The Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar where resistance to a police raid sparked the modern gay rights movement, was named an official city landmark yesterday by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The unanimous vote followed a long public hearing at which elected officials, longtime LGBT activists, historians and other New Yorkers threw their support behind the proposal and urged the commission to protect the property at 51-53 Christopher St.
The landmarking is the latest milestone for the LGBT movement as it awaits the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage in the next few days.
"It's such a huge win not just for the LGBT New Yorkers, but for LGBT people around the world because Stonewall has been a symbol of freedom and fighting back against LGBT oppression," said the bar's co-owner Stacy Lentz, 45.
On June 28, 1969, gay patrons and police raiding the city's LGBT bars clashed in an incident that led to days of protests and sparked a surge in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movements worldwide.
Public Advocate Letitia James and Councilman Corey Johnson likened the Stonewall gay rights protests to the 1965 voting rights marches in Selma, Alabama, and the push for women's rights at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.
"It must be protected from rapacious developers who want to destroy history," James told the board.
The designation prohibits any changes to the building's facade without city approval, a move that Lentz said relieved her patrons. Tourists and other visitors checking out the location yesterday agreed it is a major part of the New York City experience.
Stonewall is the first city landmark that has a connection to LGBT rights. Preservationists said they hope the city recognizes other spots such as Julius' Bar at 159 West 10th St. and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center at 208 West 13th St.