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
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.

Featured Historic Sites ( 20 )

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

207 St. Paul's Avenue

Acclaimed Black lesbian feminist, writer, and activist Audre Lorde lived here with her partner, Frances Clayton, and two children from 1972 to 1987. While here, Lorde was a prolific writer... Learn More

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

5 Patchin Place

Djuna Barnes was one of the first writers of lesbian literature, publishing three texts directly related to lesbianism, including Nightwood (1936), the first American novel that dealt frankly with the topic. From... Learn More

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 writers... Learn More

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 the early... Learn More

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

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 bisexual characters.... Learn More

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

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

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 Raisin... Learn More

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

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 enlarged)... Learn More

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

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

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

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

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. The... 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

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

Other Curated Themes

14 Sites

Transgender History

26 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

17 Sites

Communities of Color

24 Sites

Activism Outside Manhattan

13 Sites

Downtown Arts Scene

21 Sites

City of Immigrants

18 Sites

1970s Lesbian Activism & Community

7 Sites

The Bronx

11 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

14 Sites

Jewish New York

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