|this is the corner of Christopher and Gay St…|
In the 1970s, Christopher Street became the “Main Street” of gay New York. Large numbers of gay men would promenade its length at seemingly all hours. Gay bars and stores selling leather fetish clothing and artistic decorative items flourished at that time. This changed dramatically with the loss of many gay men during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The apparent center of gay life subsequently shifted north of 14th Street to Chelsea. This new area, however, was never as vibrant as the old West Village. While some gay bars remain on Christopher Street, it has largely lost its gay character and is not unlike other quiet thoroughfares in the Village.
Christopher Street is the site of the Stonewall Inn, the bar whose patrons started the 1969 Stonewall riots that are widely seen as the birth of the gay liberation movement. The Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee formed to commemorate the first anniversary of that event, the beginning of the international tradition of a late-June event to celebrate gay pride. The annual gay pride festivals in Berlin, Cologne, and otherGerman cities are known as Christopher Street Day or “CSD”. Christopher Street magazine, which began publication in July 1976 was, for many years, one of the most respected gay magazines in the U.S., until it folded in December 1995.
Since 1992, Christopher Park (at the intersection of Christopher, Grove, and W 4 Sreets) has been decorated with the sculpture Gay Liberationby George Segal to commemorate the gay rights traditions of the place.
“Christopher Street” is both a song and the main location of the musical Wonderful Town.