Source Profile: New York Complete Gay Guide 1975

Click to see the Flickr album of the entire guide. 

Click to see the Flickr album of the entire guide. 

Part of sourcing the data for OUTgoing is going through archives and collecting bars and such for the map. One such archive is the New York Public Library. In it, I found many guides – usually in small-run, half-letter print format – which have been incredibly helpful in OUTgoing

After photographing and organizing this guide, the results were hand-logged and added to the map. I'm working in the background on automating the OCR process a bit more – I've purchased Prizmo for optical scanning. This particular source was photographed poorly (crappy document photographer: me) and had to be verified by eye. In some ways, that process of hand-verifying brings me much, much closer to the material and gains me insights. But OCR is better because it gets more spots on the map, faster. The next source will be started in OCR. 

This source was a gay guide produced in 1975. I only saw that year for this guide, but there may have been more (let me know if you find another.) What I like about these guides (and there were many in the 70s) is the bias. Looking at two separately-produced guides gives mostly the same results, but with slight differences. One guide leaves out a leather bar, one leaves out a lesbian one. You see the preferences of the editor in them. 

But that aside, here are the 96 locations we got from this one guide. I'm amazed at how many weren't covered in other 1976, 1970 guides – and it means the turnover in bars was crazy in the mid-seventies. It feels like it was a REALLY competitive business environment, and led to bars coming-and-going quickly.

Enjoy the list. Click through to see each location on the map.

* Everything is Manhattan, unless marked with a borough.  Dates are approximate until confirmed. 

> Flickr album of guide

About OUTgoing

OUTgoing: The Hidden History of New York's Gay Nightlife – is an effort to map documented historic locations of gay nightlife in New York City as far back and comprehensively as possible. 

From historic records, we’ve gathered 969 nighttime spots – bars, clubs, bathhouses, coffee houses, cruising areas, late-night diners, etc – from the 1800s to 2015. 

It is nowhere near complete, and you can help by sending edits through the form, also found at the top of the map and in location descriptions. 
> Missing or wrong locations/dates/categories
> Stories about these places 

Big thanks to:

- NYU Rudin Center, specifically Sarah Kaufman and Mitchell Moss
- Eric Brelsford, who boosted this project with the trickiest coding parts (time sliders, etc)
- Richard Dunks, who also contributed coding backup when I got stuck
- Anthony Denaro, who entered hundreds of entries from photographs while on a plane to LA
- Chrys Wu, who helped with strategy and thinking and was a great beta tester
- Joanne McNeil, for her advice and support on executing OUTgoing
- Chris Henrick, for design critiques
- The donors to the crowdfunding campaign who helped get more research done and the OCR software.
- and the whole CartoDB (now CARTO) crew.

> FAQ: 

Where are you getting your data?
Mainly gay guidebooks, which have been produced to help queers navigate strange cities since about 1966. 

  • Anything before then comes partially from texts about gay life (Gay New York, The Gay Metropolis, etc.) which have documented locations and clues to follow to find others. Also, there are municipal records – old police records and liquor licenses – but still researching those.

  • As a project that attempts to document people who are in fluid in their characters and preferences, we use anecdotal stories, hearsay and gossip to reinforce our research. dates and specifics may not be accurate, but rest assured, it makes for a good time. Tell us if you have gossip:)

  • A catalog of sources is coming very soon.

What other cities are you considering?
For the moment, New York is the one being actively built out. San Francisco has a good base of information, so it will begin development in the end of summer. It’ll require some travel. There is a GoFundMe to help with that effort. 

How are you choosing sites?
This whole process is more of an art than a science. The locations are places of business that had their main activity after dark, or supported life after dark and were popular or used by LGBTs. 

What do the data parts mean? 
Name: The name of this location and, if identical in name to another, a qualifier (v1, v2, v3, after-hours, etc). 
Open/Close dates: Approximate dates on most, more verified dates are coming. If you see one wrong, please let us know. If a date is completely unknown on both ends, it is generally listed as 5 years earlier and later, just to give a possible range. 

There is a bar on your map that isn’t gay. Why?
Some locations had a strong gay clientele for awhile then the crowd shifted. Example: The Four Seasons in the 50-60s was popular with gays but isn’t really now – so is listed only for that time approximate period.