NYC is set to destroy an LGBTQ+ Beach Sanctum to build a public park in its place. The New York LGBTQ+ community has a long history in the sanctum that many are fighting to maintain. The community enjoyed that section of Jacob Riis Park as a safe space for sunbathing nude and holding gatherings and memorials.

The city plans to demolish the abandoned building despite the role it plays in the LGBTQ+ community. According to Reuters, the site has served as a special place for the community. It has been a space to hold memorials for loved members of the LGBTQ+ scene such as Ms. Colombia, also known as Oswaldo Gomez, who is believed to have drowned nearby in 2018. The LGBTQ+ Beach sanctum is also a place where those from the community felt free to sunbathe in a safe and inclusive space.

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The site itself was a hospital that previously treated TB but has been ’empty’ since 1998. These days it acts as a privacy shield for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. Many in the city have decorated it with Pride flags and LGBTQ+ positive slogans. It has even been noted that famous LGBTQ+ writers, such as Audra Lorde and Joan Nestle, graced the space and helped build it into the safe haven that it now is.

The beach located behind the hospital has served as a home too many. According to the Daily Mail, Detroit-born artist Timothy French commented ‘I just feel protected, and like I can have a good day and just be myself.’

Reportedly, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which owns the site, has met with neighbors and LGBTQ+ community members to discuss their concerns.

According to Reuters, the public hospitals agency has not said when the demolition will begin, but confirmed that the aim is for completion before the 2023 beach season.