Billie Jean King, city officials help break ground on NYC's American LGBTQ+ Museum

King
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and tennis legend Billie Jean King were among those who spoke at the museum's groundbreaking. Photo credit Speaker Corey Johnson/Twitter

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and a sports icon helped official break ground on the American LGBTQ+ Museum Tuesday.

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It was announced in July that the New-York Historical Society would be expanding its home on Central Park West by more than 70,000-square-feet in part to house the museum.

“There are many places in the world where people fought struggles, unquestionably, and many, many people who did the right thing and suffered often for it, but there's no place where it crystallized like it did here. So, it is rightful that this museum will be here,” said de Blasio.

In the expansion, which will include space for new galleries and classrooms, the historical center will create a dedicated space for the United States' first museum dedicated to LGBTQ history and culture.

De Blasio was joined by tennis legend Billie Jean King, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and several other elected officials to mark the occasion.

“Some people change the world profoundly, and Billie Jean King, someone who captured the hearts, the admiration, the respect of this nation, as both athletes and activists,” said de Blasio about the 39-time Grand Slam winner.

Johnson particularly spoke with pride about the museum, as he is the first openly gay man to be New York City Council speaker.

“Without the stories of our pioneers, I wouldn't be who I am today. They're what will continue the LGBTQ movement, and I can't wait to see it,” said Johnson.

The Upper West Side museum is expected to open in 2024 and will occupy the expanded building’s fourth floor, encompassing two galleries with access to the roof garden.