Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why save the Stonewall Inn?

The continues gentrification of the Greenwich Village is about to claim a most significant victim: the Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 clashes with police that threw gasoline on the fire of the nascent gay liberation movement.

It has gone through a number of ownership changes over the years (it's almost as tawdry in it's current incarnation as it was in 1969), yet the singular importance of the site in GLBT history is far greater than it's most immediate --or prior-- uses.

This meaning of this little building has taken on mythical proportions to the gay community worldwide, far more than to just the American or even New York gay history.

For the gay community, it is as much a pilgrimage site as Stratford-on-Avon is for literature.

New York has a rather bittersweet record of preservation history -- all history. Even Fraunces' Tavern wasn't assured preservation until virtually the eleventh hour. Most recently, historic preservationists lost a battle to save a home occupied by Edgar Allan Poe.

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