About four months ago, I started building a small database. It was a collection of gay bars that had existed over the years around my neighborhood, the East Village in New York City.
I made it after talking with several friends who knew about bars and clubs that I had existed before I arrived in New York in 2002. The names and places that came up were so close and personal. 'Tunnel Bar' is now my hardware store. The Saint is now a bank on my block. I wanted to know them all. So I found a list of all the currently open bars and a few old gay guides and got to work. Before I knew it, I had 300 locations.
Thus came OUTgoing, a documentation of the entire history of New York’s LGBT nightlife history. It’s been a lot of joy putting it all together and the work is pretty much never done. There are around 860 locations at the moment (and it is all still being refined and cleaned up, weekly) and I expect about 300-400 more to exist.
My sources so far have been gay guides, gay history texts and word-of-mouth. Archives like the New York Public Library and The Center have been incredibly helpful in locating these sources, and there have been some folks gathering data for years behind the scenes.
This project is evolving quickly, and I’m adding pieces as rapidly as I can to get a useful and comprehensive tool built. So far, beyond just points on a map, I’ve added search (find your old haunts) and geolocation (hit the streets and find places as they are now). More is coming quickly, and so are other cities. San Francisco is slated to start at the end of the summer.
Enjoy the project, drop me a note and please consider giving $10 or $25 to the GoFundMe, which will be used for research and development – and to travel to SF to start work there.