Stonewall Inn gets $550K ‘lifeline’ to help survive coronavirus crisis
A big piece of LGBTQ New York history will live on — for now.
The Stonewall Inn — facing an uncertain future after shutting down during the coronavirus pandemic — has raised more than $300,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and will additionally receive a $250,000 donation from the Gill Foundation.
“We’re so happy and thankful — it’s a wonderful thing,” co-owner Stacy Lentz tells The Post. “It’s providing a lifeline, quite frankly, that we desperately need.”
However, the Greenwich Village institution — designated the country’s first historic LGBTQ landmark in 2016 — isn’t out of the woods just yet.
The site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots already was four months behind on rent — which runs more than $40,000 a month — even as NYC Pride festivities came to a close this past weekend. Being shut down for months at a time means no revenue coming in and expenses like insurance, utilities, inventory and more piling up.
“The Gill money and the community support — these things will help us get through,” says Lentz, who says the $250,000 donation is specifically earmarked for rent. “A lot of people likely think, ‘Well, that’s a lot!’ But to be honest, there are a lot of costs involved.”
And while the bar starting selling “to-go” drinks about two weeks ago, that doesn’t bring in nearly as much money as a fully operating business. As such, Lentz says she doesn’t “see a foreseeable way out of this probably until there’s a vaccine” for COVID-19 and the bar can operate at 100% capacity again.
“We just don’t see a normal operating business until there’s a vaccine; it’s just not gonna happen,” she says.
In the meantime, Lentz says they will soldier on.
“We’re not going to let it die. We’re hopeful. We’re grateful,” she says. “It’s a living, breathing piece of history, and it just means so much to our community globally. We’re just trying to do everything we can to raise enough funds to make sure that we can get through no matter what’s thrown at us.”
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