Project has led in saving L.G.B.T. sites
BY GABE HERMAN
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is a young
organization, headed by veteran preservationists,
that is having a big impact in protecting
local L.G.B.T. sites, plus increasing awareness of the
community’s importance to the city and country.
The Project was founded in 2015 by Andrew Dolkart,
Ken Lustbader and Jay Shockley, who have been
L.G.B.T. preservation advocates for more than 25
years. Many of their efforts have focused on Greenwich
Village, where both Lustbader and Shockley
The project’s three co-directors work pro bono on
it. There is one paid staffer, manager Amanda Davis.
The Project’s Web site has mapped 175 historical
and cultural sites in the fi ve boroughs that are associated
with the L.G.B.T. community. Shockley said they
plan to increase that soon to 200, and are working on
documenting every Broadway theater with connections
to the community.
“Our project virtually is the history of New York
City, but done through an L.G.B.T. lens,” Shockley
said. Sites date back to the 17th century, and go up to
as recent as 2000. In keeping with the preservationist
spirit, only sites still in existence are mapped.
Shockley said the L.G.B.T. community has had an
outsized impact on American history and culture,
but that some friends and colleagues of the project’s
founders didn’t understand their mission at fi rst.
“Even within the gay community, there was this
self-imposed myth that there was no history prior to
Stonewall,” Shockley said.
Some people they knew also questioned whether
there were important sites beyond gay bars.
“We had to destroy those two myths,” he said.
The Project launched with the fi rst-ever L.G.B.T.
grant from the National Park Service, for $50,000,
from the agency’s Underrepresented Community
Some of the categories of sites that the Project
maps include performance venues, medical facilities,
residences, public spaces and cultural and educational
the NYC LGBT
Historic Sites Project,
from left, Jay Shockley,
Andrew Dolkart, Amanda
Davis and Ken Lustbader.
And the Project was instrumental in recently getting
six L.G.B.T. historic sites calendared by the city’s
Landmarks Preservation Commission. The hearing is
set for June, which is also the 50th anniversary of the
Those six sites include Caffe Cino and the L.G.B.T.
Community Center in the Village, the Women’s Liberation
Center in Chelsea, and the Gay Activists Alliance
Firehouse in Soho.
“We are thrilled that our research was a catalyst for
the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s review of
cultural landmarks, which highlight the rich L.G.B.T.
history of New York City,” said Dolkart in a statement
when the six sites were calendared. “We met with the
commission’s chairperson, Sarah Carroll, and her
staff to discuss how important L.G.B.T.-related sites
are to the history of New York, and are pleased that
these cultural sites may soon be designated alongside
the city’s architectural landmarks, adding to the diversity
of places offi cially recognized by the city.”
The roots of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
go back to the early 1990s, according to Shockley. The
group’s founders were involved in 1993 in a mapping
project with the Organization of Lesbian and Gay
Architects and Designers, or OLGAD. A networking
group, it was one of the fi rst efforts by gay people to
connect professionally, Shockley said.
The map was the fi rst L.G.B.T. site-based history
project in America, and half of the sites were in the
“We were the fi rst people in the Unites States to
connect the fact that the L.G.B.T. community had history,”
Shockley worked at L.P.C. for more than 35 years,
where he started to incorporate L.G.B.T history into
designation reports, many of them concerning Village
In 1994, there was a push to landmark the Stonewall
Inn on the riots’ 25th anniversary. But the attempt
didn’t succeed until fi ve years later, when
Shockley and Dolkart were lead authors in the Stonewall
The Stonewall Inn was declared a national monument
“Everything from Stonewall came from people in
our project,” Shockley said. “Obama didn’t wave a
magic wand when it became a national monument.
We did the groundwork.”
And the Project’s work continues, as it has been
recognized with preservation awards. The organization
was given the New York State Historic Preservation
Award last November, and in 2019 the Excellence
in Historic Preservation Award from the Preservation
League of New York State.
Shockley acknowledged the magnitude of the Project
trying to map so many sites related to the L.G.B.T.
community, especially because there isn’t just a single
topic on which to focus.
“Our community has impacted everything that has
ever happened in this city,” he said.
Port Authority eyes three rebuild options
BY GABE HERMAN
The Port Authority has taken a
step toward a replacement plan
for its aging bus terminal, outlining
three possible options in Midtown.
On May 23, the Port Authority of
New York and New Jersey released a
scoping document, kicking off a formal
environmental review process and
a 120-day period for public comments
from residents and offi cials. This will
include two public hearings each in New
York and New Jersey. Specifi c dates for
those have not been set, but they will be
sometime in July and September.
In the document, the Port Authority
has narrowed its replacement options to
three, one of which would be to rebuild
on the current terminal site, bounded
by Eighth and Ninth Aves. and W. 40th
and 42nd Sts.
The document notes about this plan,
“Although there would be challenges,
the PANYNJ would maintain, to the
greatest extent practicable, bus operations
during construction and would
seek to address impacts on the community
A second option would use the lower
level of the nearby Jacob Javits Center
— between 34th and 38th Sts. west of
11th Ave. — as a bus terminal. Potential
design and construction problems with
this plan include part of the West Side
Highway having to be raised, and part
of the Lincoln Tunnel having to be shut
down, according to the document.
A third option would move intercity
buses to the lower level of the Javits
Center, while renovating the existing
Port Authority site for commuter use.
Challenges to this last scenario include
compliance with the Americans With
Disabilities Act, accommodating heavier,
taller and longer buses, and incorporating
new building, bus operation and
passenger technologies, the document
Estimated costs for a new Port Authority
bus terminal have reached as
high as $10 billion. In 2017, the Port
Authority’s board allocated $3.5 billion
for a replacement as part of a 10-year
In 2016, Hell’s Kitchen residents
fought off a proposal to rebuild the Port
Authority on nearby blocks on the West
Side, including potentially demolishing
buildings in the neighborhood.
The current bus terminal was built
in 1950 and expanded in 1981. It sees
about 260,000 passenger trips on weekdays.
By 2040, the Port Authority estimates
that demand is expected to grow
by 30 percent, with as many as 337,000
weekday passenger trips.
“Today’s kickoff of the formal public
outreach process for the new bus terminal
is a critical milestone for what will
be one of the largest and most important
transit infrastructure projects in
the country,” said Kevin O’Toole, Port
Authority chairperson. “We are strongly
committed to replacing this legacy,
overcapacity facility, and look forward
to a spirited dialogue with all stakeholders
on how the project will proceed.”
Rick Cotton, Port Authority executive
director, added, “We are committed to
building the replacement bus terminal
and to do so in full consultation with
the community, with elected offi cials
in both New York and New Jersey, and
with all stakeholders.”
The Port Authority expects the replacement
project to be completed by
2030, according to the scoping document.
Public comments about the scoping
document can be submitted at https://
8 May 30 - June 12, 2019 MEX Schneps Media