81° Good Afternoon
81° Good Afternoon

Gay pride NYC: Historic LGBT spots to visit

The riots that erupted in the early hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn are known as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.

In honor of pride month, we take a look back at some spots that have played key roles in the city's LGBT history.


Julius', located at the corner of Waverly Place
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Helen Buford, owner of Julius’s Bar

Julius', located at the corner of Waverly Place and West 10th Street, has a history that predates the Stonewall riots. Julius' first opened as a grocery in 1840, and then reopened as a bar in 1864, according to the bar's website.

Located just one block from the Stonewall Inn, Julius' is considered the oldest gay bar in the city and it started attracting gay customers in the 1950s.

In 1966, four members of the New York Chapter of the Mattachine Society staged a "sip-in" at the bar, where they identified themselves as gay before ordering their drinks since bars and restaurants were barred from serving homosexuals. After initially serving them, the bartender then put his hand over the drink. This led the men to challenge the liquor rule in court. The SLA ruled drinks could only be denied if the patrons were "disorderly."

Today, Julius' has a monthly Mattachine Party to celebrate its heritage. Located in the Greenwich Village historic district, the bar is surrounded by brownstones and independent bookstore Three Lives & Co.

The Center

Established in 1983, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Gries

Established in 1983, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center is one of the oldest LGBT community centers in America, providing resources, arts and cultural opportunities and meeting spaces for LGBT groups and individuals, according to the group's website. The bathroom, pictured, featured illustrations painted by the artist Keith Haring.

The Center was the birthplace of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and more than 400 community groups meet there, according to the website.

Stonewall Inn

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn was a Mafia-run
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn was a Mafia-run gay bar that did not have a liquor license. In the early morning hours of June 28, police raided the bar, but the patrons resisted. A crowd gathered outside the bar, leading to the police barricading themselves inside the bar. Riot police soon arrived, clashing with the crowd outside. The protests continued for five nights after the raid, resulting in more than 18 arrests and it's often credited as one of the major moments in the modern LGBT rights movement.

Afterwards, the NYPD cracked down on gay bars in the area, and gays started boycotting the Stonewall Inn. Within three months, the Stonewall Inn was closed. A number of different businesses tried their hand at the location, and in 2000, the building became a National Historic Landmark. The entire building was renovated and reopened as The Stonewall Inn in 2007. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously on June 23, 2015 to designate the Stonewall Inn a city landmark as well.

Christopher Park

Christopher Park, a tiny, triangle-shaped piece of outdoor
Photo Credit: Natan Dvir

Christopher Park, a tiny, triangle-shaped piece of outdoor space, sits across from the Stonewall Inn. The melee that occurred at the Stonewall Inn erupted into Christopher Park, and the park was a focus of the first Gay Pride March.

In 1992, the Gay Liberation Monument was dedicated in the park.

The Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse

The Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse served as a
Photo Credit: NYPL

The Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse served as a community center and fundraising location for the group, which was founded a few months after the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

The group, which hosted parties, dances and other events at the Firehouse, was considered one of the most important and influential groups during its four-year tenure at 99 Wooster St., until it burned down in a fire October of 1974, according to a blog post on the website of the New York Public Library.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos