Governor Cuomo Nominates NYC Gay Bar Julius For Landmark Status

New York's oldest gay bar, Julius was the site of a protest three years before Stonewall.

Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended 19 properties, resources and districts be added to the State and National Register of Historic Places.

Among them was Julius, the oldest gay bar in New York City and the site of a 1966 gay-rights “sip-in,” one of the first organized acts of civil disobedience to come out of the fight for LGBT rights—three years before the Stonewall Riots.

juliusbar

In the 1960s, gay and lesbians were designated “disorderly” and not permitted to be served alcohol.

To combat this prejudice, Mattachine Society members John Timmins, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell and Randy Wicker walked into Julius’, declared they were homosexual and demanded to be served.

After pouring their drinks, a bartender in Julius's Bar refuses to serve John Timmins, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell (1940 - 1993), and Randy Wicker, members of the Mattachine Society, an early American gay rights group, who were protesting New York liquor laws that prevented serving gay customers, New York, New York, April 21, 1966. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)
Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

In a moment captured by press photographers, the bartender covered their glasses with his hands and said “I cannot serve you.”

In February, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation petitioned to get landmark status to Julius for its role in gay history.

In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said the bar helped define what it means to be a New Yorker.

“By placing these landmarks on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, we are preserving their legacies and ensuring that they will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Cuomo’s recommendation needs to be approved by the state historic preservation officer and then later by the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Texas native with a penchant for strong margaritas, early Babs and tastefully executed side-eye.