In 1981, a “rare cancer” first seen in a group of gay men primarily in New York and San Francisco eventually became a widespread epidemic more accurately known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Amidst public apathy and government inaction, groups such as the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) formed in New York in the 1980s to raise awareness and fight for an end to the disease.

This curated collection includes the residences of influential AIDS activists and artists, venues where fundraising events were held, and meeting and demonstration locations of AIDS organizations.

Header Photo caption

Demonstrator in front of the Stock Exchange, September 14, 1989. Photographer and source unknown.

On the Map

Featured Historic Sites (11)

St. Vincent's Triangle
The New York City AIDS Memorial -- dedicated on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2016 -- honors the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS since the... Learn More
143-147 West 11th Street
Beginning in the early 1980s, under the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, an organization within the Catholic Church, St. Vincent’s Hospital was “ground zero” of the AIDS epidemic in... Learn More
25 Hyatt Street
The Staten Island AIDS Task Force, now Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI), opened its first office in this building at 25 Hyatt Street in 1988. In the mid-1990s,... Learn More
2 Fifth Avenue
Author, playwright, and pioneering activist Larry Kramer resided in this Greenwich Village apartment for over three decades, until his death in 2020. His home was the founding location of Gay... Learn More
84 King Street
Between 1977 and 1987, the Paradise Garage was one of the most important and influential clubs in New York City with a devoted patronage comprised of sexual and ethnic minorities... Learn More
318 West 22nd Street
This Greek Revival rowhouse was the home of innovative record executive Melvin “Mel” Cheren and Paradise Garage founder Michael Brody beginning in 1973. In 1982, Cheren, an early AIDS activist,... Learn More
401 West 24th Street
Best remembered for his pioneering book The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, Vito Russo was also a significant gay rights and AIDS activist in the 1970s and '80s. He... Learn More
208 West 13th Street
Since 1983, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center has served as a vital support system for hundreds of thousands of people. The Center has witnessed the founding... Learn More
Wall Street & Broadway / 11 Wall Street
Formed in New York City in 1987, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (more commonly known as ACT UP) brought widespread attention to the AIDS epidemic and helped make significant... Learn More
676 Broadway
The artist Keith Haring worked in a fifth-floor studio in this building from 1985 to 1990, the last five years of his life before dying of AIDS. In this time... Learn More
45 Rivington Street
In 1995, this former public school re-opened as a 219-bed nursing home for AIDS patients, the largest of its kind in New York City. After almost twenty years of service,... Learn More