Though here earlier, Jewish immigrants arrived in New York City in significant numbers from Germany in the mid-19th century and then in particularly large waves from Eastern Europe beginning in 1881.

LGBT Jewish New Yorkers featured in this curated theme mostly descended from working-class immigrant families and made a profound impact on the American arts scene, LGBT activism, and religious life. These include composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, poet Allen Ginsberg, archivist and activist Joan Nestle, PFLAG co-founder Jeanne Manford, those associated with Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, and more.

We continue to research sites that highlight the contributions of LGBT Jewish New Yorkers. Submit your suggestions here.

Header Photo
Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, c. 1940. Photo by Victor Kraft. Source: Library of Congress, Music Division, Aaron Copland Collection.

Featured Historic Sites ( 14 )

129 MacDougal Street

Eve Adams, the name adopted by a Polish-Jewish lesbian émigré, operated a popular gay and lesbian tearoom in this rowhouse near Washington Square in Greenwich Village, from 1924 to 1926.... Learn More

103-17 115th Street

Renowned gay rights pioneer Franklin (“Frank”) E. Kameny grew up in this semi-detached brick house from 1925 to 1948. Kameny, who frequently visited his parents’ house until 1979, became a... Learn More

481 Eighth Avenue

Considered one of the first, great pioneers of LGBT rights in the early 20th century, German-Jewish physician and sexologist, Magnus Hirschfeld, arrived in New York in November 1930 to begin... Learn More

44 West 63rd Street

Composer Aaron Copland – one of the most celebrated figures in classical music – lived in the Hotel Empire from 1936 to 1947 during the height of his career. While... Learn More

217 Mott Street, rear

Behind this tenement building is another building at the back of the lot that was the home of civil rights activists, conscientious objectors, and pacifists Igal Roodenko, from 1947 to... Learn More

205 West 57th Street

Leonard Bernstein, perhaps the most influential figure in American classical music during the post-war era, lived in the Osborne Apartments from 1951 until c. 1960. During this time he wrote... Learn More

26 West 56th Street

Between May 1959 and early 1964, fashion designer Arnold Scaasi used this building, which he owned, as his design studio, showrooms, and residence. Scaasi would later gain worldwide attention when... Learn More

170 East 2nd Street

A founding figure of the Beat Generation, one of the 20th century’s most important literary movements, the openly gay poet Allen Ginsberg lived in this tenement building with his “life-long... Learn More

117 East 81st Street

Jerome Robbins was a renowned Broadway choreographer of musicals such as West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof, and director and choreographer of some of the most popular ballets of the... Learn More

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

33-23 171st Street

In 1972, Queens schoolteacher Jeanne Manford publicly spoke out in support of her gay son Morty at a time when homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder by the... Learn More

215 West 92nd Street

From 1974 to 2002, apartment 13A in this Upper West Side building was the residence of Joan Nestle, an influential lesbian activist and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. A... Learn More

603 3rd Street

Best known for his 1970s Frog and Toad picture books, heralded as classics of children’s literature, award-winning author and illustrator Arnold Lobel lived in this Park Slope rowhouse from 1973... Learn More

211 Central Park West

Many of the most popular lyrics of the American Songbook from the 1920s and 1930s were the work of Lorenz Hart, who lived at the Beresford from 1935 to 1939.... 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

12 Sites

Brooklyn Heights

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

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