186 Spring Street

This nearly 200-year-old house became a ‘gay commune’ in the early 1970s, in which some of the most important and influential activist figures of the time resided.

This included Jim Owles, who co-founded the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was the first openly-gay candidate for office in New York City and lobbied for the very first gay anti-discrimination ordinances in New York City and State. It also included Bruce Voeller, who co-founded and was the first director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case establishing gay and lesbian parental rights, got what had been called “Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder (GRIDD)” renamed the more accurate and less stigmatizing “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)”, and conducted the first published study demonstrating that condom usage could prevent the spread of AIDS. In spite of broad support for our landmarking proposal from elected officials and community leaders, and a determination by the State Historic Preservation Office that the building was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the city refused to landmark it and allowed its demolition.