Continuing on our recap of our New York City national park vacation, one of the last trips we took before the 2020 pandemic. On a rainy day in December, in between stops at Federal Hall and Chinatown, we made a quick visit to Stonewall National Monument one of the newest national parks in the system. Stonewall was the 81st park we crossed off our #parkchasing list.
Stonewall National Monument might be a different experience than some of the other national parks you’ve visited, in part because there aren’t any on-site visitor amenities in this ‘baby’ park, just getting it’s start in the National Park Service.
A planning commission has been established to determine what visitor resources will be established at the park, but for now, you’ll need to enjoy a self-guided tour of the park.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of What To See at Stonewall National Monument.
In This Post
Where is Stonewall National Monument?
38-64 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014
Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/ston/index.htm
Stonewall National Monument is a 7.7 acre park located in Christopher Park in the Historic Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. As one of the newest parks in the National Park Service, it does not currently have a visitor’s center or amenities. Park rangers visit Stonewall frequently and offer programming throughout the year in Christopher Park.
Why was the monument created?
Stonewall National Monument commemorates a central location of the uprising and birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. This monument educates visitors on the diversity, inclusiveness, and individual freedom that make America great.
When he created the monument, President Obama noted:
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
When did Stonewall become a national monument?
Stonewall National Monument was established on June, 24 2016.
The monument was established by President Barack Obama through the Antiquities Act. At the time, it was the 412th national park unit added to the National Park Service. The designation occurred roughly one year to the day from the 2015 landmark United States Supreme Court ruling granting the Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
To see our blog post about the new monument check out and the official White House video about the day:
And then there were 412…Welcome Stonewall National Monument!
How To Get There
As with most of the New York City national parks, it’s best to visit Stonewall by public transportation or ride share.
Christopher Park is bounded by Christopher, Grove, and West Fourth Streets and can easily by reached by bus and subway.
By subway, take the Broadway 1 Line – 7th Avenue local to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square Station.
By bus, take or the 7th Avenue bus line on the M8 or M20.
What to See at Stonewall National Monument
Plan to spend about 30-45 minutes in Christopher Park and more if you choose to complete a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood. Greenwich Village is one of the most popular neighborhoods to visit in New York City, in part because there are so many landmarks, restaurants, and shops in the area.
Check out this list of what to see at Stonewall National Monument, and then enjoy the surrounding area.
1. Christopher Park
Stonewall National Monument encompasses Christopher Park, a small urban park in Greenwich Village. To date, a visit to Stonewall typically means spending time wandering through the plaques and NPS signage in the park.
One of the central features of Christopher Park is the Gay Liberation statues which were created by American sculptor George Segal and added to the park in 1992.
2. The Stonewall Inn
Included in the 7.7 acres of the monument is the landmark Stonewall Inn. The inn was the site of the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969, widely regarded as the start of the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States.
The Inn continues to be a fully operational bar and under private ownership. If you visit Stonewall National Monument and are 21+, the bar is open 2-11 PM daily.
3. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project Walking Tour
After you’ve visited Christopher Park, take a walking tour of the neighborhood that encompasses the rest of the site and historic Greenwich Village. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project and the National Park Conservation Association have put together a 45-minute self-guided walking tour of the sites in the area, including:
- Christopher Street
- Stonewall Inn
- the site of New York’s first Pride March
- Oscar Wilde Bookshop
- Washington Square Park
Take the Virtual Tour
If a trip to Stonewall National Monument might be farther down the road for you, there’s still a way to see and experience the park from home. The National Park Service partnered with the New York City LGBT Community Center to create Stonewall Forever, a virtual tour of the monument.
The website allows you to take a walking tour of the park while seeing and hearing images and stories from 50 years of the LGBTQ+ movement.