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NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Designated a Landmark for Its History-Making Role in Advancing LGBTQ+ Rights

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

Photo: NYC Mayor Eric Adams/Twitter

New York City’s oldest gay bar, Julius’ in Manhattan, is officially a landmark.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) announced the designation on Tuesday, lauding the beloved West Village watering hole as “one of the city’s most significant sites” of LGBTQ+ history.

In 1966, Julius’ was the site of a “sip-in,” when three activists protested the closure of bars that served gay people. In an LPC press release, New York Mayor Eric Adams described the event as “a pivotal moment in our city and our nation’s LGBTQ+ history.”

“Honoring a location where New Yorkers were once denied service solely on account of their sexuality reinforces something that should already be clear: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are welcome anywhere in our city,” Adams said in a statement.

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

NYC Mayor Eric Adams/Twitter

Julius’ is located on West 10th Street in the Greenwich Village Historic District, a short distance from the Stonewall Inn, which is also a landmark, the LPC said.

The 1966 “sip-in” took place three years before the Stonewall riots, which are commonly considered the start of the LGBTQ+ movement. The “sip-in” is also seen as a pivotal moment in the community’s fight for rights and equality.

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The LPC said on Twitter that the landmark designation for Julius’ highlights its “cultural significance,” as well as its role in LGBTQ+ activism prior to Stonewall.

“Now people around the world flock to our city for its welcoming and joyful LGBTQ+ nightlife,” Adams wrote on Twitter.

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

NYC’s Oldest Gay Bar Julius' Is Now Officially a Landmark

NYC Mayor Eric Adams/Twitter

After the vote at Tuesday’s virtual hearing, Commissioner Wellington Chen said Julius’ landmark designation was “long overdue.”

Commissioner Michael Devonshire added, “As the country seems to be grappling with going backward in terms of acceptance and inclusion, I just want to say ‘Bravo, New York,’ for bringing this one to the forefront.”

Andrew Dolkart, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, said the nonprofit “is thrilled” that Julius’ is now a landmark. As the LPC noted, one of the organization’s initial goals was to get the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We applaud the Landmarks Commission for its commitment to recognizing sites of historic significance to LGBT history and look forward to working with the Commission on future designations,” Dolkart said in a statement on Tuesday.