AFTER FIVE YEAR CAMPAIGN BY VILLAGE PRESERVATION, CITY LANDMARKS LGBT HISTORIC SITES Sites are City’s First LGBT Landmarks Since Successful 2015 Campaign to Landmark Stonewall Inn
Capping a five year campaign by Village Preservation, the City voted today to landmark two buildings we had proposed and fought for landmark designation: the LGBT Community Services Center at 208 West 13th Street and the former Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse at 99 Wooster Street. In 2014, Village Preservation proposed these sites along with the Stonewall Inn for landmark designation as the city’s first individual landmarks recognizing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) history. In 2015, after a year and a half campaign, the City landmarked Stonewall, making it the city’s first landmark designation based upon LGBT history. But Village Preservation continued to campaign for these additional sites, which the City initially declined to consider.
Today the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to landmark these two sites, along with four others connected to LGBT history (one of those, the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia Street, also in Greenwich Village, was landmarked in 2010 as part of an extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District proposed by Village Preservation which included recognition of the site’s LGBT historic significance, but today the building was designated an individual landmark). Click to read Village Preservation’s testimony in support of the designation of the LGBT Community Center, the Gay Activist Alliance Firehouse, and Caffe Cino.
Another LGBT historic site Village Preservation has urged the City to consider since 2014, Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street, is still not under consideration for landmark designation.
Village Preservation has made recognizing LGBT history and other civil rights and social justice history a key part of its mission. In 1999 the group was co-applicant for having the Stonewall Inn placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places — the first time any site in the country had been so recognized for LGBT history. In addition to proposing and campaigning for landmark designation of the city’s first LGBT landmarks (Stonewall, and now the LGBT Community Center and GAA Firehouse), Village Preservation has also successfully campaigned for recognition of LGBT historic sites like the East Village’s Pyramid Club at 101 Avenue A (considered the birthplace of politically-conscious drag performance art) and Julius’ Bar in New York City historic districts and on the State and National Registers of Historic Places (more about Village Preservation’s efforts to recognize and protect immigration, LGBT, African-American, and countercultural landmarks here). In 2017 Village Preservation also launched an online Civil Rights and Social Justice Map, documenting over 120 sites of significance to the struggle for LGBT, Women’s, African-American, Latino/a, and Asian-American Civil Rights in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo — view it at gvshp.org/civilrightsmap. The map has been viewed nearly 100,000 times since its launch.
Village Preservation wishes to extend its thanks to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who was a strong advocate for these designations, and to the thousands of New Yorkers and Village Preservation members who over the years wrote letters and sent emails in support of these landmark designations.
Read more about Village Preservation’s efforts around LGBT landmarks and history here and here.