How I Ended Up in New Hope – Philip Nicolosi
In 1970 my best friend and I went to Provincetown for the summer, with fake IDs. He met and fell in love with a guy who was from Newtown. We all ended up living in Boston after the summer. Sometime later his new boyfriend was offered a job in Bucks County, so they moved to New Hope. I would drive down to visit them and was taken with the beauty of the area and awed by the fact that there were so many gay people living in this tiny town that had two bars. I was also thrilled to find gay guys who were in jeans and flannel shirts and were acting like guys.
At that time most of the gay scene in Boston was very chi chi. The thing that most influenced my decision to move to New Hope was the fact that everyone was hanging out together. Straight, gay, lesbian, young, old, it didn’t matter. No one cared, no one judged. Everyone was just having a good time. I didn’t have to hide the fact I was gay; it was no big deal.
This was a stark contrast to Boston. In Boston there was a gay club called The Other Side which was across the street from a lesbian bar called Jacques (if you say it with a Boston accent I think you’ll catch the pun). I wanted to go check out Jacques one night. My friends stopped me, saying, “Are you nuts? Those dykes will beat the shit out of you.”
In New Hope, I found that the older guys who had been living here for a while we’re just as much fun as the young people and so willing to mentor us. In the early ‘70s, there was a huge influx of people who were all in their early twenties. We were politely taught about the history of the town and who was who. That older generation, many of whom have passed, are the true legends to me. I wish their stories had been recorded. It was an amazing time.
An amusing story from around 1976: There was a local magazine called Now in New Hope, published by Dudley and full of Jack Rosen photos. I happened to be in a lot of those photos because I was oblivious to the camera and by then was known by most locals. My nickname was/is Cess – that’s a whole other story – so I was always identified as that in the photos. I had gone to Key West that winter for a few months and became friendly with a bartender and guess never told him my real name. No one ever called me anything but Cess, and most people didn’t know my real name. I ended up leaving to come home rather abruptly and didn’t get to say goodbye to him.
About a year later I was living on Lower Mountain Road in Buckingham with an address that was something like Box 283 RD 1, Buckingham PA. One day I received a letter from my friend in Key West that was addressed simply to “Cess, New Hope, PA.” Also while living at that residence with three gay friends, the house across the street was occupied by four other gay friends, two males, and two females. We were always running back and forth and having parties and the occasional “drag attack” and thought nothing of it. One day while driving home I noticed that the road sign that said Deer Crossing had been altered with a can of black spray paint. The D had been blacked out and replaced with a Qu. It became the best laugh in town.
Read the Book – An Enlightened Community 20th Century LGBT Stories of New Hope, Pennsylvania