BY MARTHA WILKIE | The Village was bursting with Pride this past week for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Is there a link between the architectural charm of the Village and its role as a center of L.G.B.T.Q. life? In “A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture,” Will Fellows argues there is. He quotes a gay man as saying, “It’s an aesthetic capacity, an appreciation of beauty in old things.”
Ken Lustbader is co-director of the nonprofit NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. NYCLGBTsites.org offers some fascinating facts. For example, did you know that the 1860 “Angel of the Waters” sculpture in Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain was designed by a lesbian?
“As we celebrate Stonewall 50, it’s important to recognize the diversity of L.G.B.T.Q. historic and cultural sites in the Village,” Lustbader said. “We’re fortunate that many of these buildings survive, providing residents and tourists with a cultural landscape.”
He wrote what may be one of the earliest academic papers on the subject.
“Over 25 years ago, in the Columbia University Historic Preservation Program, my thesis focused on the intersection of preservation and L.G.B.T.Q. history,” he said. “I used the Village as case study, looking at bars, restaurants and residences embedded with historical narratives.
“Today we’re working to make an invisible history visible,” he said. “Recognition provides a visceral, tangible connection to place, as well as the intangible benefits of pride, memory, identity and community.”
Here are four gorgeously preserved homes in the Village:
A three-bedroom, four-bath co-op in an 1848 Federal-style townhouse on Horatio St. has four wood-burning fireplaces and Farrow & Ball wallpaper, making it extra-fabulous. $2.75 million.
One Sheridan Square is a 1920 New York City landmark building. A penthouse home there (two bedrooms, one bath) features a working fireplace and elegant French doors that open from each room onto a private roof terrace. $2.5 million.
Built in 1822, the oldest wood-frame house in the Village has charming shutters, original interior woodwork, wide pine floorboards, and wood-burning fireplaces. There’s even a secret subterranean passage that used to go to Chumley’s, back in the speakeasy days. Six and a half baths, four bedrooms. $12 million.
On tree-lined historic Grove St., a one-bath loft rental with high ceilings is available at $3,290 a month.