Stonewall Landmarked! Continue the Fight for LGBT History
History was made and preserved today, as the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to approve landmark designation of the Stonewall Inn at 51-53 Christopher Street, the first such site the Commission has landmarked based solely upon LGBT history. VP first proposed the Stonewall for landmark designation in early 2014, and spearheaded the campaign to get the City to take this action. This is an important step forward in not only recognizing the critical role this site has played in civil rights history, but in ensuring that it will be preserved for generations to come.
Village Preservation is continuing the fight to get the Commission to consider three other sites of importance to LGBT civil rights history for landmark designation:
- Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street, the oldest gay bar in New York City and the site of the first civil disobedience for LGBT rights in 1966, a protest against NY State’s de facto prohibition on gay bars. Built in 1826, Julius’ has been located here since 1864.
- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center at 208 West 13th Street, one of the oldest such community centers in the world, and the birthplace of ACT-UP and many other highly influential activist and service organizations. Built in 1869, expanded in 1899, it is the former home of P.S. 16 and the Food & Maritime Trades Vocational High School.
- The (former) Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, 99 Wooster Street, home of one of the most impactful LGBT groups of the post-Stonewall era, whose “zaps” and face-to-face confrontations influenced generations of activist and political groups. The GAA was located in this abandoned city firehouse until a firebombing forced them out in 1974. Designed in 1881 by acclaimed architect Napoleon LeBrun.
HOW TO HELP:
- Write the Mayor and Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair thanking them for the landmarking of Stonewall and urging them to consider the other three LGBT history sites put forward by VP > >
Village Preservation and Casa Vera productions has also created a website dedicated to the effort to protect these sites of significance to LGBT history here. Learn more about the Village’s LGBT history here.
Landmarks Preservation Commission Takes Better Route on “De-Calendaring”
In an important victory for preservation efforts, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has announced that they will hear and consider for potential landmark designation approximately 95 sites previously considered for “de-calendaring,” rather than simply removing them all from the list of those under consideration for landmark designation as formerly planned. This includes four buildings in our area of which VP had advocated for landmark designation: 801-807 Broadway/67 East 11thStreet, 57 Sullivan Street, 138 Second Avenue, and 2 Oliver Street. Hearings on each of these sites to determine if they will be granted or denied landmark status, or if they will be removed from the calendar for consideration “without prejudice,” will take place beginning in the fall.
This is exactly what Village Preservation and a coalition of preservation organizations and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had urged the Commission to do, rather than to move ahead with their previously plan to simply remove all 95 sites from their docket en masse, which we strenuously opposed. Late last year after a huge backlash the Commission announced they would no longer move ahead with the mass de-calendaring plan, but had not agreed to an alternative route for consideration of these sites. VP and other preservationists worked with the Manhattan Borough President to formulate an alternative plan, which the Commission has now announced they have adopted.
We are grateful that the Commission will be taking a much more transparent approach, allowing the public the opportunity to comment on each of these sites and for each to be considered on its merits. When more information is available about the scheduling of hearings, we will let you know.
Annual Awards and Meeting Recap
We were honored to be joined by hundreds of members and friends last Wednesday night for our Annual Meeting and Presentation of the Village Awards at The New School.
Thank you to everyone who attended, our emcee Calvin Trillin, and especially to our six incredible awardees — craftswoman Barbara Schaum, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, activist David Rothenberg, the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, the restoration of 201 East 12th Street, and photographers James & Karla Murray. The evening included a presentation of VP’s work and accomplishments over the last year, the election of new and returning trustees, and the presentation of our Village Awards.
You can view a video of the evening’s event here and photos here. Find out more about the Village Awardees and VP’s Annual Meeting here.