A Gay Guide to Brooklyn
Brooklyn is achingly cool, increasingly pricey and home to a large LGBT+ community
Brooklyn is a melting pot of identity, heritage and culture. The beautiful brownstone buildings that line the streets of this diverse New York borough are stunning and provide the perfect backdrop to one of the city’s liveliest and most exciting areas.
Brooklyn also has a strong LGBT+ community and the annual New York pride festival kicks off in the borough with the Park Slope Twilight Parade. The Brooklyn gay scene is commonly associated with the younger and more diverse portion of the gay community within New York, claiming a range of hipster bars, clubs and cafes catering to the LGBT+ individuals.
Having experienced economic development in recent years, Brooklyn has become a hub of entrepreneurship, avant-garde culture and creative investment. Much of this innovation has been centred around the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. The acronym stands for Down Under The Manhatten Bridge, and the area has been labelled the "the centre of the Brooklyn tech triangle". DUMBO is notable for its large loft apartments, trendy eateries and plentiful galleries and boutiques. The area is also home to DUMBO house, a member of the Soho House group, a private members club offering luxury spaces to stay, relax and eat around the world.
Park Slope is located in central Brooklyn and is one of the boroughs most gay-friendly districts. It’s here that many queer couples settle and the area is known for its gorgeous terraced houses and quirky vintage shops and boutiques. Williamsburg is also a popular gay destination and is the most visited neighbourhood in Brooklyn. The nightlife in Williamsburg is rowdy and the crowd tends to be younger with many parties going on into the early hours.
The Sheraton Brooklyn offers guests gay-friendly accommodation and comfort in the heart of Brooklyn’s downtown. The hotel situates guests only a subway ride away from bustling manhattan whilst offering a base in vibrant and eclectic Brooklyn. The rooms are elegant and classic and those visiting the hotel can take full advantage of the swimming pool, fitness centre and in-house Starbucks.
For gay travelers seeking a smaller-scale hotel experience, BKLYN House offers gay-friendly accommodation nearby to trendy Williamsburg. BKLYN House is a boutique-style hotel, offering guests access to a cosy lounge and outdoor terrace. Each room is industrially decorated and comes with complimentary breakfast, full air-conditioning and in-room WiFi.
The William Vale is the epitome of Brooklyn’s recent cultural and economic renaissance. Exposing breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline from its rooftop restaurant, the William Vale is one of Brooklyn’s trendiest hotels and is a popular meeting point for the Burroughs trendy young professionals. The hotel boasts a 60-foot pool and each room is impeccably finished to an ultra-contemporary standard and is known for its incredible brunches.
Brooklyn is a haven for gay clubbing, with a variety of bars and clubs offering gay travelers an eclectic and lively night out in the city that never sleeps.
House of Yes is an unmissable icon amongst Brooklyn’s gay nightlife scene. The vibrant blue exterior of the club is reflective of House of Yes’ electric atmosphere. The venue plays host to an eclectic mix of events, parties, circus and drag shows. Locals love House of Yes and with its buzzing atmosphere and a diverse crowd so is will any gay traveler.
With a retro 70s feel and events that attract world-class DJs and performers, Xstasy Bar and Lounge is one of Brooklyn’s best gay dance clubs. Walls covered with old albums and a mass of buzzing neon give Xstasy a truly special feel. The club also hosts to some of New York’s best drag shows and cabaret acts and travelers should also check the club’s agenda for upcoming bingo and karaoke nights.
Although not in Brooklyn, gay travelers should make the journey to Greenwich Village where the Stonewall Inn, location of the first protest in the fight for LGBT+ rights in the USA, still stands. The bar is the birthplace of gay pride and it’s often regarded as the most famous gay bar in the world.
Accessible from Brooklyn by a 30-minute train journey, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art is the holy grail of LGBT+ created and focused artwork and history. The museum has a permanent collection of artworks from influential LGBT+ artists such as Tom of Finland, David Hockney, Catherine Opie and Del LaGrace Volcano. The Leslie Lohman Museum remains the only space in the world dedicated to showcasing the talent of queer artists. The venue is free to the public but relies in part on the donations of visitors.
Credited with helping launch the careers of Barbara Streisand and Brooklyn native Joan Rivers, The Duplex is a historic piano bar that has long been popular with gay travelers and tourists alike. Established in 1950, the bar continues to provide nightly performances from New York’s most promising musical and comedic talent. The Duplex has a strong and established history with New York’s LGBT+ population and has hosted countless queer performers and offers gay travelers a safe and inclusive environment in which to enjoy world-class entertainment. Only 30-minutes from central Brooklyn by train, The Duplex should be on any gay travelers itinerary.
Brooklyn Pride takes place annually in June and features a number of events celebrating the areas LGBT+ community, including a twilight parade, 5k pride run and a pride multicultural festival. The events are consistently well attended and they are known for showcasing all the diversity and creativity that has shaped Brooklyn. There are also parts of New York’s Pride festival that take place in Brooklyn including the festivals opening ceremony.
Gay Rights in Brooklyn
New York has some of the most progressive LGBT+ rights laws in the United States, with gay residents and travelers alike being protected by anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws. Marriage Equality was achieved in New York in 2011 and was one of the first US states to do so.
The diversity in Brooklyn means that the borough has an open and noticeable gay population and the areas of Williamsburg and Park Slope are particularly noted for their thriving LGBT+ communities.
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