By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — The East Village's contributions to LGBT culture through the decades will be discussed this weekend during a walking tour of the neighborhood's gay landmarks.
The event, sponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and Lower East Side History Project, will explore LGBT culture dating back to the 19th century, when the Bowery became a hub for gay activity.
"When you think about it, it's kind of shocking that these things went on," said tour leader Andrea Coyle, director of outreach for LESHP, noting the neighborhood was home to gay and transgender bordellos during the 1880s.
"We always think of the '60s and the counterculture movement, but the seeds of that were happening decades earlier in the East Village."
Influential gay and bisexual artists who made their homes in the East Village — including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Quentin Crisp and Taylor Mead, among others — will be discussed during the tour, with stops at some of their former residences.
East Fourth Street, specifically — where Warhol staged pornographic male theater, and the Broadway smash musical "Rent" had its first run — will also feature prominently on the tour, Coyle explained.
"This neighborhood was just a cradle of creativity that was allowed to thrive," she said. "[Gay culture] existed here and thrived here, hand in hand with that creativity."
Even sites like landmark concert venue Webster Hall, which hosted masquerade balls featuring early drag performers during the 1910s and '20s, are included in the tour.
"[The East Village] tends to get overlooked when it comes to gay history," added Dana Schulz, program associate for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
"We typically associate that with Stonewall, Christopher Street — things in the West Village. There was an equally significant amount of LGBT history here."
The tour, which runs from noon to 2 p.m. this Sun., June 26, is fully booked, though future tours are expected. Visit the GVSHP website for more.