Battle for Landmark Protections for South of Union Square Includes Historic NAACP and National Gay Task Force Headquarters

(l.) 70 Fifth Avenue in 1940 (via NYC DOF) and 80 Fifth Avenue today.

As part of our ongoing effort to secure landmark protections for Greenwich Village and the East Village south of Union Square (roughly Fifth to Third Avenues, 9th to 14th Streets), Village Preservation recently submitted documentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission about the incredible history of two more buildings within our proposed historic district – 70 and 80 Fifth Avenue.  Read the letter here.

80 Fifth Avenue served as the headquarters of the National Gay Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force), the very first national gay rights organization in the country, from its founding in 1973 until 1986. During these critical early years of the organization and the post-Stonewall LGBT rights movement and the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the Task Force made remarkable strides in their efforts and faced enormous obstacles. They secured an end to the long-time ban on gay people holding federal employment, got homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental illnesses, won court rulings protecting the rights of gay teachers from automatic dismissal and defeating legislation which would have codified and legalized broad discrimination against LGBTQ people, brokered the first-ever meeting between the White House and a gay group, got the first gay rights bill introduced in Congress (by local Congressmembers Ed Koch and Bella Abzug), laid the groundwork for passage of the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, the first federal law to recognize sexual orientation, and got the stigmatizing and inaccurate name “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome” changed to “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” or AIDS, while also securing the first federal AIDS education funding and approval of the first HIV antibody test.

February 12, 2020