overview

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

Featured Historic Sites ( 11 )

A
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

B
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

C
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

D
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

E
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

F
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

G
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 lived... Learn More

H
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

I
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

J
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

K
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

Other Curated Themes

7 Sites

Transgender History

25 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

17 Sites

Communities of Color

24 Sites

Activism Outside Manhattan

18 Sites

Literary New York

13 Sites

Downtown Arts Scene

21 Sites

City of Immigrants

17 Sites

1970s Lesbian Activism & Community

7 Sites

The Bronx

8 Sites

Brooklyn Heights

7 Sites

Jackson Heights

12 Sites

Staten Island

10 Sites

Why We March

15 Sites

Village Pride Tour

20 Sites

Gay Activists Alliance

13 Sites

The Harlem Renaissance

12 Sites

Jewish New York

18 Sites

Pre-20th Century History

23 Sites

Bars & Nightlife

13 Sites

Activism Before Stonewall

22 Sites

Homophobia & Transphobia

43 Sites

Broadway Theater District

11 Sites

Influential Black New Yorkers

13 Sites

Early Community Centers

13 Sites

Lesbian Life Before Stonewall

25 Sites

LGBT-Named Public Schools

15 Sites

Art & Architecture

10 Sites

National Register Listings

21 Sites

Spotlight on the Theater