FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ken Lustbader, NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
p: (917) 848-1776 / e: [email protected]
Simeon Bankoff, Historic Districts Council
p: (212) 614-9107 / e: [email protected]
Important cultural heritage site central to the early LGBT rights movement at risk of demolition
Preservation groups join together to advocate for the protection
of sites of cultural significance in New York City
New York, NY – A New York City site tied to the local and national history of the LGBT rights movement is at risk of demolition. 69 West 14th Street, at Sixth Avenue, is where the Gay Liberation Front held important community activities and political organizing in the immediate aftermath of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
“69 West 14th Street’s significance to LGBT history here in New York City and as part of the larger LGBT rights movement cannot be overstated,” said Jay Shockley, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, a nonprofit launched in 2015 with a mission to research and document sites of LGBT significance throughout NYC’s five boroughs. “This was the location where the Gay Liberation Front, the first post-Stonewall gay rights organization in America, was founded and where it first held meetings.”
News that the commercial occupant of the building had closed its doors first circulated via the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York; subsequently, Our Town reported that the building’s immediate neighbors were also being vacated and demolition is expected sometime this year. Since the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project launched its critical efforts to document historic sites in 2015, 69 West 14th Street is the first site actively threatened with demolition and underscores the urgency of the organization’s work: to document sites that shaped LGBT and American culture before they are lost.
Cultural heritage protection is also a priority of the Historic Districts Council (HDC). Earlier this month, HDC selected the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, along with the New York Preservation Archive Project, as organizations to represent the larger issue of Cultural Landmarks as one of its Six to Celebrate campaigns. “In recent years, the City has protected several landmarks based largely on their cultural importance,” says Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, the city-wide advocate for New York City’s historic neighborhoods and sites. “This is a stated objective of the Landmarks Preservation Commision and one we very much support. Through coalitions fostered by the Six to Celebrate program, we hope to broaden and strengthen the public conversation about how to recognize, honor and protect sites of cultural significance.”
View the history of 69 West 14th Street
on the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project (click for more).
About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is a cultural initiative and educational resource that is documenting historic sites connected to the LGBT community throughout New York City. Its interactive map features diverse places from the 17th century to the year 2000 that are important to LGBT history and illustrate the community’s influence on American culture. The Project is nominating sites to the National Register of Historic Places and developing educational tours and programs.
About the Historic Districts Council
Since 1970, The Historic Districts Council (HDC) has been a vital force helping to preserve historic neighborhoods and buildings throughout the five boroughs. HDC’s mission is to ensure the preservation of significant historic neighborhoods, buildings and public spaces in New York City, uphold the integrity of New York City’s Landmarks Law, and further the preservation ethic. We work directly with people who care about our city’s historic neighborhoods and buildings, and represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations across all five boroughs.