9. Check out the largest collection of materials by and about the Lesbian community
With a reputation as one of New York City’s friendliest neighborhoods for members of the LGBTQ+ community, Park Slope is home to establishments like the Lesbian Herstory Archives — home to the world’s largest collection of materials by and about Lesbians and their communities. Located at 484 14th Street, its roots can be traced back to 1972 when a group of mostly gay men and women and graduates of the City University of New York founded the Gay Academic Union. The Union aimed to represent the concerns of Lesbian and gay students, teachers, and workers. However, within a year, several of the participating women felt there needed to be a separate space to discuss sexism present within the organization, since Lesbian history was “disappearing as quickly as it was being made.” Two consciousness-raising groups formed, one of which became the founding site for the Lesbian Herstory Archives. With an emphasis on reframing Lesbian history — which had previously been largely viewed through a patriarchal lens — the Lesbian Herstory Archives centered its focus on studying topics ranging from Lesbian-Feminism to political Lesbianism.
A year later, the archives would publish their first free newsletter and move into Nestle’s Upper West Side apartment on 92nd Street. For the first 10 years of the organization, Edel and Nestle aimed to foster trust within the community by keeping all of the Archive’s services free, not seeking any government funding, and building grassroots support. They were able to accomplish this by spreading the word on their project in journal issues, photographs, and letters and holding a variety of venues in living rooms, synagogues, women’s festivals, and gay churches. During this time, other influential leaders in the gay liberation movement would join the Lesbian Herstory Archives, including grassroots Lesbian historian Judith Schwartz and New York-New Jersey activist Georgia Brooks, who hosted the organization’s first Black Lesbian studies group. In 1993, the Archives moved into their current Park Slope home, using the larger location to increase their outreach and grassroots community organizing efforts. Another LGBTQ+ establishment in Park Slope includes Ginger’s, one of the cities oldest Lesbian bars. In addition, the neighborhood was once home to the Transy House Collective, which sheltered trans and gender-nonconforming people from 1995 to 2008.