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St. Vincent’s Love Triangle: Sexual Health, Civil Rights, and Memory in the Village
Walking Tour

Photo: Jason Paris

The gentrified landscape of the Village conceals a battleground for reproductive and LGBT rights. Participants joined us for a walking tour of the area’s hidden sexual health history and activism flashpoints with guide Robert Brenner. The former St. Vincent’s Hospital—which played a central role at the height of the HIV / AIDS epidemic and has now been converted into luxury condos that tower across from the new NYC AIDS Memorial—served as a point of departure as we explored the neighborhood amid shifting land values and the fight for sexual and reproductive rights.

Robert Brenner is a licensed New York City tour guide, a certified member of the Guides Association of New York City,  and a docent for the Municipal Art Society of New York. A child of the 1970s, he is old enough to remember when abortion was illegal, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness, and AIDS was called GRID. He has led walking tours for the Times Square Alliance, the New York Public Library, the 34th Street Partnership, Untapped Cities, the Urbanist, Local Expeditions, Google, Urban Sustainability, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, and Jane’s Walk.

This event was designated for ASLA CES (1.5 LU | HSW).

This event was part of u feel ok?: Health & NYC, Van Alen’s fall program festival from November 11-13 exploring: How does the shape of the city impact our health? What is the physical imprint of healthcare in a city as dense as New York? How can designers and everyday citizens create spaces for everyone to thrive? We prescribed the urgent topic of health to design and other arenas like transportation, land value, and race, through four days of back-to-back debates, tours, and provocations across New York City.