For gay culture at the turn of the twentieth century, the use of space helped to define areas of acceptable “fairy” interactions in New York City. In Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World 1890-1940, George Chauncey approaches the discussion of gay culture in two segments. He dissects the existing paradigm for gay men at the beginning of the twentieth century by encouraging the reader to consider the binary forms of gender and sexuality that are prevalent in today’s society and consider them as socially constructed ideas that have morphed and developed overtime. While the writing is engaging and the theories fascinating, what intrigued me more than anything was is concentration on the importance of spatial relations to, what we now consider, gay culture in the early twentieth century.
Werther, a middleclass man living what he called a double-life discusses meeting spaces in the Bowery. “Werther and the other middle-class men he met on the Bowery went there because they found working-class men to be more tolerant of their kind than their middle-class colleagues and acquaintances were.” The working-class that Werther found was mostly made up of immigrants from varying backgrounds and cultural beliefs regarding the activities of gay men, some cultures more tolerant than others. And so places such as, Little Bucks, Manilla Hall, the Palm Club and Black Ribbits, were established in these neighborhoods to create relatively safe places for gay men to meet and act themselves.  These locations were instrumental in helping to develop gay culture. Men who could not reveal their effeminate selves to their friends and loved ones were able to be themselves at places such as these.
Columbia Hall, also known as Paresis Hall, located on the Bowery at Fifth Street was one of New York’s premier locations for “male degenerates to gather at the end of the 1890’s.” Now it stands as the Village Voice.  For a culture so defined and developed by community meeting spots, the fact that there is no standing historic site to commemorate that aspect of New York History, seems incredibly wrong.
Not four minutes from the old site of Lorenzo’s saloon is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, an institution dedicated to increasing tolerance of other cultures. The story of Gay New York as depicted by Chauncey seems incredibly interlocked in the immigrant story. Is there a place for the development of gay culture at the Tenement Museum? Even if the Gay history of New York is outside the Tenement Museum’s scope, where are the national historic sites for gay history?
 George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 23
 Ibid 44
 Ibid 34
 Ibid 72
 George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 33