One of New York City's oldest gay bars could become city landmark

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
One of NYC's oldest gay bars 1 step closer to becoming landmark
The Julius Bar, one of New York City's oldest gay bars, is one step closer to becoming a city landmark.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Julius Bar, one of New York City's oldest gay bars, is one step closer to becoming a city landmark.

The preservation commission voted to calendar the historic Greenwich Village institution.

The bar on West 10th Street played a pivotal role in advancing the rights of gay New Yorkers.

On April 21, 1966, three years before the Stonewall Riots, members of the gay rights group the Mattachine Society organized a "sip-in," a non-violent protest inspired by the sit-ins of the civil rights movement.

The purpose of the sip-in was to challenge the New York State Liquor Authority rules that were put into effect so bars could not serve drinks to known or suspected gay men or lesbians.

Historic preservation group Village Preservation has pushed the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate Julius' as a city landmark for nearly a decade.

In April, Village Preservation and the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project unveiled a plaque at Julius' Bar to mark the significance of the sip-in.

"It's so important that we not only honor sites like these that tell the diverse stories of our city and country's history and culture but that we take affirmative steps like landmarking to ensure they are forever preserved," Andrew Berman, executive director of Village Preservation, said in a statement.

Advocates have pushed for Julius' to be recognized for its significance.

"LGBTQ+ and civil rights history like that which is embodied in Julius' Bar are essential elements of our collective story, and it's critical that they not be forgotten or erased. We're very fortunate that Greenwich Village is so rich in these threads of our history, and we're committed to ensuring they are recognized and preserved, for everyone's benefit," Berman said.

Calendaring a property is the first formal step in the designation process, followed by a public hearing and a vote.

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