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New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission have given six important LGBTQ sites landmark designation right in the middle of Pride Month – including the homes of famed writers James Baldwin and Audre Lorde.
According to NBC News, along with Lorde’s residence in Staten Island and Baldwin’s residence in the Upper West Side, other sites granted landmark status include Caffe Cino and The LGBT Community Center in West Village, the Women’s Liberation Center in Chelsea, and the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse in SoHo.
Lorde, a Caribbean American lesbian feminist, professor, and activist, wrote many of her famous books in her Staten Island home (located on St. Paul’s Avenue), including Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.
Baldwin, also recognized as a civil rights activist and intellectual, lived in his Manhattan Upper West Side home from 1965 until his death in 1987. Although Baldwin never self-identified as LGBTQ himself, he spoke openly about issues facing the community and wrote many novels featuring LGBTQ characters, including Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone.
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, which documents buildings tied to influential LGBTQ icons across the city, compiled a list of 200 sites in an initiative dubbed “Historic Context Statement for LGBT History in New York City.”
The organization then sent a shortered version to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which alongside New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, selected the newly designated landmarks.
“We’re thrilled that the city is recognizing these sites and establishing them as integral spaces in LGBT and American history,” Ken Lustaber, the co-directer of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project told NBC News. “Millions of people will be in New York City visiting Stonewall for its 50th anniversary, but while Stonewall marked a turning point, LGBT history predates Stonewall and the city is full of places that reflect that rich history.”
“As people from around the world gather in New York to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and World Pride, now is the perfect time to preserve our unparalleled LGBTQ history,” Johnson added in a statement. “New York City played such an important role in moving the LGBTQ civil rights movement forward and we owe it to those who fought in this movement to ensure that their legacy lives on.”