Our friend Andrew Lear wrote this fun and interesting piece on his new Oscar Wilde tour of New York:
New York is truly one of the great gay cities. Ever since the days before the Civil War, when Walt Whitman hung out with his Bohemian friends at Pfaff’s Beer Cellar at Broadway and Bleecker, it has been a major center of gay life. It is true that the city often tried to repress it, but since the late 19th century, the city has had drag shows and gay baths and bars and cafés which, if not exactly gay, tolerated openly gay behavior—or even used it as an attraction for customers. And the city has been a mecca for gay people from other, more repressive parts of America and home to an astonishing list of famous and fascinating LGBT personalities and talents, from Whitman to Bessie Smith to Cole Porter, Rudi Nureyev, Andy Warhol, and so on.