Recognizing one of the most famous LGBTQ uprisings in history, Stonewall National Monument in New York City is a must visit for RV lovers interested in the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. The history of the monument dates back to the 1960s during a time when living openly as a LGBTQ person was illegal thanks to variety of rules, laws, and policy. People in New York City were arrested for wearing fewer than three articles of clothing that matched their sex and serving alcoholic beverages to homosexuals was also prohibited.
The riots began after New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn as it had no liquor license. The bar was one of the few places where the LGBTQ community could socialize out in public. Those caught in the raid were freed after being photographed and humiliated. During the early hours of June 28, 1969 the members of the New York City LGBTQ community fought back and police had to barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn. The building was then the target with the crowd throwing items such as pennies, metal garbage cans, bricks, bottles, and an uprooted parking meter. After the incident made the news around the country there was a huge influx in public facing LGBTQ groups who were now inspired by the acts at the Stonewall Inn to be proud of who they were and no longer hide.
The seven acre site near the intersection of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue was designated as a monument by President Barrack Obama in 2016. The Stonewall National Monument now offers visitors the chance to learn more about that night and the history of LGBTQ people in New York City thanks to a variety of tours and historical panels that are in the area. You can take a tour of the area and even have a drink at the Stonewall Inn. There is also a rainbow flag raised at the monument, making it the first officially maintained LGBT flag at a federal monument.
While there is no RV camping available at the monument there is a campground located across the Hudson River in Jersey City. Stonewall National Monument is open year round.
Getting to and from Stonewall National Monument can be challenging depending on the time of day that you plan to arrive thanks to the unpredictable New York City traffic. A positive aspect about the location of the monument is that you will be very close to all that you need to enjoy your day as there will be many places nearby you can buy supplies such as food and drinks.
Since Stonewall National Monument is located in Greenwich Village most visitors will be traveling via the subway or private rideshare companies.
Parking an RV anywhere in New York City is quite difficult, especially in Greenwich Village. For this reason, try to find either long term street parking outside of Manhattan or a private lot that will have enough room to fit your RV. Another popular choice for those visiting New York City is to leave their RV parked at their chosen campground and make the most of the comprehensive public transport network that the city has on offer.
There are multiple public transport options for those wanting to visit the Stonewall National Monument. The most common way for visitors to reach its location is to take the subway, however there are also bus and ferry options that could suit you depending on where you are staying.
Since the location of the Stonewall National Monument is in Greenwich within Manhattan there are no RV campgrounds for you to stay at. Despite this, if you are looking for a place to stay the night then you can head across the Hudson River to New Jersey, specifically Jersey City. There is an RV-friendly campground located next to the Liberty Harbor Marina that is only around 15 minutes from Manhattan.
This campground has a total of 50 sites, some of which include great amenities such as water and electric hookups. There are also some off-site amenities available, including full restrooms that have hot showers and a restaurant/bar within the RV campground. Please note that there is no dump station to be found so you will have to take your waste with you.
If you do plan to stay at this park consider booking a reservation. The sites regularly fill up due to the close proximity of the RV park to the tourist attractions of New York City.
The most popular activity for visitors to do when visiting the monument is to check it out via a self guided tour. The Stonewall National Monument is part of NYC LGBTQ Historic Sites Project Walking Tour so you have the option to download the app and be informed of the historical nature of the monument at your own pace.
The self-guided tour can be completed at any time of the year and should take less than two hours due to the small footprint of the monument. For more information on the self-guided tour check out the NYC LGBTQ Historic Sites Project website.
The site of the riots and where the Pride movement began is another must-see part of the Stonewall National Monument. The Stonewall Inn is open like a regular bar and is full of gay pride themed historical artifacts and memorabilia.
The bar is host to a regular calendar of events such as drag bingo and 90s themed karaoke. Stonewall is also host to many special events throughout the year and is especially busy around the anniversary of the riots.
Located across from the bar where the Stonewall Riot occurred, Christopher Park is also part of the Stonewall National Monument and is a lovely spot for you to relax and have an urban picnic. Despite its small size there are plenty of park benches available for you to sit that line both of the inside fences to the park.
Also nestled among the park are three monuments (including the famous “Gay Liberation” sculpture by George Segal) with information panels accompanying them.
Once you have finished checking out the Stonewall National Monument there are plenty of other LGBTQ related places for you to enjoy. One of the most popular is the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, which is the world's first museum dedicated to LGBTQ art.
The museum has more than 24,000 works and includes an archive of information on 1,900 LGBTQ artists. Depending on the time of year that you visit there will be various exhibitions along with the permanent collection that features Catherine Opie, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday all year round.
Originally launched by a group of activists in 1990 who wanted to help homeless people living with HIV and AIDS, Housing Works is a non-profit that helps with stable housing for HIV-positive people. The organization operates a few thrift stores across the city, along with the bookstore cafe in Soho. The cafe hosts some great discussions and events with all proceeds going towards the organization's mission. For more information on the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe check out their website.
If you are looking for another historic watering hole to check out, try Julius. This bar has been around since 1864 and it started to attract a gay clientele in the 1950s, making it the oldest gay bar in the city and the oldest bar in Greenwich Village. It is famous for the ‘Sip-In’ at Julius’ Bar event where gay activists challenged New York State’s prohibitions on gay bars three years before the Stonewall Riots. The bar is open every day of the week and it is just around the corner from the monument.