Village Pride & LGBT Establishments
June is Pride Month, a time when LGBT communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. The Stonewall uprising in June 1969 is the original inspiration behind the annual June festivities. The global coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, including how pride festivities take place this year, as the annual NYC Pride parade has been canceled.
Last year, New York hosted World Pride, the largest international LGBT Pride celebration, which brought in millions of visitors to our city to celebrate. LGBT businesses and organizations rely heavily on the influx of revenue during the month of June. You can show some love this Pride Month to our local LGBT establishments by watching their virtual content and patronizing businesses and supporting local organizations.
NYC Pride 2020
As of now, many LGBT organizations have turned to offer virtual programming in June instead of the usual in person fare. NYC Pride is offering an online drag fest and a special celebrity pride broadcast featuring Janelle Monáe, Billy Porter, and many more. The Stonewall50 Consortium offers a useful calendar of LGBT events and programming that can be accessed virtually during Pride Month. Attending and supporting these virtual events helps maintain the spirit of Pride Month.
Many organizations are using this year’s Pride Month to protest ongoing inequality and injustice in our country. There have been organized LGBT protests that have taken place in New York, mostly focused on violence against the black transgender community. NYC Pride is hosting a virtual Rally on Friday, June 26, from 5pm – 8pm on Facebook and YouTube to take a stand against police brutality and discrimination.
Another method you can utilize to celebrate Pride this year is by supporting your local LGBT businesses and organizations. Independent businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and many will find themselves in an increasingly tough situation this year. And local non-profits add immeasurably to our neighborhoods’ diversity and cultural vitality while they serve the public. Here is a list of some of the wonderful LGBT businesses and groups in our neighborhoods and ways you can support them.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (125 East 7th Street & 61 Grove Street)
Big Gay officially launched in June of 2009 as an ice cream truck selling regular soft-serve with inventive toppings with fun names. Now, partners (in life and in business) Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff have multiple Big Gay Ice Cream shops – including one in the East Village (125 East 7th Street) and one in the West (61 Grove Street.) Big Gay Ice Cream was our June 2019 Business of the Month. What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc
You can support Big Gay Ice Cream by purchasing a gift card for future use.
The LGBT Community Services Center (208 West 13th Street)
The Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, known as The Center, acquired the three-story Italianate-style former school from the City of New York in 1984. In the many decades since then, it has played an instrumental role in supporting the rights, health, and wellness of the LGBTQ community, welcoming hundreds of community groups and hosting meetings, celebrations, workshops, cultural events, and mental health and social services.
The Center is located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, and achieved landmark designation in 2019 as part of Village Preservation’s ongoing efforts to secure landmark designation for LGBT historic sites.
You can support The Center by visiting their site here.
BGSQD (208 West 13th Street, Room 210)
The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is an independent, all-volunteer queer bookstore, cultural center, and event space hosted within The Center in the West Village. BGSQD seeks to support the queer community by offering literature/art and by hosting various events discussing queer culture.
You can support BGSQD by ordering online.
Housing Works West Village Thrift Shop (245 West 10th Street)
As a Housing Works institution, the thrift store is run with the mission of raising money to fight HIV/AIDs and help the homelessness crisis. So not only is this a great place to find vintage gems and snag a killer outfit, but all your purchases are for a good cause.
You can support the shop by making a donation to Housing Works.
Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street)
In the early morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, dozens of gay men, lesbians, and transgendered people, many of them people of color, resisted a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn. The riots that followed over the course of three days are widely considered to be the single most important event leading to the modern gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights movement in the United States. The Stonewall Inn was the very first site ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its connection to LGBTQ history in 1999; that application was co-sponsored by Village Preservation. We also got Stonewall landmarked by the City of New York in 2015, the first site ever designated based upon LGBTQ history, and was part of a broad coalition which got Stonewall named a U.S. National Monument, the first in the country dedicated to the LGBTQ rights movement, on June 24, 2016.
You can support Stonewall by buying their merchandise here .
Julius’ Bar (159 West 10th Street)
Established nearly a century ago, Julius’ (and the building in which it operates) boasts a storied past that is treasured and trumpeted by bar owner Helen Buford and Julius’ historian Tom Bernadin. Located just a block away from the famous Stonewall Inn, Julius’ is one of the oldest continuously operating bars in New York City. It was originally established in 1867. During Prohibition, the bar was a popular speakeasy and, along with Nick’s at the corner of Seventh Avenue South and the nearby Village Vanguard, was frequented by many of the jazz and literary legends of the era. It started to attract a gay clientele in the 1950s, and is the oldest gay bar in the city and the oldest bar in the Village.
On April 21, 1966, members of the New York chapter of the Mattachine Society staged a “Sip-In” and that helped establish the right of homosexuals to be served in licensed premises in New York. In 2012 Village Preservation got Julius’ determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its LGBT history, and it was listed in 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Sip-In. In 2016, Julius’ also received a Village Award from Village Preservation. Check out more about our upcoming Village Awards here.
Julius’ is closed at this time due to COVID precautions, but that may change soon. To find out the bar’s status and how you can participate/support, see www.juliusbarny.com.
The Cubbyhole (281 West 12th Street)
The Cubbyhole has been a village establishment since 1994, with a reputation as New York’s most popular lesbian bar. The bar has a visually pleasing neighborhood aesthetic with an inordinate amount of stuff hanging like stalactites from the ceiling, a huge collection of Chinese lanterns, model airplanes, and polka-dotted fish with have been amassed over the years. Cubbyhole is one of the few remaining lesbian bars in the Village and offers an important safe space to queer women who may not be as welcomed in other nightlife establishments.
The bar is temporarily closed as take out/delivery is not an option. You can get the latest on what they are up to and how to stay connected here.
Ty’s Bar (114 Christopher Street)
Ty’s, a gay bar located in the West Village, was one of the first gay bars to open in New York after the Stonewall Riots in 1969. It has always been gay owned and operated, welcoming tourists from around the world as much as the locals who call it home. Ty’s proudly sponsors many community events and charities, and is the official bar of Fireflag/EMS and the Empire City Motorcycle Club. It is also the home of the ‘Ballbreakers’ softball team.
Ty’s is featured our interactive map, Greenwich Village Historic District, 1969-2019: Photos and Tours, on our LGBTQ Sites tour. The map includes pictures of the 2,200+ buildings within the historic district with over 800 sites appearing on various tours exploring the architecture, history, and culture of New York City’s largest historic district.
You can find out what the folks at Ty’s are up to and how to stay connected here.
Take Action to Support Surviving LGBT Establishments
LGBT establishments faced many struggles even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than even they need your help and support. Urge city officials to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) and help small businesses by sending a letter to city officials in support.
You can also learn more about how to join our fight to landmark LGBT historic sites by clicking HERE.