The beloved yet heartbreaking story of Angels in America has come to Broadway’s stage again. Our partnership with the show inspired us to take a look at the New York City spaces and people important to LGBTQIA+ history. Admire Emma Stebbins’s Angel of the Waters sculpture in Bethesda Fountain (which appears at the end of Angels!) or grab a drink at Julius’s, the city’s oldest gay bar. Visit these places before sitting for the two-part production to contextualize the immensely powerful and distressing history tackled in the play.
14 Historic LGBTQIA+ Sites in NYC
Kelsey Montague’s Angel Wings250 West 52nd Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)
You may recognize Kelsey Montague’s angel wings from Taylor Swift’s Nolita snap. This global artist created personalized fuchsia and cobalt wings for Angels in America, which you can see outside the Neil Simon Theater on West 52nd Street. But you won’t be able to get a ’gram of the second pair unless you buy tickets to this two-part show.
“Angel of the Waters”72 Terrace Drive (in Central Park)
Lesbian artist Emma Stebbins created the first public artwork by a woman in New York City. Her sculpture, Angel of the Waters, in Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, features prominently in the final scene of Angels in America’s part two, Perestroika.
Alice Austen’s House2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island
Alice Austen ignored all societal norms in her professional and personal life. She photographed striking portraits of women in drag, shocking visual statements for the Victorian era, which became iconic images for the trans community.
Eve Addams’s Tearoom129 MacDougal Street (between West 3rd and West 4th Streets)
Where the café La Lanterna di Vittorio now stands was, in 1925, a popular post-theater dining destination called Eve Addams’s Tearoom. The founder, a Polish-Jewish lesbian immigrant, placed a sign outside stating “Men allowed but not welcome.” She was eventually deported for “obscene behavior.”
Lesbian Herstory Archives484 14th Street (between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West), Brooklyn
Lesbian Herstory Archives collects written materials about and by lesbians. This archive’s mission is to retain these records for future generations to find parallels and inspiration.
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art26 Wooster Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
This museum provides a space for the creative LGBTQ community to discuss art from a queer perspective. The exhibitions interplay the visual and social implications of the presented artworks.
NYC AIDs Memorial200-218 West 12th Street (between Greenwich and Seventh Avenues)
This modern white memorial commemorates the men, women, and children who perished from AIDs. It sits across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, which served the Greenwich Village community for more than 150 years and was known most prominently for its immense role in treating AIDs patients in the 1980s.
Via Carota51 Grove Street (between Bleecker Street and Seventh Avenue)
Power couple Rita Sodi and Jody Williams joined forces to create this Italian hot spot on Grove Street. Definitely have a bar or two in mind to visit before heading over, as wait times sometimes exceed three hours.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe126 Crosby Street (between Prince and Houston Streets)
For three decades, Housing Works Bookstore has worked to end the joint crises of homelessness and AIDS through a three-prong approach, consisting of government action, health agency commitment, and the general support from AIDs activists from all groups.
Apollo Theater253 West 125th Street (between Seventh Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard)
From the 1930s to 1970s, the Apollo was a vibrant performance space for both the black and LGBT artistic community. Famously, Stormé DeLarverie performed her solo drag show there in the 1960s.