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West Village, Manhattan

The West Village is a part of Greenwich Village and roughly contains the area between 6th Avenue and Hudson River. Christopher Street, known as the birthplace of the gay liberation movement, is located there. In the 1960s violent police raids took place in gay bars throughout the city, but on June 27, 1969 the gay crowd in the Stonewall Inn defended themselves against the police. This event led to solidarity among the people in the Village and for the first time they resisted police harassment directed towards their community. These events, known as the Stonewall Riots, are of big importance for the gay liberation movement. Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with the first pride march in U.S. history. Today, people celebrate pride events – sometimes called Christopher Street Days – in many parts of the world to remind people of the hard struggle of gay liberation. New York’s gay pride takes place every year in June. The LGBT Pride March, or more commonly referred to as the pride parade, passes by the site of the Stonewall Inn and ends in the West Village.

Today, the neighborhood is still known as the gay village, where many gay bars and clubs are located. However, other neighborhoods such as Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have become today’s gay hotspots. The oldest gay and lesbian bookstore of the city, “Oscar Wilde Bookshop” closed in 2009 due to declines in sales. The area today attracts heterosexuals and tourists as much as gays because it offers nice restaurants, cafés and good nightlife. Nice fashion boutiques can also be found in the quiet, tree-lined streets of the West Village.

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