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.

Header Photo
Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.


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.

Read about other GAA actions, listed in chronological order, in our curated theme.

Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (August 2020).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Cleverdon & Putzel
  • Year Built: 1886


  1. David Ludlam, “Gold Rail Closes Indefinitely,” Columbia Daily Spectator, June 6, 1979.

  2. Gay Activists Alliance, Meeting Minutes, October 22, 1970.

  3. Morty Manford and Arthur Evans, “The Theory and Practice of Confrontation Tactics, Part 3: How to Zap,” GAY, March 12, 1973, 17.

  4. New York City Gay Scene Guide (New York: Mattachine Book Service, Spring 1968).

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Curated Themes

20 Sites

Gay Activists Alliance

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