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Preservationists Move to Protect Downtown LGBT Sites

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According to The Villager, preservation activists are pushing to secure stronger landmark designations for three key sites in New York's LGBT history.

The first is the Stonewall Inn, at 53 Christopher Street, the location of the infamous riots that essentially jumpstarted the gay rights movement in 1969. The second, the Julius' Bar at 159 West 10th Street, is the city's oldest gay bar and the site of a "sip-in" protest in 1966. The third is the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse at 99 Wooster Street, which served as headquarters of the Gay Activists Alliance in the early 70s.

Despite the cultural significance of these three buildings, none have been granted specific landmark status for their roles in LGBT history, and even though they all lie within historic districts—the first two in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the Wooster Street site in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District—preservationists worry that the cultural importance of the sites will be lost over time unless each building is landmarked individually by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, with their roles in the gay rights movement highlighted.

Curiously enough, the Stonewall Inn is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and was named a national landmark ten years ago. Likewise, Julius' Bar has been named eligible for both registers. However, none of the sites have been granted landmark status on the city-level, an oversight that Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation calls "perplexing."

"This should be a no-brainer, and it's really surprising to me that [LPC] hasn't been more receptive and given a clear 'Yes' on this," he said in an interview with The Villager.
· "Preservation push to protect L.G.B.T. historic sites" [Villager; via TRD]