overview

New York City has long been home to a wide range of literary figures, including the 19th century poet Walt Whitman, whose famously homoerotic “Calamus” poems was one of the first to openly express the concept of men loving men.

Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt (1952) was the first lesbian novel to feature a happy ending, and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1955) brought more complex and realistic portrayals of gay and bisexual characters to the page.

This curated collection explores the homes of LGBT writers, poets, and novelists whose contributions to American literature include beloved children’s books, more realistic portrayals of people of color, and LGBT-thematic works.

Header Photo caption

Bisexual poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, shown here c. 1920-1923, lived on Bedford Street in the mid-1920s. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

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Featured Historic Sites (18)

A
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
B
207 St. Paul's Avenue
Acclaimed Black lesbian feminist, writer, and activist Audre Lorde lived here with her partner and two children from 1972 to 1987. While here, Lorde was a prolific writer who authored... Learn More
C
104 West 136th Street
Renamed for the noted gay poet Countee Cullen in 1951, this library was the first in the New York Public Library system to be named in honor of an African... Learn More
Cultural & Educational Institutions
D
5 Patchin Place
Djuna Barnes was one of the first writers of lesbian literature, publishing three texts directly related to lesbianism, including Nigthwood (1936), the first American novel that dealt frankly with the... Learn More
E
75 1/2 Bedford Street
Openly bisexual poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lived in this narrow house from the fall of 1923 to the spring of 1925. Millay, considered one of the most significant figures... Learn More
F
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... Learn More
G
441 East 9th Street
The poet Frank O’Hara lived at this address with his on-again, off-again lover Joe LeSueur from 1959 to 1963. Buildings of the East Village neighborhood surrounding O’Hara’s apartment are featured... Learn More
H
81 Horatio Street
From 1958 to 1961, author and civil rights activist James Baldwin rented an apartment in this building, where he continued work on his third novel, Another Country (1962), which included... Learn More
I
137 West 71st Street
Literary icon and civil rights activist James Baldwin used this Upper West Side remodeled rowhouse as his New York City residence from 1965 until his death in 1987. Although he... Learn More
J
20 East 127th Street
Langston Hughes, celebrated poet and leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, lived on the top floor of this Harlem rowhouse from 1947 to 1967. While here, Hughes wrote many notable... Learn More
K
112 Waverly Place
In 1960, playwright Lorraine Hansberry bought this building with money earned from her award-winning play, A Raisin in the Sun (1959). Remaining active in the civil rights movement, Hansberry began a relationship... Learn More
L
337 Bleecker Street
From 1953 to 1960, playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry resided in the third-floor apartment of this building. While here, Hansberry lived parallel lives: one as the celebrated playwright of A... Learn More
M
121 Charles Street
From 1942 until her death in 1952, Margaret Wise Brown – the best-selling children’s book author of The Runaway Bunny, Goodnight Moon, and other stories – used this “Cobble Court” house (since... Learn More
N
29 West 9th Street
The award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak lived and worked in a duplex apartment in this Greenwich Village rowhouse from 1962 to 1972, with his life partner, psychoanalyst... Learn More
O
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
P
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
Q
48 Grove Street
The writer Patricia Highsmith lived in a one-bedroom apartment here with her mother and stepfather from 1940 until 1942. The Grove Street location was featured in at least two of... Learn More
R
99 Ryerson Street
Walt Whitman and his family lived in this house when the first edition of his epochal first collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, was finished and published in June 1855.... Learn More