8. Julio Rivera Corner is named after a gay bartender killed by gang members
Three gang members in Jackson Heights attacked Julio Rivera, a gay Puerto Rican bartender, in the schoolyard of P.S. 69 in 1990. The perpetrators left Rivera dying on the sidewalk to be found by his former lover Alan Sack and bar owner Tommy Grimaldi. Rivera later died from his injuries in Elmhurst Hospital. His murder became the first gay hate crime to be tried in New York State.
To commemorate his death, the Julio Rivera Corner sits between 37th Avenue and 78th Street. This corner is steps away from where the gang members attacked Rivera with a hammer and knife. Some refer to his murder as Queens’ Stonewall, since it sparked a rise in LGBTQ+ activism in Queens. The murder attracted more attention after Richard Shpuntoff produced his film Julio of Jackson Heights, which premiered at the Queens’ Film Festival in 2016.