Only days before New York City’s pride celebrations begin, the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission has voted to grant the Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, landmark status, making it the first NYC landmark granted this status for its contribution to LGBT history.
CNN reports that the owners of the iconic bar are thrilled with this news, calling it a win not only only for New Yorkers, but making it clear that Stonewall’s addition to the city’s official landmarks is also a win for the global LGBT community. Stacy Lentz, co-owner of the bar, told CNN she’s ecstatic that the building’s preservation will insure that the bar, symbol of “the fight against repression,” will be maintained for “generations to come,” inspiring others and being recognized as an important part of both LGBT history and history in general.
The Inn’s historic status stems from riots that occurred in the summer of 1969 when police raided the bar to arrest those engaging in homosexual activities. This time, however, the oppressed fought back:
On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police as part of a crackdown on the city’s gay clubs. But on that same summer night, members of the LGBT community fought back, ushering in a new phase of the LGBT liberation movement, according to Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit that organizes the city’s Pride events.
A 76-year-old man who goes by “Tree” and was at the Stonewall dancing with friends that night said he is ecstatic about the newly granted status.
“Remember, the Stonewall Inn is a mecca for the gay community,” Tree said.
“On the night of the rebellion, we were dancing the Lindy Hop, it’s like the jitterbug, and the cops came in and everybody started screaming and we all knew it was a raid,” Tree said.
Since that night, Stonewall’s been a huge draw during pride (the first occurrence of which happened only weeks after the riots). The fact that it’s now been granted landmark status will make it impossible for (at least) the outside of the bar to be changed or updated without the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval. According to CNN, the bar’s owners are expecting a huge influx of patrons during this year’s pride festivities.
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