Over the past few decades, rapid gentrification in New York City has led to the disappearance of many lesbian and queer spaces, from beloved feminist bookstores to iconic local lesbian bars. Many neighborhoods inhabited by lesbian and queer communities for decades have since been gentrified by the white and wealthy, displacing some of the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ community. In A Queer New York, Jen Jack Gieseking highlights the historic significance of these spaces, mapping the political, economic, and geographic dispossession of an important, thriving community that once called certain New York neighborhoods home.
Focusing on a number of well-known neighborhoods, such as Greenwich Village, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Crown Heights, Gieseking shows how lesbian and queer spaces have largely folded under the capitalist influence of white, wealthy gentrifiers. With a compassionate eye, they focus on how these radical changes have impacted poor and working-class lesbians and queers—particularly those of color—many of which have often struggled to assert their right to the city. Nevertheless, Gieseking highlights the resilience of lesbian and queer communities who continue to carve out spaces—and lives—in a city that many still call home, even if only symbolically. Beautifully written, A Queer New York is an eye-opening account of how lesbians and queers have survived in the face of twenty-first century gentrification and urban development.