Gay Center to Make Its Village Home More Open and Less Noisy

City Room (The New York Times)
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September 28, 2012

The love that now dares speak its name can still sometimes be hard to hear.

Lerner Auditorium, the third-floor assembly hall in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village, is the setting of many events and meetings. It is large and luminous. It’s also an acoustical nightmare. The rattletrap air-conditioning system gives users a choice in warm weather.

“You can either be hot and hear what’s going on, or cool and not hear what’s going on,” Glennda Testone said. No mere idle critic, she is the executive director of the center.

Ms. Testone can afford to be candid about some failings in the three principal public areas of the center — Lerner Auditorium, the Paul A. Kaplan Assembly Hall and the front lobby — because they’re going to be fixed. A 14-month renovation is expected to begin by the end of the year. The $7.5 million project is being financed with $3.7 million from New York City and $2 million from New York State. A fund-raising effort will seek private donors for the remaining $1.8 million.