A Memorial at Stonewall

Photoessay: The Stonewall Inn provides a space for New York locals to mourn the Orlando nightclub shooting

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families in Orlando.” So reads the website for New York’s historic Stonewall Inn right now. The famous Christopher Street gay bar also provides a significant space for New York’s locals to mourn the death of 49 members of the LGBTQ community shot last week in the Orlando, FL nightclub, Pulse.

The memorial outside The Stonewall, 53 Christopher Street, New York, NY

A continuous stream of people passed by the club this past Sunday, generally in silence. Many stopped to observe the memorial, to take photos, but also to hug their friends and often to weep.

The memorial itself was piled high with tributes: Candles, flags, notes, a flyer depicting all of the murdered club-goers, and even a single set of feather rainbow wings.

Rainbow wings nestle above images of the Orlando victims
Homophobia Kills
Passersby pay their respects

Across the street, a row of New York police officers stood, their backs to the 49 lavender stars attached to a fence of Christopher Park, each star standing for one lost life in Orlando.

Armed police officers across from The Stonewall Inn

A passerby, “Dmitri,” commented on the irony that the officers stood there with assault rifles not unlike the one used by the shooter at the Orlando club. Their clearly well-intentioned presence made a careful review of the stars difficult if not impossible.

Statues adorned in Christopher Park

Inside Christopher Park, a set of statues were festooned with rainbow decorations and votive candles decorated their bases.

Queer Virtue a book about how LGBT people can “revitalize Christianity” nestles among the flowers and votive candles
A banner hung from barriers outside the Stonewall also details the names of the victims
A family pauses to observe the memorial

Back at the Stonewall Inn, a singular reminder of the terror enacted in Orlando. A stark sign taped to the wall. Simple, yet brave in its wording:

Love can’t be silenced. You are our heroes. We’ll stand strong. #We Are Orlando.
Sign attached to the wall outside The Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn, Sunday, June 19th, 2016

All photos were taken by Robert A Stribley