Protestors at the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day. Photo via New York Public Library
New York City is rooted in LGBTQ history, and as such, there are over a hundred sites in the city relevant to the movement. For over two years, historic preservationists have been hard at work researching and finding historic LGBTQ sites that were important to the history and culture of the movement. The project is being funded by the National Parks Service and includes an interactive map where people can hover over different areas to see the name of the location, the significance, and click on it for more info. In a city so filled with LGBT history, the number of sites related to the LGBT movement is almost unending and continues to be added to with each new historic revelation that is found. The New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project aims to keep uncovering LGBT history and making it available for the community to visit. Here are ten of the notable historic LGBTQ sites in NYC from the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.
10. Alice Austen House
“Alice Austen on the porch of Clear Comfort, c. 1900. Courtesy of the Alice Austen House.” Via nyclgbtsites.org
Alice Austen, born in 1866, paved the way for LGBT photography as much of her work featured women in drag and other provocative images that defied gender roles and shook the norm of the time period. She lived in the Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island house when she was a child and later moved back in with her partner, Gertrude Tate, in 1917.
The Alice Austen House was built in the 1700s and includes the ornament additions that were put in by John Austen when he bought the house. Alice had a darkroom in her closet and became one of the first well-known female photographers. Alice and Gertrude faced financial problems and attempted to make money by adding a tea room in their house which ultimately failed and the couple was evicted in 1945.
Clear Comfort almost faced demolition but Berenice Abbot and Philip Johnson, historic preservationists, worked hard to preserve the house and their attempts led to the house being made into a museum. The Alice Austen House was designated as a national site of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history on June 2oth. The Alice Austen House is only the 14th site in the United States to be given this title despite more than 92,000 sites appearing on the National Register. It’s the first site of its kind that’s centered on a visual artist.