Press Conference to Save 186 Spring Street (by GVSHP)
New York State Senator Tom Duane:
"I believe just based on it’s architecture alone it deserves to be saved and yeah there’s been alterations but not enough alterations to take away from the historical significance of the bricks and the mortar and to allow a building of such historic significance to be destroyed is really a destruction of a very important part of our city our nation it sounds like an exaggeration but it’s not, OUR WORLD…I think that anyone who wanted to was welcome to stay overnight there when they were thrown out of their homes…."
New York City Council member Daniel Dromm:
"It’s hard to believe that when I talk to LGBT youth that they dont have any sense of LGBT history…When I was 17 years old I came from Long Island to this area…and this neighborhood represented to me the gay rights movement…and it was Arnie Kantrowitz and it was Bruce Voeller and Jim Owles who were the leaders…and I feel very fortunate to have known those people but most people in the LGBT community might not even know who they are that’s why we must preserve this building for history we must have this here for future generations and the contributions of the people who lived in this building were NOT minor contributions they were MAJOR, GROUND BREAKING, EARTH SHATTERING, HISTORY MAKING contributions…and by the way our LGBT youth need and deserve LGBT role models they need to have places that they can identify that they can say "Oh this is where it began it happened here on these streets…."
Allen Roskoff of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club:
"This house CANNOT be replaced what happened in this house must be remembered from the kitchen block table in the kitchen downstairs with the garden in the back to the community room upstairs with the chair that hung like a swing and the couches that we sat on this is a unique, incredible place where people’s lives were saved. The countless number of gay youth who would have committed SUICIDE and who would have remained in the closet to risk to their lives a lot of that was changed because of what happened in this house…so what happened here MUST be remembered and this house MUST be saved. The know nothings at City Landmarks the know nothing people sitting on landmarks talk about authenticity and the integrity of this house well I question their integrity and their lack of respect for our community they work for a mayor who supported George W Bush and they’re gonna tell us what house can be saved? No, this cannot happen. Jim Owles would want each and every one of us here FIGHTING to save this house…I’m here to save the memory of Jim Owles and what he represented and what he fought for…save this house and save the memory of people like Jim Owles"
Steve Ashkinazy of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City:
"I became involved in the work of the gay movement in 1971 and because of that work I fell in love with this neighborhood with its grittiness, bohemian liveability, and its tolerance…so I’ve seen a lot of changes here some good but too many not good at all what used to be an affordable and friendly community now has become a luxury mall local business can no longer compete with the rents that are now being paid by international brands who are so eager to have a flagship store in SOHO they don’t care if it’s profitable or not and many landlords are using underhanded tactics to get rid of rent regulated tenants and who are the new occupants of these apartments? Not local people who can put down roots and contribute to the neighborhood they are mostly people whose primary homes are somewhere else…the City Landmark Commission would like to tell you that the 186 Springstreet building no longer retains its original character and architectural elements to consider it a landmark. I say that this is nonsense any individual walking down Springstreet among its newer and older buildings have got to notice a small row of houses which are clearly much older than their surroundings. When they do they cannot help but reflect on the history of what this neighborhood was pre industrial, pre artist rennisance, and pre glitzy fashion mecca. Visually and architecturally 186 Springstreet is still a stand out with important stories to tell about the history of this neighborhood. One of those stories is the world changing revolution that took place under its roof…the world was changed here and our culture has evolved immeasurably. New York needs this landmark it must not be destroyed…lets see that a plaque is affixed properly to commemorate what occured here so one or two or three generations from now people passing by can stop and appreciate its historical significance."