New York City will be home to the very first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Parks Service: the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC).
Scheduled to open in the summer of 2024, the center will occupy almost 3,700 square feet of space at 51 Christopher Street, between Waverly Place and Seventh Avenue.
A bit of history for you: when the Stonewall riots, a series of protests by the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn (a "private" gay club), took place in June of 1969, the location occupied two addresses. The first, 53 Christopher Street, is where the current Stonewall Bar is found today. The future home of the SNMVC, on the other hand, will open within the second Christopher Street address.
"The SNMVC will offer an immersive experience welcoming all people to explore and experience LGBTQ+ history and culture through in-person and virtual tours, lecture series, exhibitions, and visual arts displays," reads an official press release about the new venue, for which the groundbreaking was held today. "In addition, the SNMVC will serve as home base for the dedicated National Park Service Rangers, who are responsible for the preservation of the Stonewall National Monument."
A slew of companies signed up as founding supporters of the new center, including Google, the New York Yankees, David Yurman, Target, the National Football League and Amazon.
"On this spot, an energized group of people created a movement for equality that continues to this day," said National Park Service director Chuck Sams in an official statement. "The visitor center and its exhibits will celebrate and acknowledge LGBTQ+ accomplishments and serve as a place where people can learn about and connect with the LGBTQ+ community’s ongoing struggle for civil liberties."
We couldn't agree more.