NYC has been prominent in all the political and social revolutions that have occured on Amercian soil starting from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the Suffragette Movement, the Anti-Slavery Movement, the Civil Rights Movement right on through to the Gay Rights Movement in the 1970′s.
In the late 1960′s as the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti War Movement were gathering many committed adherants willing to take strong civil action if need be, there was a slow but careful movement starting to redefine the standing of gay people in the nation. Homosexuality was officially a psychological disease and the law generally came down heavily on people seen as gay. And then the Stonewall Riots happened in NYC and the Gay Right Movement changed its character entirely.
Stonewall Inn was a gay bar and hangout in Christopher Street Greenwich Village, though it was owned by the mafia who were undoubtedly earning up big or they would not have continued to run it. It was a place highly valued by the large number of gay and lesbian people who lived in Greenwich Village as somewhere they could just be themselves.
Then on June 28 1969 the police carried out a raid on the Stonewall Inn and instead of meekly allowing the police to order them into police wagons as they had previously, for the first time the gays in the bar fought back. Then a range of Village residents both gay and non gay came to their assistance not just on June 28th but again on June 29th when there was a further attempt by the police to arrest people. From that ime on the slow movement towards gay rights turned from the path of reasonable persuasion to one of a vigorous claiming of the rights of gay people to live as they chose.
By the time a year had gone by the ‘Christopher Street Liberation Day March’ was held on June 28 1970, and Christopher Street was filled to the brim for 15 whole blocks. The whole world wide celebration of Gay Pride marches, no so much taken for granted had been kicked off.
Now there is an proposal in front of the NYC Landmarks Committe to make the Stonewall Inn a official landmark in the city, not because it is a beautiful building but because the place stands as a symbolic hinge on which history turned. NYC is full of such places and the Stonewall Inn certainly deserves to be added to their number.