Christopher Street Should Become a Gay Landmark, Supporters Say

By Andrea Swalec on June 13, 2012 7:46am 

WEST VILLAGE — Christopher Street should be made a gay landmark for its role at the center of the fight for LGBT rights, the city is being told.

Robert Ziegler of the West Village Coalition said he wants to see rainbow flags and a Hollywood-style walk of fame on Christopher Street from its start at Sixth Avenue, all the way west to the Hudson River. 

"We want a walk of fame with pink triangles in the sidewalk to tell people how it all got started," he said, naming the historic 1969 riot at The Stonewall Inn, the local leadership of State Sen. Tom Duane and the AIDS activism group ACT UP as worthy of mention within the landmark. 

Ziegler, 47, has gathered 200 petition signatures since Thursday arguing that the city should acknowledge the importance of Christopher Street the way visitors from around the world do. He aims to collect at least 2,000 signatures before presenting the proposal to the city.

"Tourists pay tribute to Christopher Street when they visit," it reads. "Now it is time we do the same. Designate Christopher Street as a gay landmark." 

West Village Coalition member Peter Rockwitz said he thought the city should have landmarked the street years ago. 

"It's high time that this happened here," he said. "We need to acknowledge all the activists, people and groups that gave so much to the world right on this street." 

Ziegler said he thinks the timing of a landmarks designation this year would be right, given the enthusiasm over the AIDS memorial currently being planned for the former St. Vincent's Triangle on Seventh Avenue at West 12th Street. 

"We think there's some momentum for this now," he said.

A Landmarks Preservation Commission spokeswoman said that any group or individual that wanted to hang flags on Christopher Street buildings or modify its sidewalks would need LPC approval, as most of the street is part of the already-landmarked Greenwich Village Historic District. 

Ziegler will be collecting signatures outside his 76 Christopher St. bar Boots & Saddle throughout Pride week, which starts June 17.

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