Activists and politicians are working to save a building in New York’s Greenwich Village that was once owned by Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, claiming it’s a landmark for the city’s gay community.
The building, 186 Spring Street (right), was built in the late 19th century and became a communal home and meeting place for LGBT activists in the early 1970s through the 1980s, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Developer Stephane Bolvin bought the property from Horovitz in April for $5.5 million. At that time, the Landmarks Preservation Commission stated it didn’t feel the building qualified as a landmark based on its architectural merits.
When he bought 186 Spring Street, Bolvin claimed he was going to keep the building for personal use. But now, according to his company’s website, the Canadian real-estate pro is planning to demolish the structure and build a new seven-story development with ground-floor retail, three apartments and a duplex penthouse.
So advocates are trying to argue that the house is of historical significance to the city’s queer community.
“I stand on the shoulders of legendary activists who called this 1824 federal-style row house home,” said New York State Senator Tom Duane, the first openly gay and openly HIV-positive elected official in the New York Assembly, who attended meetings at the house as a teenager. “I would not have not been able to accomplish all that I have—and the LGBT rights movement and fight against HIV/AIDS would not have come as far as they have—were it not for the incredible work done at 186 Spring Street by Jim Owles, Arnie Kantrowitz, Bruce Voeller and others who lived here.”
Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, echoed Duane’s sentiment, saying it was “vital that younger people have these kind of monuments to learn about our history and struggle for civil rights and liberation.”