The Gay Activists Alliance and other LGBT activists held a “demonstration of affection” protest on October 16, 1970, at the Gold Rail Tavern near Columbia University after the management had refused service to a gay patron.
Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.
Gay Activists Alliance “Demonstration of Affection” at the Gold Rail Tavern, with Morty Manford, Pete Fisher, and Marty Robinson speaking with owner Ralph R., October 16, 1970. Photo by Rich Wandel. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.
c. 1939 tax photo of 2850 Broadway. Courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives.
Gold Rail Tavern, 2850 Broadway. Photo by Adrian Grant, 1979.
The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) planned a zap for October 16, 1970, at the Gold Rail Tavern on Broadway near West 111th Street in Morningside Heights. This was a mixed (gay and straight) bar and restaurant, popular with Columbia University students, that was listed in the New York City Gay Scene Guide in 1968 as having a “casual, informal gay crowd.” The tavern had, however, refused service a few days prior to a gay man who was expressing affection with a friend.
The “demonstration of affection” protest that was held by about 50 people crowding the tavern, including about 20 to 30 GAA members, consisted of the attendees chanting, leafleting, and kissing. The stunned tavern management apologized for the prior incident, and promised not to discriminate against LGBT patrons in the future.