Following the Landmark Preservation Committee’s unanimous June vote designating landmark status, it’s now, thanks to the City Council, official: The Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar “Where Pride Began” is a designated landmark, the first and only landmark to honor the gay-rights’ movement in the city. The designation prevents it from being torn down or forced to renovate, unlike the rest of the relentlessly gentrifying Village these days.
So, the bar will increasingly become a relic of a former, boho era in the neighborhood — the terminus for the annual Gay Pride Parade for a reason — as the Village becomes more a place for Facebook zillionaires to pony up $22 million for townhouses than for gay watering holes with names like Boots & Saddle (which was forced out of its Christopher Street location of 40 years by rising rents, and had trouble finding a new home in the area).
It was the locus of the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations sparked by a police raid on June 28, 1969. The landmarking is probably a better tribute to what happened there, and thereafter, than Roland Emmerich’s new, widely despised film Stonewall.
Despite being placed on the National Historic Register in 1999, some New York lawmakers think federal recognition is due. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand launched a campaign last Sunday to designate the landmark a national park. With the former horse stable as a backdrop, the Senator, along with Democratic lawmakers, announced her forthcoming legislation to obtain federal recognition for the Inn, while urging President Obama to act unilaterally toward that same goal. A number of New York lawmakers, including Senator Chuck Schumer, are supporters of the initiative. For the park to be placed on a federal conservation list, it would have to first be purchased by the federal government.
Would that make Tree the bartender a park ranger?