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Testimony of the Real Estate Board of New York in Support of the Individual Designation of the Stonewall Inn at 51-53 Christopher Street
June 23, 2015
The Real Estate Board of New York, Inc. (REBNY) is a broadly based trade association of over 16,000 owners, developers, brokers, managers and real estate professionals active throughout New York City. We support the individual designation of the Stonewall Inn at 51-53 Christopher Street for its historical significance, as it is clearly recognized in New York City and around the world as the birthplace of the LGBT Rights Movement.
Although the building is included within the Greenwich Village Historic District (which was designated in April 1969), we believe that individual designation of the Stonewall Inn will help to highlight and recognize its international historical and cultural significance.
The Stonewall Riots were a significant historical event for New York City that ultimately had a large impact across the country and around the world. The Stonewall Inn was one of only a few establishments that openly welcomed a gay and lesbian clientele, and in June of 1969 it was the site of a police raid and a week-long demonstration. Since then, the Stonewall Inn has served as the symbolic gathering point for nearly every significant gay rights or pride event in New York City. Today, visitors from across the country and around the world come to this two-story, simple brick and smooth-stuccoed building on Christopher Street for its historical and cultural significance as the place where the LGBT Rights Movement was born. Whether for architectural, historical or cultural reasons, the appeal of a property to attract visitors from near and far is certainly one important measure of its significance in considering designation.
The significance of these events is undeniable and it is the basis of our support. There is a clear and direct link between the unquestionably historic and culturally significant events and the building where they occurred, and the structure should be preserved for its cultural and historic value. This link provides the type of standard we think is essential when designating a property for purely historical and cultural (and not architectural) reasons.
REBNY supports the preservation of our city’s history for future generations of New Yorkers. We believe the Stonewall Inn is truly meritorious of individual designation, and there is no better time to designate this landmark than during Pride Month. Thank you.