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Home : Preservation : South Village : Latest News : 07/18/12

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Help Save a Critical Landmark of LGBT and AIDS Activism!

186 Spring Street
We have a unique opportunity to save an incredibly important, nearly-forgotten landmark of LGBT and AIDS activism – BUT YOUR HELP IS NEEDED RIGHT AWAY!

We have been trying to save an 1824 house at 186 Spring Street in the South Village from demolition.  The house is located within an area we have proposed for historic district designation, but which the city has, in spite of promises to the contrary, resisted considering.  Last week they told us the age of the building alone was not enough to save it.

But new GVSHP research has uncovered the incredibly pivotal role 186 Spring Street and its occupants played in post-Stonewall gay activism and in the earliest days of the fight against AIDS.

You can read all about it in our letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission HERE, which outlines how this nearly 200 year old house became a ‘gay commune’ in the early 1970’s, in which some of the most important and influential activist figures of the time resided.  This included Jim Owles, who co-founded the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was the first openly-gay candidate for office in New York City, and lobbied for the very first gay anti-discrimination ordinances in New York City and State.  It also included Bruce Voeller, who co-founded and was the first director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case establishing gay and lesbian parental rights, got what had been called “Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder (GRIDD)” renamed the more accurate and less stigmatizing “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)”, and conducted the first published study demonstrating that condom usage could prevent the spread of AIDS.  Both of these men did much of this groundbreaking work while living at 186 Spring Street.

As you can see in today’s New York Times (read HERE), the Landmarks Preservation Commission is now taking another look at saving the house based upon this history we have uncovered. WE NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT AWAY TO PUSH THEM TO RECOGNIZE THIS LANDMARK OF LGBT AND AIDS ACTIVISM AND HISTORY!


  • Write to the Landmarks Preservation Commission ASAP urging them to protect this house, part of the South Village and New York’s great LGBT history – click HERE to send a letter.

  • PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO CARE ABOUT HONORING LGBT HISTORY, POST TO FACEBOOK, AND TWEET THIS MESSAGE --  we need as many letters sent to the City about this as possible, as soon as possible!

If you would like to get further involved in this effort, please respond to this e-mail. If your organization would also like to help support this effort, please let me know.

Next: 08/21/12
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Home : Preservation : South Village : Latest News : 07/18/12

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