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On June 28, 1969, Greenwich Village—known for being New York City’s epicenter of bohemian culture—became the center of the country’s gay rights movement. Early that morning, patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar, fought back against police during an anti-gay raid. That uprising, now known as the Stonewall Rebellion, is among the subjects covered in Out in the City, a new documentary which premiered January 16 on Logo.
Directed by George Hickenlooper, the 22-minute doc follows gay and lesbian New Yorkers as they tour Manhattan by bus, commenting on life (and lifestyles) in the City. Elizabeth Ziff (of the band Betty) explains that NYC is remarkable because “you can wear a feather boa and a headdress and walk down the street, and no one cares,” while Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz describe New York as a great place to raise a family. But it’s Time Out New York‘s Adam Feldman who, perhaps, says it best: “No matter what kind of person you are, you’re going to be able to find someone like you.” That’s the core of New York’s promise, and why the City is a hub of gay life.
Once you’ve seen the film, explore the places that made NYC its natural subject. The Stonewall Inn is a landmark and a lively bar. Across the street, Christopher Park features George Segal’s Gay Liberation monument—sculptures of two same-sex couples in affectionate poses. It’s a fitting tribute to the City’s sense of inclusiveness and to a simple yet profound goal of the movement: acceptance. Farther south, SoHo’s Leslie/Lohman Gallery at the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation exhibits works by gay artists, including painting, drawing and photography. And the West Village’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center is the place to go to get help starting a family, joining a book club and almost everything in between. Visitors will also want to see the Keith Haring Bathroom—which is now actually a meeting room—where the artist created a stunning (if not exactly kid-friendly) mural that celebrates gay sexuality.
And while the West Village and Chelsea are two of New York’s most famous gay neighborhoods, your visit shouldn’t end there. The Jackson Heights section of Queens is one of the City’s, if not America’s, most diverse neighborhoods and boasts a dynamic gay nightlife. Countless LGBT families come home to Brooklyn’s cozy Park Slope. And Harlem teems with thriving gay-owned businesses. Gay Men of African Descent Executive Director Tokes Osubu says that in New York, “your sexual orientation…almost becomes secondary,” and he’s right. NYC is more than home to a thriving gay community—it’s a place where everyone is welcome in the community at large. Out in the City captures that spirit and invites people from far and wide to come share it.
See our Gay section for more.