Whether you’re a lifelong local from one of the five boroughs or a tourist on a maiden voyage to the city, Christopher Street Tours will make you smarter about LGBTQ culture, history and geography.
On a journey to learn more about his own queer history, Michael Venturiello began researching LGBTQ history in New York City more than half a decade ago. His digging was supposed to yield a novel — which is still in process — but all that time examining NYC’s rich gay heritage has produced an ancillary result: Venturiello founded and now owns and operates Christopher Street Tours, a volunteer-based tour company offering LGBTQ history experiences across NYC.
This includes LGBTQ walking tours, LGBTQ bar tours and workshops on modern activism and lessons from the LGBTQ movement. And that expert guidance opens eyes, ears, hearts and minds to a rich tapestry of sites and stories.
Of course the Stonewall Inn has a monumental role in LGBTQ history; it’s known as the “Birthplace of the Gay Rights Movement.” And, while your guide can talks knowledgeably about the Stonewall riots, he can also delve deeper into the history of the location (Did you know that Stonewall was once owned by the Genovese Mafia family? Or that in the 1930s, it was a lesbian tearoom?).
You’ll doubtless see some other familiar sites while taking this picturesque tour — including Gay Street, the AIDS Memorial and the LGBT Center. But what makes Christopher Street Tours unique is their sole focus on LGBTQ history. All of the experiences are created intentionally by and for the queer community — with an understanding that this is a history that in most cases was never taught in schools, but one that’s equally important (if not moreso). Especially in New York City, each person is literally walking on centuries of history with a theme of queer resistance and resilience.
The tours also discuss the individual contributions of trailblazing activists who paved the path to greater equality, which says Venturiello is another aspect of his tour company’s mission: “to uplift these stories in honor and in remembrance.
LGBTQ History Walking Tours with Christopher Street Tours are currently offered every Saturday at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Typical walking tours last approximately hours and cover roughly a mile of the West Village. A $15 donation is encouraged but not required.The company also offer LGBTQ Bar Tours monthly that include a three-hour walking tour through the West Village with occasional and relaxed stops at three historic LGBTQ bars. Each ticket for this miniature club crawl includes three drinks (one at each bar), and a professional guide to escort patrons through the locales.
Specific dates and times for the tours can be found at Christopher Street Tours’ Eventbrite page. The company also offers private tours to various organizations, offices, universities and colleges and other groups. In addition to their tour service, Christopher Street Tours is also available to present workshops on LGBTQ history, modern activism and lessons of the LGBTQ Movement.
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram at Christopher Street Tours.### For more information, or to schedule a private group tour or a private workshop Michael Venturiello can be found at 646-397-3768 or via email: [email protected]
Last modified: September 3, 2018