Beastie Boys’ Adam Horivitz’s Shocking Gay… Apartment Building

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.”


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  • Larkin

    Erm.. it’s a dump. Tear it down. Put up a nice little plaque on a wall. Name a restroom after it. Whatever.

  • petensfo

    NYC has been born many times over. If the site was so historic, why didn’t someone
    else come up with the $5.5m???

    That’s a lot of money to spend, only to have someone else tell you what you can do
    with your property. Ask yourself, would you accept that?

  • DickGreenleaf

    How does 1824 qualify as late 19th century??

  • camembert

    @DickGreenleaf: Since we’ve defined years 1 through 100 as the first century of the common era. Years 101 through 200 is the second century. And so on. At some point the beginning of any century began with x00, so 1900 became known as the first year of the 20th Century, and 2000 as the first year of the 21st Century.

  • Kevin B

    @camembert: Don’t be pedantic. Everyone knows that. His point was that 1824 isn’t LATE 19th century, obviously.

    Just my opinion, but preserving every building with any minor claim to historical importance only detracts from the preservation efforts that are really worthwhile. I’m sure nearly every block in a reasonably old city has at least one building that housed someone famous or important, or at least as famous and important as “Jim Owles, Arnie Kantrowitz, and Bruce Voeller,” whoever they are. I’m with Larkin. Put up a plaque nobody will read and call it a day.

  • Evji108

    I agree with Kevin – preservation battles should be chosen carefully. Not many buildings are preserved in NYC, and those that are should be of genuine significance. That it served as a meeting place for early gay activists is a very weak argument, and the building itself is as plain and boring as it gets. I have no way of knowing for sure, but it sounds like the “gay history” plea is just to shill to cover the fact that these people don’t want their neighborhood to continue to change. Community energy and time in this case would be better spent on ensuring that what takes the place of the old building is something that will really enhance the neighborhood and it’s character.

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