After 42 years, the East Village’s legendary Pyramid Club has closed permanently, as was first reported by EV Grieve. The club at 101 Avenue A is “credited with creating the East Village drag and gay scenes of the 1980s, launching a new politically-conscious form of drag performance art in the early 1980s,” according to Andrew Berman of Village Preservation, and is the place where celebrated performers such as Lady Bunny and RuPaul got their start. The Pyramid Club has remained closed since the pandemic began, as nightclubs were never permitted to reopen until now, but the burden of the past year made the owners decide to shut down for good.
Their neighbor to the west Greenwich Village may be more well known as a nexus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, but the East Village and Noho are chock full of LGBT culture as well, from the site of one the very first LGBT demonstrations to the homes of some of the greatest openly-LGBT artists and writers of the 20th century to the birthplace of New York’s largest drag festival. Ahead, we round up 23 examples, from Walt Whitman’s favorite watering hole to Allen Ginsberg’s many local residences to Keith Haring’s studio.
Earlier this month, GVSHP launched its East Village Preservation effort, releasing its new website “East Village Building Blocks,” which contains historic information and images for every one of the neighborhood’s 2,200 buildings. Of course, any neighborhood spanning five centuries of history and nearly 100 blocks will reveal some surprises when you scratch the surface. But the East Village’s story has some unique and unexpected twists and turns which are brought to light by this new online tool. From the birthplace of the shag haircut to four former homes of Allen Ginsberg to the first federally-subsidized public housing project in America, here are just a few of those you’ll encounter.