Saturday June 28 marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. To mark the occasion, we've excavated "Full Moon Over the Stonewall," Voice columnist Howard Smith's account of the night spent the night he spent on "the wrong side of the blue line," barricaded inside the Stonewall Inn with police.
Fred W. McDarrah Stonewall Inn, 1969
Smith, who dutifully cataloged the city's cultural flotsam in his "Scenes" column starting in 1966 and continuing through 1983, passed away on May 1 of this year at the age of 77.
During the "gay power" riots at the Stonewall last Friday night I found myself on what seemed to me the wrong side of the blue line. Very scary. Very enlightening.
I had struck up a spontaneous relationship with Deputy Inspector Pine, who had marshalled the raid, and was following him closely, listening to all the little dialogues and plans and police inflections. Things were already pretty tense: the gay customers freshly ejected from their hangout, prancing high and jubilant in the street, had been joined by quantities of Friday night tourists hawking around for Village-type excitement. The cops had considerable trouble arresting the few people they wanted to take in for further questioning. A strange mood was in the crowd -- I noticed the full moon. Loud defiances mixed with skittish hilarity made for a more dangerous stage of protest; they were feeling their impunity. This kind of crowd freaks easily.More »