Daily digest: Housing development for LGBTQ seniors breaks ground in Boston, multiple gay bars face demolition in Austin, and more

Pride Edition

Daily digest: Housing development for LGBTQ seniors breaks ground in Boston, multiple gay bars face demolition in Austin, and more

(Cecilie Johnsen/Unsplash)

As Pride Month nears its end (and the festivities in New York and several other cities ramp up), AN has compiled a special edition of the Daily digest focused exclusively on the LGBTQ+ community. Sourced from around the country—from Long Island to Long Beach, Austin to Boston–these stories touch on a range of pertinent topics, including affordable housing, historic preservation, public art, and more.

The AN office is closed this coming Monday but we’ll be back in action on Tuesday—some team members freshly returned from the 2022 AIA Conference on Architecture in Chicago—with all the latest need-to-know architecture and design news. Have a safe weekend and, more so now than ever, remember to be kind to one another. Happy Pride.

New England’s first affordable housing development for LGBTQ+ seniors breaks ground in Boston

Work is now officially underway on the conversion of an erstwhile middle school in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood into an LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing development for senior residents. Dubbed the Pryde, the 74-unit complex is a project headed by developer Pennrose and local nonprofit LGBTQ Senior Housing, Inc. It is touted as the first residential facility of its kind in New England. Originally built as a high school in 1899 and subsequently expanded twice in the early 20th-century, the Everett Street building has been vacant since 2015.

Funding for the project includes $3.8 million from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and an additional $4 million from the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Housing. Eight of the 74 income-restricted units will be earmarked for families or individuals experiencing homeless, as reported by NBC Boston.

“This new development will be an incredible asset to the neighborhood, offering not just housing, but gardens, walking trails, an art studio with gallery space, and other community benefits to truly make our LGBTQ+ seniors feel at home,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in a statement.

H/t to NBC Boston

Revisit the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ design luminaries

Architectural Digest has compiled an exhaustive list of LGBTQ+ milestones in the world of design. A slew of notable architects appear on the list—Louis Sullivan, Julia Morgan, Bruce Goff, Paul Rudolph, Charles Moore, and Charles Renfro among them—as does a choice quote from Steel Magnolias regarding track lighting.

H/t to Architectural Digest

Long Beach mulls creating a cultural district around its historic LGBTQ drag

The Broadway Corridor, a roughly three-mile-long stretch of East Broadway in Long Beach, California, has long served as the epicenter of gay life in the coastal Southern California city. Now, plans are in the works to formally recognize the area as a cultural district. Outgoing Long Beach Mayor and congressional hopeful Robert Garcia (he’s the first openly gay mayor of the city) has proposed the plan, noting that “everyone knows it [the Broadway Corridor] as the heart of the LGBTQ community but if there’s a way to make sure that history is preserved, that’s what we’re trying to do.” The last cultural district to be officially designed by the city was Cambodia Town in Central Long Beach in 2007.

H/t to The Long Beach Post

The oldest gay bar in Austin faces demolition

Pride Month in Austin, Texas, has taken a decidedly disheartening turn for many in that city’s LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this month, the Austin Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to deny and indefinitely postpone historic zoning for the 200 block of West Fourth Street in the city’s Warehouse District. The move effectively paves the way for a redevelopment scheme anchored by a 40-story residential tower. The block in question serves as the epicenter of queer nightlife in Austin and is home to a trio of LGBTQ-friendly watering holes-slash-dance clubs including Oilcan Harry’s, which first opened for business 32 years ago and is the longest-running gay bar in the city. Without landmark protection, the existing establishments at 201–213 West Fourth will be demolished. (Another nearby LGBTQ bar, the Iron Bear, is also set to be razed.)

As detailed by The Real Deal, Houston-based developer Hanover Group has pledged to divide the tower’s ground-level commercial space between a gay-owned eatery and a new Oilcan Harry’s. Although many have decried the development plans, others—including the management of Oilcan Harry’s—support the demolition and have praised Hanover Group for working with the community on a solution in which the bar will live on, albeit in a new home.

“Those of us who serve on land use boards know that developers will often tell you anything to get what they want while doing nothing, but I’ve been seriously impressed by the level of outreach by this developer and the builders to the LGBTQ community,” said Jessica Cohen, chair of Austin’s Board of Adjustment and the only openly trans woman serving on a land use board in Texas.

H/t to The Real Deal

Sally Ride statue unveiled at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island

Last week The Cradle of Aviation Museum dedicated a 7-foot-tall bronze statue of Dr. Sally Ride at its Garden City, New York, campus. The Los Angeles-born astronaut and physicist, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012 at the age of 61, was a trailblazing space explorer in more ways than one. In 1983, five years after joining NASA, Ride became the youngest American astronaut to travel to space and the first American woman to do so. Ride was also the first known space-exploring member of the LGBTQ community.

Made possible by documentary filmmaker Steven C. Barber, the statue of Ride, entitled The First Woman in Space, was unveiled at the museum with the assistance of four local students who had written essays about Ride and her accomplishments.

Designed by Colorado-based Lundeen Sculpture, The First Woman in Space is the first public monument in America depicting a woman astronaut.

H/t to CBS New York

Discover seven landmarked New York sites with ties to LGBTQ+ history with a new interactive tool

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has released a neighborhood-hopping interactive story map highlighting seven individual buildings designated as historic landmarks primarily due to their LGBTQ+ significance. Six of the seven sites were designated by the LPC in 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion; the Stonewall Inn itself was landmarked in 2015. While most of the sites are in Manhattan—a former Soho firehouse that serves as headquarters of the Gay Activists Alliance in the early 1970s and the former Upper West Side home of James Baldwin among them—the list does venture to the outer boroughs with the inclusion of the former Staten Island home of lesbian African American novelist, poet, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde.

H/t to 6sqft

Columbia GSAPP students release new project documenting the LGBTQ+ history of Harlem

Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (QSAPP), an organization comprised of queer-identifying students and alumni (along with allies) of Columbia’s University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), has released Disappearing Queer Spaces, a multidisciplinary project charting the history of long-gone spaces that played formidable roles in the Harlem Renaissance. They include the legendary Savoy Ballroom and the Hotel Olga.

“These were safe spaces that the queer community felt comfortable utilizing and having drag balls,” 2021–2022 QSAPP co-chair Abriannah Aiken explained to Columbia’s Neighbors. Without these safe spaces, the queer community would not have existed in the way that it did in the Harlem Renaissance.”

H/t to Neighbors