Our History Has Been Erased

June 18, 2019

Unprotected, an LGBT Historic Site is Lost to the Wrecking Ball

LGBT history was made at Alternate U.

On July 24, 1969, the first meeting of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) took place at Alternate U., a free counterculture and leftist organizing center located at 69 West 14th Street and Sixth Avenue. The significance of this site cannot be overstated: GLF was the first LGBT activist organization formed in response to the Stonewall rebellion, in June 1969. As the riots catalyzed the newly formed gay liberation movement, GLF was at the fore. In this building, protests were organized, meetings were held, community was nurtured, and history was made. This building was our tangible connection to our past. Now, it is gone.

Alternate U. has been demolished.

News of the site’s risk of demolition was first reported in early 2018. Alongside our colleagues at the Historic Districts Council, we called for the protection of this and other culturally-significant historic sites.

While millions of LGBTQ individuals and allies celebrated the legacy of #Stonewall50 during Pride Month 2019, Alternate U. was demolished. Brick by brick, this historic site was reduced to rubble. The demolition of Alternate U. is the second LGBT historic site lost since the Project was founded; the first was the Paradise Garage, demolished 2018.

Our work is critical. Photographs and documents are now all that’s left of this LGBT historic site. Our work makes an impact. Scholarly research and advocacy undertaken by our team lead to the June 2019 designation of six LGBT historic sites as NYC Individual Landmarks, on the basis of their cultural significance. We need your support to continue onward.

Here’s How You Can Help

[1] Nominate an LGBT historic site! Especially in the outer boroughs, help us record places of significance to our community.

[2] Donate to the project! With just one full-time project manager and three all-volunteer co-directors, we’ve made incredible achievements in a short time: mapping more than 200 LGBT historic sites, successfully nominating 5 sites to the New York State and National Register of Historic Places, securing Landmarks Preservation Commission designation of 6 LGBT historic sites, reaching over 600 middle and high school students through in-classroom presentations in NYC public schools, and more.