Stonewall Landmarks Hearing Next Tuesday at 10AM

Capping a year-and-a-half campaignspearheaded by GVSHP, next Tuesday, June 23rd at 10 am, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal to landmark the Stonewall Inn, a site connected to three nights of protests in June, 1969 considered the birth of the modern LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights movement.  The public is encouraged to attend the hearing and testify.  The Commission may vote on the designation at that time, or at a later date.

While this is an important and long-overdue step forward, we hope that it will be the first, but not the last, step the city takes to recognize and protect sites of importance to LGBT history in and around the Village.  Village Preservation has also urged the Commission to consider landmarking three other sites: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, 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 highly influential LGBT groups of the post-Stonewall era, whose “zaps” and face-to-face confrontations were highly influential upon other subsequent activist and political groups.  The GAA was located in this abandoned city firehouse until a firebombing of the structure targeting the group in 1974.  Designed in 1881 by acclaimed architect Napoleon LeBrun.

HOW TO HELP:Write the Mayor and Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair urging them to approve the landmarking of Stonewall and to consider the other three LGBT history sites put forward by VP > > 

Come to the hearing on Tuesday, June 23rd at 10 am at the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing room, Municipal Building, One Centre Street (at Chambers St.), 9th floor.  Bring photo ID.  Testify and urge the Commission to landmark the Stonewall Inn and the three other LGBT history sites, or just come to show support (stickers to wear will be provided) VP 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.

City Seeks to Reduce Zoning Protections, VP Seeks to Expand Them

Last week the City’s Planning Department made presentations to local community boards regarding its ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ proposal, which would increase the allowable height of new residential development throughout the five boroughs.  Though the City modified the plan slightly in response to concerns by Village Preservation and others, the plan would still allow or encourage larger, taller developments in much of our neighborhood, with little or no real public benefit in return.  The plan was met with considerable skepticism at both Community Board 3 (East Village/Lower East Side) and Community Board 2 (Greenwich Village/SoHo/NoHo), where a standing-room-only, overflow crowd expressed unanimous opposition to the plan.  Neither Community Board voted but will continue to examine the proposal, which will begin the formal public hearing and review process in the fall.

While the City is seeking to move ahead with this plan which would weaken local zoning protections, VP is seeking to strengthen and expand such protections.  We have proposed (and received strong support for) new contextual zoning districts in the South Village and the University Place/Broadway Corridors.  In these areas current zoning allows and encourages the construction of dorms and luxury condo towers of 300 feet in height or greater; in fact, one such 300+ ft. tall luxury condo tower is planned for the Bowlmor siteat University Place and 12th Street. 

Ironically, the City claims its plan will increase housing production in New York City and make for higher quality, more affordable housing.  Many skeptics have questioned this claim, but it is unquestionable that VP’s proposed rezonings would do help achieve those goals  – by eliminating incentives for dorm construction as opposed to residential construction; by providing some incentive for including affordable housing at some locations; and by eliminating the possibility of sky-high towers which shatter the scale of neighborhoods.  And yet thus far the City has refused to act upon these proposals.

Find out more and read GVSHP’s Op-Ed on this issue HERE


·    Write City officials urging them to save our existing zoning protectionsand urging them to expand zoning protections to the South Village and University Place/Broadway Corridors (click on each for letters)

Business of the Month: Cobblestones 314 East 9th Street

Can you imagine opening a shop at the age of 21 and still running it successfully more than three decades later? Delanee Koppersmith’s winning charm keeps Cobblestones filling the vintage needs of stylish folks from near and far. Learn all about this East Village native’s shop in our article on Cobblestones, our Business of the Month for June.

“It’s a very social thing, a store. My closest friends, I’ve met here,” Koppersmith told us.

The local fan who nominated Cobblestones for Business of the Month said: “Not only has she sold wonderful vintage clothing at reasonable prices, she has helped many elderly people she has met through the store…[she] takes a personal interest in the people that walk in and out of her establishment.”

With Village Preservation’s “Business of the Month” program, each month a local, independent business is featured on VP’s websiteblog and social media, to showcase one of our neighborhoods’ great and unique commercial treasures. The program underscores what makes each business so valued and distinctive. We hope it will increase support and patronage, aiding our local small businesses’ health and viability.We’re asking you, the public, to nominate your favorite businesses for consideration for our “Business of the Month.” To nominate a business just fill in this brief form. See our past Businesses of the Month here.Another important way to support mom-and-pops is by backing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a bill in City Council that deserves consideration. Click here to urge City Council to hold a hearing.

June 18, 2015