One day Jasmine and Marilyn took a ride to the country…
A native New York Puerto Rican, born and raised, Jason Nerys began visiting Bucks County and New Hope during the ’90s with his then partner, Dan Brooks, who he met at New York City Pride in 1990 and lived within Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Pride parades were not new to Jason, who marched, with a few outraged but courageous gay men and women, in the first Pride march in New York that followed the famous Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Inn is now the first LGBT National Monument.
Growing up as a Latino and gay in Brooklyn in those days was an immense and often dangerous chore. He attended public schools and did well academically, graduating from Grover Cleveland high school with thoughts of college. He was an acclaimed member of the high school choral group, which won accolades in the New York Borough Wide Chorus, culminating in an appearance at Carnegie Hall. However, his parents abruptly left to move back to Puerto Rico. Although Jason was asked to join them he saw no future for himself there and became determined to “make it on his own.”
He turned to the small but close-knit gay community in Brooklyn Heights, where he grew up, to help him to live and survive. Like many gay people separated or alienated from the family in the ’70s, Jason’s friends became his adopted family.
Also indicative of many gays growing up during the ’60s and ’70s, Jason lived a dual life. With a day job as a retail planner at Macy’s flagship store by day, he developed as an entertainer in the Brooklyn underground club life by night. He was a well-known drag performer, often known as Jasmine in elaborate shows, but most remembered for his amazing likeness and performances as Marilyn Monroe, the beloved actress.
When he moved to New Hope in 1997, Jason had achieved his Bartending License from the International School of Bartenders and his first job was bartending at Mother’s Restaurant which, at the time, was still a hang out for many of the town’s illustrious artists and authors, who Jason got to know well. It was there that he met his most famous celebrity patron, Barbra Streisand, who came in with husband James Gardner as they were looking for property in Bucks County at the time.
After a number of years with Mother’s, Jason was recruiter to The Raven where he joined many local “celebrity waiters” through the years, including John Jack Flannery, Gerry “Vera Charles” Mason and Michael “Pumpkin” Gardner, who were performing in local drag shows. There Jason was “talked into” resurrecting his former characters of drag in Brooklyn and was always apart of that troop, who did many shows for the Raven and charities. And was befriended by Josie “Mother” Cavalucci, known to all.
After leaving the Raven in 2006, Jason was recruited to Karla’s restaurant where he worked with two other drag celebrities, Ricky Crosby and Ed “Berrie Lyndon” Kimble. He was enjoyed by many customers who grew to know him for his often caustic remarks but unforgettably kind nature.
In 2014, Jason took the job as General Manager at The Wishing Well Guesthouse which he helped assemble in 2000 with Dan—and where he remains, getting “great reviews” by many guests, as witnessed by their many mentions of him on Trip Advisor. He is truly a beloved person by many and worthy of his spot in New Hope LGBT history.