Tree recalled the days of disturbance that followed the late night raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village - which became a defining moment of the gay rights movement - as hundreds of revelers poured in and out of the Inn.
"A lot of gay people don't realize how it all started," said Hector Cruz, 38, who stopped by the bar for a drink Saturday afternoon. "This year is more exciting, I think, because of the anniversary. People are finally talking and learning about what happened."
"Being younger, we do take for granted where we are now and how far we've come," said 23- year-old Chris Brown, who spent Saturday with his boyfriend Joseph Bayer, 25.
"I'm glad I can walk down the street holding by boyfriend's hand," said Bayer as they went into the bar.
I have vague memories of the Stonewall Riots - I was an 8-year-old girl in the Bronx, what did I know about such things? - but recall my parents reaction, not that there were homosexuals in society but they were astonished that they actually rioted and were open about their orientation. Polite people did not talk about what they did in the bedroom.
But Mr. Cruz' statement above does touch upon a point. A lot of people, especially those of us who are not a part of the gay community, do not realize how the gay pride movement all began with a police raid on a bar in Greenwich Village 40 years ago and the patrons fighting back.
I have walked by the Stonewall Inn on numerous occasions, when I was a student at NYU. Next time in New York I'll go by to photograph it.