6 LGBTQ sites designated NYC landmarks for roles in civil rights movement

The building at 208 W. 13th St. that houses the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, is one of six new historically-significant LGBTQ sites being added to the city's registry of historical landmarks. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Until Tuesday, only the Stonewall Inn had been designated as an NYC landmark for its role in the LGBTQ rights movement.

The building at 208 W. 13th St. that houses the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, is one of six new historically-significant LGBTQ sites being added to the city's registry of historical landmarks.
The building at 208 W. 13th St. that houses the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, is one of six new historically-significant LGBTQ sites being added to the city’s registry of historical landmarks. Photo Credit: David Bukach

Since the city landmarked the Stonewall Inn in June 2015, the Greenwich Village bar has been the only site designated for its role in the LGBTQ rights movement.

That all changed on Tuesday, when the city Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate six additional sites with ties to the LGBTQ community.

Author James Baldwin’s former home at 137 W. 71st St. on the Upper West Side; former state poet laureate Audre Lorde’s onetime home at 207 St. Paul’s Ave. on Staten Island; and the LGBT Community Center at 208 W. 13th St. in Greenwich Village are now officially New York City landmarks, the LPC declared.

The former Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse at 99 Wooster St. in SoHo, which served as a headquarters for the Gay Activists Alliance between 1971 and 1974; the current Drunken Munkey restaurant and bar at 31 Cornelia St. in Greenwich Village, which once housed the city’s first gay theater, Caffe Cino; and a building at 243 W. 20th St. in Chelsea that housed the Women’s Liberation Center between 1972 and 1987 also became landmarks.

The building at 243 W. 20th street that houses the Women's Liberation Center will officially become an NYC landmark, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission
The building at 243 W. 20th street that houses the Women’s Liberation Center will officially become an NYC landmark, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The commission held a hearing on the proposals to landmark the six historic sites earlier this month.

In a statement, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation executive director Andrew Berman said his organization has been working to secure landmark statuses for the LGBT Community Center and the former Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, which came to be known as the city’s “first gay community center,” for the past five years.

“We are deeply gratified that … the [LPC] has landmarked these incredibly important sites which tell such a critical part of New York and our nation’s history over the last half-century,” he said in a statement.

“In a city as diverse and progressive as New York, it’s hard to believe that until 2015 we had no landmarks reflecting LGBT history, and up until now only had one — the Stonewall Inn,” he added.

Maya Rajamani