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Upper West Side Gay Timeline


1947    Future gay political icon Harvey Milk, then a Long Island teenager, is reportedly arrested for indecent exposure in Central Park's Ramble.

1950s–'60s    The Cork Club (south side of W. 72nd St.) is a small but popular gay hangout.

1960    The West Side YMCA (5 W. 63rd St. at Central Park West) is reportedly a known male cruising spot, and as one patron put it, "virtually a gay hotel," despite management's best efforts to the contrary.

1967    Columbia University becomes one of the first colleges to recognize a gay student organization, the Student Homophile League.

1969    The infamous Continental Baths open in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel at 2109 Broadway, (between 73rd and 74th Sts.); wildly popular on the gay scene, the Baths were not only a place to hook up, but to hear some of the era's top talent, including Peter Allen, Labelle, the Pointer Sisters, and Bette Midler, the last of whom launches her singing career here and earns the nickname "Bathhouse Betty."

1970    After walking from the Village in the first Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March, activists hold the first "gay-in" at Central Park's Sheep Meadow.

1978    Sportscaster and Olympic gold medal figure skater Dick Button is one of six gay men severely beaten by youths with baseball bats in Central Park's Ramble.

1998    Will & Grace debuts, and the TV duo (and eventually Jack) reside at 155 Riverside Dr. (between 87th and 88th Sts.)

1999    Sex and the City's Miranda Hobbes buys her first apartment at 331 W. 78th St. (a fictitious address, but between West End Ave. and Riverside Dr.).


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