One of NYC’s oldest gay bars, Julius’, is finally getting the recognition it deserves as the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission voted this morning, Tuesday, December 6, to landmark the bar.
Located at 159 West 10th Street, Julius’ is one of NYC’s oldest gay bars, which opened in 1930 and was a site of protest against laws and regulations that banned service to those who identified as gay or lesbian. On April 21, 1966, three gay men from the NYC Mattachine Society organized a “Sip-In” in which they visited four bars to challenge these regulations. They were refused service at Julius’, marking a critical moment in LGBT history.
“This early gay rights action and the attendant publicity helped to raise awareness of widespread anti-LGBT discrimination and harassment,” reads a plaque fastened outside Julius’ by the Village Preservation and the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.
Back in September the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) voted during a public hearing to “calendar” the building that’s home to the bar, meaning a public hearing would be scheduled to discuss the building’s historic significance, taking it one step closer to officially being named a historic landmark.
The hearing was held on Tuesday, November 15, where many spoke in support of the bar being landmarked.
Though Julius’ Bar was found eligible by the State to be considered a historic landmark back on December 5, 2012, making it one of the first sites in the country to achieve this status based upon LGBT history, September’s hearing was the first time the city formally debated considering it a landmark.
“It’s been a decade-long effort, but Julius’ finally has the landmark status it deserves,” said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of Village Preservation in a press release. “This is a huge step forward in recognizing our city’s history as a refuge and home to the country’s largest LGBTQ+ community, and to our city’s crucial role in advancing civil rights movements and embracing and supporting marginalized communities.”
“For too long New York’s LGBTQ+ history has been overlooked and ignored, particularly the role Greenwich Village played in advancing this critical civil rights movement. This is an integral part of New York and American history, and these stories and places must be honored and preserved. We praise the city for taking this long-overdue action today, and urge them to keep going,” Berman added.