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New Yorkers mourn Pulse victims at historic Stonewall Inn

Hundreds gathered Sunday evening at The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar with historic significance, to mourn the deaths of at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. 

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Shadows are cast on a wall as a man lights a candle at a memorial outside The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, considered by some as the center of New York State's gay rights movement, following the shooting massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, in New York, Sunday.

Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters

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New Yorkers convened at the historic Stonewall Inn on Sunday, to find solace and honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooing in Orlando, Fla., where at least 50 people were killed the previous night.

Throughout the city, New Yorkers mourned the many lives lost in the worst mass shooting in US history, as City Hall and One World Trade Center lit up in the colors of the pride flag and the top of the Empire State Building went dark.

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In Greenwich Village, several hundred people congregated in and around The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar, to honor the dead and wounded. Guarded by a lineup of anti-terror police officers and surrounded by rainbow-colored decorations celebrating June as a gay pride month, New Yorkers bearing flowers chanted "No hate, no hate! More love, more love!"

"Stonewall is a place that serves as a point of connection for a lot of people, for feeling vulnerable," Joseph Pierce of Brooklyn, who visited the bar Sunday night with his boyfriend, told the Associated Press.

President Barack Obama suggested last month that Stonewall may become the first national LGBT monument due to its historic role in the gay rights movement. As the Christian Science Monitor's Ben Thompson reports:

The Stonewall riots involved a 1969 raid by the New York Police Department on the Stonewall Inn, a gathering place for gays in the city. Violence broke out and continued for days, resulting in the establishment of more meeting places for the gay community and cementing the incident as a turning point for the gay rights movement.

Like Stonewall and many other gay bars, "Pulse wasn't just about drinks and dancing," wrote Daniel Leon-Davis for Fusion following the shooting.

"Pulse played a major role in the community," Mr. Leon-Davis continued. "This often gets dismissed because it's just a 'nightclub.' In reality, it was a community center. I was where you went to be yourself. To get away from hate. To be free."

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and New York police authorities promised increased security in the coming weeks following the Pulse shooting, particularly at key institutions for the gay community such as Stonewall. Although there have been no credible threats, the city is on "high alert," he said. 

"We in New York know this pain; we've been through it before," Mayor de Blasio said Sunday evening at the Muslim Community Network's 6th Annual Gala. "And we know that when something like this happens, the entire community feels it."

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This report contains material from the Associated Press.