PETITION: Turn NYC’s Christopher Park Into Nation’s First LGBT National Park

The petition is here.

  • GarySFBCN

    Not sure I support this. Is this the objective of the NPS?

    • MichaelJ

      Yes. Check out the many different types of places that are under the jurisdiction of the NPS. It’s a jurisdiction that goes far beyond places like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

  • lymis

    Are any other national parks dedicated to specific minority groups?

    As opposed, of course to commemorating individuals or historic events with monuments or markers or educational information, which would make a park “about” that person or event.

    But just what would an “LGBT National Park” be? I’m not aware of Christian National Parks, or Jewish National Parks, or Disabled American National Parks, though of course, there are sites that, because of the nature of what they memorialize, end up being “about” a group if a group was specifically involved.

    I would support a monument to LGBT people in a national park. I’d need to know what they heck an LGBT National Park is before I support it – mostly because I don’t see the point in having other groups get specifically segregated parks, either.

    Of course, I have an idea what gay and bi men might do in a park, but I sort of doubt that’s what this petition is for.

  • Mike in Texas

    Do they mean National Historic Site or National Historic Park? Those are not the same as the National Park designation.

    • Actually, it would become the Stonewall National Monument, which is one of several different types of National Parks. People get confused when you refer to a national monument, they often think we are talking about building a statue.

      • MichaelJ

        If the comparison is with Seneca Falls, which I think would be the proper comparison, it would be a National Historic Park. The preserved building would have an exhibit explaining historical significance of the site. An alternative would be a National Historic Site, which is what the tenement museum on the Lower East Side of NY is. To be honest, I don’t quite know the specific definitions of these or the other terms used to describe places under NPS jurisdiction.

        • In this case, the park would just be in Christopher Park. The building is owned privately and would not be part of the proposal

          • MichaelJ

            So Christopher Park would become Stonewall National Monument? Where would there be an exhibit explaining the historical significance of the site?

          • In the short, with a dedicated park ranger and with limited and tasteful signage in the park. The long term vision is fundraise for and open a visitor’s center for interpretation of the site, and link the events of the Stonewall with other civil rights events

  • another_steve

    A nice idea. It should sit well with all progressives, queer or straight.

    Having been there, in New York City, during the early post-Stonewall years, I’d like to see the old Gay Activist Alliance firehouse (now Zeus-knows-what) on Wooster Street declared a national site or whatever. So much happened there — politically and socially — in the years immediately following the Stonewall Riots.

    Old New York City geek-survivors reading here — please show me some love by responding to this comment of mine.

    • In the LGBT community, we have no institutions to tell our story. We do not learn our history in our families, we learn it from our friends, at bars and at pride events. Creating the Stonewall National Park would provide a site-based interpretation of what happened there, why it is important to the LGBT community, and why it is important to ALL Americans

      • another_steve

        What a smart and perceptive comment, David. Thank you.

        The historical “links” slip through our fingers at an amazingly fast and easy rate. We forget easily. Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism — not to carry forward our pain.

        But we must not forget.

        We must be witnesses, always.

  • Adam

    Its a nice sentiment, but you will also have to give ownership and control over to the National Park Service. As a DC resident (where the NPS controls ALL city parks, even the smallest traffic circles and playgrounds), they are not nearly as attentive to maintenance and community engagement as the city (DC) could be. Is the City of New York prepared to deed the land over to the NPS? Why are the current statue/monument and associated plaques insufficient? In addition, the permitting process to perform events in DC’s parks is Rube-Goldberg-esque, and many DC-based community groups just hold events without permits, and factor in the fine they are issued by the NPS as a cost of doing business. This sounds like a half-baked idea that someone spat out in a tweet as opposed to an actually well-thought-out policy proposal. I’d save your efforts for other causes – there recent historical designation of the Stonewall Inn is well-merited, and there is no danger of the Stonewall riots being forgotten anytime soon.

    • NYC and the National Parks Service are working on an agreement where the city would continue to maintain the park just as it is today. All the City, State and Federal officials are prepared to work cooperatively to make this happen. This is the same group of people who were responsible for achieving NYC landmark designation at Pride.

  • Arkansan

    I feel this is better left until later. Right now the emphasis should be on banning discrimination. Having too many irons in the fire at the same time is going to push some of our allies to the other side. It is possible to overwhelm people with too many gay causes and make it seem like we do have an agenda to make everything gay.

    • BeaverTales

      We can barely even mobilize our own community to vote in its own self interest. We can hardly get our gay billionaires to support our own causes. We definitely need to fight other higher priority battles right now and show community solidarity before asking for national parks and such.

      • Leverage traction where you have it…

        • BeaverTales

          I think the LGBT community should hold its own supposedly “out and proud” giving community to task before the National Park Service.

          Sometimes I wonder if “out and proud ” is just a tactic to get laid-and avoid being blackmailed? What the hell are they proud of if they don’t even give a damn about LGBT history?

    • Creation of a “Stonewall National Park” would create a mechanism to tell the story of the Stonewall Uprising and would incorporate LGBT history into the National Parks narrative on the struggle for civil rights in America

  • BeaverTales

    National register of historic places-definitely
    A Stonewall Inn National park? not so much.
    A local NYC park…yes! it already is

    The Smithsonian LGBT collection seems good enough for now and commensurate with many other civil rights historical efforts.

    • NYC Landmark = Protect the Building
      National Park = Tell the Story

      • BeaverTales

        Too bad the Geffens , Reisners, Thiels, Cooks, Strykers, Pritzkers, and others of the world can’t be bothered to create a foundation to tell the story….we average Joes and Janes can help too. National Parks are strapped for cash and will always be mired in controversy because they are in the public domain. It would be incredibly frustrating and petty to argue with people to even get little things done.

  • Rocketeer500

    I really don’t see a need to designate a park like this. Build monuments or place plaques on existing buildings that were part of the political struggle for our community. Once you designate a LGBT park, other minorities will want a park. I like the idea of parks, and in large cities, parks are a necessity. I just don’t see the need, or support, this type of park.

  • KQCA

    They have all prayed, and wept, begged, protested, rallied, funded, and laid “fleeces” and bargains before their God for an answer, and the answer has apparently been, “Let them get married.” It is apparent their issue is not with same sex marriage or LGBTs; their issue is between them and their god.

  • Mark

    Is Christopher park somehow specifically ‘important’ to LGBT?

    • The riots actually took place in Christopher Park, Sheridan Square and the warren of streets in and around Waverly Place. Actually, the National Historic Landmark includes the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park and several of the surrounding streets.

  • Octavio

    Is there going to be a Tea Room concession?

    • Sorry, no room for tea rooms, or food concessions in that little park!

  • Schlukitz

    Somehow, I just I don’t see this idea getting any traction.

    With the demise of Christopher Street as the gay “runway” and the invasion of the rubber baby buggy bumper crowd with their “think of the children” mentality, I could easily see a petition coming soon for the removal of the gay statues in Christopher Park because they see them as “offensive” and “sinful images” to the eyes of their darling little rug rats.

    As someone who has just celebrated his 50th year in business on Christopher Street, I feel like a total and utter stranger walking down Christopher Street these days.

    • Changing demographics of the neighborhood is exactly why we need to preserve the LGBT history that took place there!

  • Ray

    We already have a national park. Pick one. From Yosemite to the Everglades. They belong to us, too.

    We had a homophobe here in Palm Springs write a column for the local newspaper in reference to the Walk Of Fame thingy on the main street (Palm Canyon Drive) of PS. He didn’t want gays on it so he suggested we do our own WOF on Areanas Ave (where most of the bars are). No small number of people responded to the editorial saying gays don’t need or want a **separate** WOF on Arenas because we already have one on Palm Canyon (the main street). Our communities belong to all of us and so does ALL of our state and national. We really don’t need a national park because we already have as many as any other American does. Our equality is EQUAL, not separate by equal.

  • Pelleas

    Not so mad about this rather superficial idea when there’s so much else to do. To say nothing of the park itself, which is hardly lovely, to say nothing of that dreadful sculpture. Calling it the LGBT National Park will make it look like one of those depressing pocket parks named after someone who surely had no desire to be remembered in quite that fashion.

  • Mike P

    This would fall under the category of “National Historical Park” which is much like Lowell NHP and Independence Hall, San Antonio Missions, etc. It wouldn’t be in the same class as Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, nor should it be. That said, I think it would be wise to wait a few years. I would hate the idea of being older than a national historic park.