3. LGBTQ Landmark: Stonewall Inn

Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village was landmarked in June 2015, a clear gesture to landmark the history behind the building – going beyond aesthetic or architectural significance. The Stonewall Inn, the designation report states, is “one of the most important sites associated with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender history in New York City and the nation.” It was here that the clients of the bar and neighborhood residents stood together to protest a police crackdown on the Stonewall Inn, after a standard raid typical on gay clubs in New York City.

The Stonewall Rebellion, or uprising, as it is termed, served as a catalyst for the creation of more activist organizations here in New York City, across the United States and around the world. LGBTQ Pride Month, which takes place in June every year, evolved from the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade in 1970 that commemorated the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Michael Kimmelman wrote recently in The New York Times that the designation of Stonewall was a “no-brainer and declaration of civic pride,” but notes its place in the evolution of landmarking in New York City. The designation, “also showed how, absent additional regulations, the city’s landmark law had become a catchall. As a safeguard of architecture of aesthetic significance, it clearly wasn’t intended to enshrine what looks like the current Home Depot picture window or brick veneer on the inn’s facade. The law doesn’t prevent the nail salon next to Stonewall from expanding into the inn. It doesn’t dictate use.”