Fighting to Save 186 Spring Street, the South Village, and LGBT History
GVSHP recently called upon the City to preserve 186 Spring Street, an 1824 federal house threatened with demolition, and the entire proposed South Village Historic District. In spite of the building’s age and the City’s promise years ago to move ahead with consideration of the entire proposed district for landmark designation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission refused to act to protect either.
However, GVSHP’s research has uncovered some startling information about 186 Spring Street and its residents’ remarkable role in the post-Stonewall-era struggle for gay rights and the early fight against AIDS. According to our research, the house functioned as a “gay commune” in the 1970s, during which time its residents included the first openly gay person to run for public office in New York City, founders of some of the nation’s largest and most influential LGBT rights organizations, and the man who got what had been called “Gay Related Immune Defense Disorder (GRIDD)” changed to the more accurate and less stigmatizing “Acquired Immune Deficiency Disorder (AIDS),” who conducted the first published studies showing that condoms could halt the spread of AIDS, and who was the subject of a landmark Supreme Court case establishing the rights of gay and lesbian parents.
You can read more about this fascinating, nearly-forgotten history HERE. You can also read the NY Times article about 186 Spring Street HERE, which indicates the Landmarks Preservation Commission is now taking another look at 186 Spring Street based upon the new research GVSHP has provided. The entire South Village contains an vast array of sites critical in the history of the LGBT community in New York; for this and so many other reasons, we continue to call upon the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the area.
HOW TO HELP:
Learn more about the South Village HERE, and the Village’s LGBT history HERE.