The Stonewall Inn Riots in Greenwich Village

This post is about the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village, which, in 1969 was the site of a 4-day riot that paved the way for the Gay Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

 

Tour guide Renee from Free Tours By Foot


WHERE IS THE STONEWALL INN?

The Stonewall Inn is in Greenwich Village at 53 Christopher St. near the intersection of 7th Ave.  

Use this Google Maps link for directions to the Stonewall Inn from anywhere in New York City.  

 

Where is the Stonewall Inn

By subway:

  • Take the A, B, C, D, E, F, M trains to the West 4th Street Station
  • Take the 1 train to the Christopher St./Sheridan Square Station
  • The New Jersey PATH train to Christopher St./9th St. station.  

If you are not familiar with using the NYC subway system you should check out the following posts:

Let us take you here. Join us on one of our pay-what-you-wish Greenwich Village tours, which take place just about every day of the week.

 

 

Or, you could take our GPS-led audio tour of the neighborhood, which includes a stop at the Stonewall Inn.

Hotels in the Area

Why don’t you just stay here in the Village? There are a few good hotels that are affordable. Check out TripAdvisor’s top-rated area hotels.


THE 1969 STONEWALL INN UPRISING

Background

For many years the Stonewall Inn was a bar known for serving gay and lesbian patrons.

At the Stonewall, members of the LGBTQ community (who mostly were forced to live secret lives due to discrimination), could socialize and dance as themselves.

At the time of the uprising, serving alcohol to gay men and women was illegal in 49 of the 50 states, including New York.

The Stonewall was happy to serve any customer — it was run by the mafia, who weren’t too concerned about breaking the law.

In the years just prior to the Uprising, the LGBTQ community witnessed the successful Black Civil Rights Movement and the growth of the Women’s Lib movement.

The 1960s were a time when it seemed that everyone was fighting for their rights. The gay population, especially in New York City felt it was their time to speak out.

 

 

 

The Uprising

In 1969, the gay community centered around Christopher Street and Greenwich Village were growing tired of their oppression. 

At the same time, the local police increased the number of raids on bars who served gay patrons, which was against the law.

On the night of June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn. The patrons decided they were not going to leave this place where they could be themselves.

As the Stonewall patrons left the bar, they didn’t disperse as ordered by the police. Rather, they stayed outside and a commotion began. 

Patrons from other bars and residents from the neighborhood gathered outside the Stonewall Inn to see what was happening.

Tensions built, and at one point people (gay and straight) who were gathered around the Stonewall, began throwing pennies at the police.

Pennies were made of copper – a derogatory term for police officers. The police officers fled to safety inside the Stonewall.

At 4:30 am, NYPD Riot Police arrived and confronted the crowd, and arresting protestors.

The next night, people showed up to see what was going to happen, and emotions flared again into another night of rioting, as well as the next night.

The events garnered a massive amount of attention in the news. Leaders of the gay and lesbian community were able finally to find widespread support for organizing the fight for their civil rights.

A year later, on June 28, 1970, the first gay civil rights parades were held in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.


The Stonewall Inn Today 

stonewall inn

The Stonewall Uprising was a defining moment in the LGBTQ fight for civil rights.

The Stonewall Inn is still an operating bar, and a living memorial to the events of June 28, 1969.

The Stonewall Inn’s historic significance make it a destination in Greenwich Village.

It is one of the stops included in our pay-what-you-wish guided walking tour of Greenwich Village.

On the Greenwich Village Tour by Free Tours by Foot, your tour guide will stop outside the bar to tell you more about the historic events that occurred there.

If you prefer to explore on your own, our GPS audio tour can be used at any time of day or night.

We also have a free self-guided tour of Greenwich Village that starts at the Stonewall Inn.

 

Written by Renee Rewiski, Tour Guide

 


Back to top


RELATED POSTS: