coalition of mostly Latina lesbians from three lesbian activist groups executed a months-long protest campaign against homophobic radio show El Vacilón de la Mañana and its parent... Learn More