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Stonewall Inn, Up For City Landmarking, Could Also Become a National Park

 The Stonewall Inn remains a gay Village hotspot, 45 years after riots against police raiders made it famous.
The Stonewall Inn remains a gay Village hotspot, 45 years after riots against police raiders made it famous.
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The Landmarks Preservation Commission has voted to consider the Stonewall Inn for landmark status more than a year after preservationists launched a campaign to get the city to landmark historic lesbian and gay sites in the Village.

The bar, located at 51-54 Christopher St., is famous for being the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, widely considered the most important event to kickstart the modern LGBT rights movement.

Forty-four years later, crowds of tearful, happy New Yorkers gathered there to celebrate the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

A public hearing on the landmarking issue will take place on Tuesday, June 23, on the 9th floor at 1 Centre St., according to city records.

The decision to consider the bar for landmarking was announced Friday, days before a planned Monday press conference where advocates and elected officials had planned to start of LGBT Pride Month by calling on the mayor and the LPC to consider Stonewall and other sites for landmarking.

Julius' Bar at 159 West 10th St., the LGBT Center at 208 West 13th St., and the former Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse at 99 Wooster St. were included in a push by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation last year.

Julius' is believed to be the oldest gay bar in the city, and the site of a 1966 protest that was one of the city's earliest instances of LGBT civil disobedience.

The LGBT Center, where the group ACT Up was founded, is considered the birthplace of AIDS activism and is one of the longest-standing LGBT community centers in the world, activists say.

The Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse was the meeting place of one of the most highly influential LGBT groups of the post-Stonewall era, activists say, located in this abandoned city firehouse until a firebombing targeted the group in 1974.

The LPC has given no indication they will consider landmarking any of the other sites. A spokeswoman for the agency did not respond to a request for comment.

GVSHP is not giving up on those sites, however.

"These sites also speak to a long history of struggle for LGBT equality, and deserve recognition by the City of New York," said GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman.

A separate group is pushing for Stonewall's inclusion in the National Park Service.

The National Park Service — which includes the Appalachian Trail, Niagara Falls, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, among other places around the country — currently includes no sites of historic significance for the LGBT community.

The NPS decided last year that they wanted to change that, and now an independent 96-year-old advocacy group called the National Parks Conservation Association is pushing to include the Stonewall Inn and the little park in front of it, Christopher Park, in the nationwide parks system.

NPCA is holding a meeting to discuss the idea on June 23, at 7 p.m. at the LGBT Center at 208 West 13th St.