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  • Nic F. Anderson

Oldest NYC Gay Bar May Become Official Landmark

Photo of Julius' window | Google Maps

Julius’ in the West Village, may soon be an officially recognized landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently voted to “calendar” Julius’, which means the commission will publicly discuss the importance of the bar and whether or not it will receive historic landmark status.

"We have staff working specifically on identifying sites that are significant to the LGBTQ community and heritage in the city," said the Landmark Preservation Commission's chair, Sarah Carroll, during the hearing.

Julius’ has been located at 159 West 10th Street in Greenwich since 1939 but didn’t become a LGBTQ+ destination until much later. In 1966, three members of the Mattachine Society, a gay rights organization, organized a “Sip-In” which protested regulations that barred venues to serve people who were suspected of being gay.

The members announced they were gay and demanded to be served, were refused service, but their mission was complete: New York City bars were discriminating against gay people. Refusing any kind of service to gay people was common practice and that birthed secret gay bars. These establishments were open but with much risk and were targets of police raids and arrests, courtesy of Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr.

“[Julius’] has always been one that we have been thinking about,” said Carroll.

Back in May, the bar received a bronze plaque, honoring the historic “Sip-In.”

It’s unknown when exactly Julius’ will be put on the calendar but Carroll said it will be sometime this fall.

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