After Four Year Campaign by Village Preservation, City Agrees to Landmark LGBT Historic Sites
Manhattan — Capping a four year drive by Village Preservation, the City announced today it intends to landmark two sites we have proposed for landmark designation and have long campaigned for: 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 announced they intend to landmark these two sites along with four others connected to LGBT history in Chelsea, on the Upper West Side, on Staten Island, and in lower Manhattan. A fourth LGBT historic site Village Preservation urged the City to consider since 2014, Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street, is still not under consideration for landmark designation. These sites will be “calendared” or voted on as proposed landmarks tomorrow.
“We are deeply gratified that after a four-year campaign and hearing from thousands of New Yorkers, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has agreed to move ahead with consideration of these and other key sites to LGBT history. The LGBT Center and the former GAA Firehouse tell critical parts of our city’s history and our evolution towards a more just and inclusive society. In a city as diverse and progressive as New York, it’s hard to believe that until 2015 we had no landmarks reflecting LGBT history, and up until now only had one — the Stonewall Inn. All the threads of the rich tapestry of our city’s history deserve to be recognized and preserved. On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which also occurred in Greenwich Village, we should be reflecting back upon that history of progress and honoring the people and places which made it possible. We will continue to fight for the recognition and preservation of the history of the LGBT community and other marginalized and underrepresented communities which have often found a home and support in our neighborhoods. It’s one of the aspects of our neighborhoods’ history of which we are most proud,” said Village Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman.
We applaud the Landmarks Preservation Commission for moving forward these proposed designations, and to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for all of his help and support in this effort.
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.