News (USA)

New York will rename subway station to commemorate 1969 Stonewall uprising

Mar 17, 2020; New York, New York, USA;New York City subway during the evening rush hour. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY NETWORK
A New York City subway Photo: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY NETWORK via IMAGN

New York City will soon rename a subway stop to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, the anti-police brutality protest recognized as the start of the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.

On Wednesday, the state senate approved A.B. A8970A, a bill that will rename the Christopher Street-Sheridan Square subway station on the subway’s 1 Line in lower Manhattan to the “Christopher Street-Stonewall National Monument Station.” The station is located near the historic Stonewall Inn bar, the bar’s current location, and the 7.7-acre area designated as a National Monument in 2016. The monument was the first national one dedicated to LGBTQ+ history.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D) and Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D) both sponsored the bill to rename the station, The Los Angeles Blade reported. Now that the bill has passed the state Senate, it will head to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). She is expected to sign it into law.

“This change will memorialize the history of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement and inspire NY to demand justice and equality for all. Happy Pride!” Sen. Hoylman-Sigal wrote in a June 5 post on X.

The subway stop is in the historically gay area of Greenwich Village and also Christopher Park, a small green across the Street from the current Stonewall Inn. The park contains four bronze and white lacquer statues of two standing men and two seated women installed in 1992 by sculptor George Segal. While the statues were originally created to represent gay liberation in the modern age, they also gained additional significance as absent souls amid the hundreds of thousands of deaths during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

In June 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) announced its intention to open a nearly 3,700-square-foot LGBTQ+ historic center next door to New York City’s Stonewall Inn in 2024. The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC) will be the first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Park Systems’ network of parks and monuments.

The center pledges to provide an “immersive experience” by hosting tours, exhibits, and lectures on LGBTQ+ culture and history. The center will also serve as an office for park rangers.

Ann Marie Gothard, a board member of non-profit LGBTQ+ cultural advocacy group Pride Live’s board of directors, told NBC News that the center seeks to “motivate the next generation of leaders” by capturing “the essence” of the era in which the uprising occurred.

“If you’ve ever gone down and kind of just observed tourists visiting Stonewall Inn, you’ll see that individuals of a certain age, because it’s a bar, are not allowed to go in,” Gothard said. “So we really want to create a space that’s welcoming for all, whether you represent the gay community or you’re an ally.”

In a statement, Pride Live wrote, “The SNMVC will serve as a beacon for generations to come, providing the unique opportunity to visit the very site where history was made and where the fight for LGBTQ+ equality visibly shifted with new waves of activism.”

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