Earlier this year, members of Manhattan Community Board 2 began a campaign to turn Christopher Park in the West Village into a national monument, thanks to its proximity to the Stonewall Inn, the historic pub where the Stonewall Riots—and, for many, the modern LGBT-rights movement—began in 1969. And this week, that push has gotten some big-name backing: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Jerry Nadler have put their support behind the initiative, and will introduce legislation that would help designate the park a national monument. In a speech at Stonewall announcing the campaign, Nadler told an assembled crowd, "We must have federal recognition of the LGBT movement's history and origins and ensure that this piece of LGBT history is preserved for future generations," according to the New York Times.
The lawmakers have been working with the National Parks Conservation Association to make the plan a reality, and other New York politicians—including Mayor de Blasio, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Representative Carolyn Maloney—have thrown their support behind the project. But in order for the park to become a national landmark, it must go through a lengthy review process, and Congress would have to approve the plan. But Gillibrand and Nadler are hopeful that the White House and more influential lawmakers, such as Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, will back the mission.
It was just earlier this year that the Stonewall Inn was itself named a New York City landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to Crains, the national monument would include the historic bar as well as the nearby park, which is home to the Gay Liberation Monument. Rep. Maloney perhaps summed up many New Yorkers' feelings on a national monument on the site best at Sunday's event: "I would say it is already a historic landmark. We just need government to catch up with the people."
· Lawmakers Seek National Park in Honor of Stonewall [NY Times]
· Lawmakers: Make Stonewall Inn a national monument [Crains]
· NYers Want Christopher Park To Be a National Monument [Curbed]
· All Stonewall Inn coverage [Curbed]