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LGBTQ+ Pride Through The Decades

Our Historic Image Archive includes thousands of photos documenting the people and architecture of the Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, as well as New York City, from the late 18th to the early 21st century. In honor of Pride, today we explore some of our LGBTQ+ digital photo archives.

Onlookers on a Fire Escape, with Rainbow Decorations, June 27, 1993. Image by Robert Fisch, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.

In 2021, longtime Greenwich Village resident Robert Fisch donated his collection of photographs from the 1980s through today, documenting the Greenwich Village of his youth in the 1980s, landmarks and familiar sights of the neighborhood and city in the decades since then.

“Grandma For Gays” Norma Issacs with son E.G. Smith at Fifth Ave. & 28th Street, Gay Pride Parade, June 28, 1992. Image by Robert Fisch, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.

His photography meshed with his coming of age in the LGBT community; he documented his attendance at meetings of “Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York” at the Gay And Lesbian Community Center on West 13th Street. In addition, he took many photos of the annual NYC Gay Pride Parade.

June, 1983 Pride March. Image by Robert Fisch, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.
Street Fair, Gay and Lesbian Youth in New York table, Greenwich Village, April 30, 1983. Image by Robert Fisch, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.

Jillian Jonas was the house photographer at the legendary boy bar on St. Mark’s Place in the mid-1990’s, where she captured thousands of images of drag performers who mixed gender-bending and illusion with downtown in-your-face attitude. Her first collection and second collection include images not only from boy bar, but the Gay Pride Festival, the Pyramid Club, Wigstock, and various other downtown nightlife, LGBTQ+ events, and performance venues of the early-to-mid 1990s.

Jessica Fox, Gay Pride, West Side Piers below Houston Street, June 26, 1994. Image by Jillian Jonas, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.
Pyramid Club, 101 Ave A, Linda Simpson’s Miss Liberation Pageant, with Linda Simpson (r.) June 19, 1994. Image by Jillian Jonas, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.

Her pictures capture a golden age of LGBTQ+ nightlife and performance, as well as an edgy slice of life when drag and blurred boundaries of gender were just beginning to make inroads into the broader public consciousness, largely through this vibrant local scene. 

Randella (c.) and Friends (her left Neil Lochary, her right Michael Chitalis), Gay Pride Festival, Greenwich Village waterfront (near Houston Street), June 25, 1994. Image by Jillian Jonas, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive.

Click here to see the Robert Fisch collection. Click here to see Jillian Jonas collection #1 and here for #2. Click here to read more about the history of Pride. Do you have historic Pride photos to share? Please contact us!


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