Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty
New York City’s landmarks commission today voted to grant official status to the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar often credited as the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement.
The vote was unanimous, according to the Associated Press.
This marks the first time any site in New York City has been designated a landmark because of its significance in LGBT history.
A police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, met with opposition and led to a spontaneous, week-long uprising that is commemorated in gay pride events every year in New York and around the world.
The commission’s chairwoman, Meenakshi Srinivasan, called the Stonewall events a turning point in the LGBT rights movement and in the nation’s history.
As The Advocate previously reported, the Stonewall Inn was originally designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.
The new designation, however, would provide additional safeguards to keep the building from being changed. The original Stonewall Inn, at 51-53 Christopher St., was located in what were originally two stables built in the 1840s and rebuilt in 1930. When Stonewall opened as a gay bar in 1967, it had an unmarked exterior, except for large, rusty, broken neon sign reading “Stonewall Inn,” left by a previous tenant.
The 2011 documentary Stonewall Uprising reported that the original bar was Mafia-owned and had no running water, just a tub for washing out used glasses.
Early on the morning of June 28, 1969, eight police officers raided the bar ,allegedly in search of bootlegged alcohol, and began arresting some of the 200 people inside, especially men presenting as women. The raid was not an unusual occurrence.
But this time, some of the patrons resisted arrest, and a crowd gathered outside. Onlookers refused to disperse and scuffled with officers, some throwing pennies at the cops, then bottles, bricks, and other things.
The officers retreated inside and called for reinforcements, while the crowd used a parking meter to try to break down the door, said David Carter, who wrote Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. The original Stonewall Inn, which spanned two buildings, closed later that year.
One building is now the home of QQ Nails and Spa. The other is a smaller bar named Stonewall Inn. Both buildings are now designated part of the same historic landmark.