The Stonewall Inn, a famous site for the 1969 riots when the LGBT community fought against police harassment, has officially become a New York City landmark by a unanimous decision from the Landmarks Preservation Committee.
Inside the Stonewall Inn Tuesday afternoon, Tom Fogarty ordered his regular drink, a bourbon and diet Coke. He has lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years, and is a regular at the bar.
“You look at photos from back in the 60s when it was a drag queen bar and the riots broke out, it’s still pretty much the same,” he says.
“It is incredible for the LGBT community around the world. Stonewall really symbolized freedom and the lack of oppression of the LGBT community globally,” said Stacey Lentz, one of the owners of the Inn. She is working to keep the site as a community gathering place.
“We’ve been a national historic landmark for a while but that offered no protections on the facade or the building, so it could have been torn down or anything. So actually getting this protection will ensure that future generations understand and appreciate what actually happened here in 1969,” said Lentz.
Outside, Mark Huntley and Eric Conner, visiting from North Carolina for Pride this week, took photos of the historic building.
“It’s where it all started,” Huntley said. He and Conner heard about the bar becoming a landmark and wanted to visit.
But for Fogarty, the Stonewall Inn is also a sign of times past as other bars from the same era die out.
“It’s goes beyond it being the birthplace of of gay liberation, it’s just a bar in the neighborhood in the city hanging on,” said Fogarty.