The New Yorker later Ports 'O Call

700 Main Street

How a bar owned by two Irish sisters became a hub of Worcester’s LGBTQ+ life for more than two decades.

Located at the corner of Wellington and Main Streets, the New Yorker (renamed the Ports O’ Call after 1967), provided shelter and comfort to Worcester’s LGBTQ+ community. In his 1973 story on Worcester’s gay bars for the Evening Gazette, Frank Magiera reported that the Ports O’ Call had been in operation since 1929, “but was not known as a gay bar until about 20 years ago.” When the bar finally closed in 1977, Ken Barr commented in the MCC bulletin that it “had done the impossible by surviving into the seventies.” While Barr was writing for the local LGBTQ+ religious community (download a pdf of the article below), Worcester native Jim Jackman published a beautiful elegy for the Ports O’ Call in the radical Boston-based gay newspaper the Fag Rag (which was printed in Worcester, although it otherwise did not have many connections with the city). Jackman noted that the place was “the gay bar here for almost a quarter of a century.” Jackman’s essay achieved national distribution when it was reprinted in Allen Young and Karla Jay’s influential 1978 anthology Lavender Culture (download a copy of the original article from Fag Rag below).



Ports O Call Fag Rag.pdfpdf / 610.62 kB Download
KenBarr-PortsOCall.pdfpdf / 1.88 MB Download