Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fire Island

Wednesday morning, we raced to the Sayville Ferry and returned to Cherry Grove on Fire Island...

...where we were seated in front of a photographer, two male models, and a film crew scouting out the Belvedere Hotel for an underwear shoot.

Fire Island is a long, narrow sandbar that protects the highly populated southern Long Island shore from Atlantic storms.

Though Robert Moses, the twentieth-century monstrous power broker, wanted to put a roadway across its thirty-plus miles during the 1960s, he was stopped by local residents working with the federal government, and the place remains blessedly car-free except for the occasional service vehicle.

There are about 15 different communities that range in size from ten people to a couple of thousand summer inhabitants and visitors.

Until the 1960s, most of the buildings were simple wooden summer shacks, but some of the communities have gotten a bit pissier and more elaborate because the federal government started offering flood insurance in what has been traditionally a hurricane path.

If you have read any "gay" fiction over the last 30 years, every other tale seems to be taking place on Fire Island, but in truth there are only two communities, The Pines and Cherry Grove, which are predominantly gay. The snootier and more upscale A-Gays rent summer shares in The Pines, and a few rich characters own their own summer mini-mansions (the pond above is from one of the latter).

Cherry Grove consists of more traditional beach shacks and funky restaurants/bars, along with the fabulously eccentric Belvedere Guest House for Men which dates from the late 1950s.

We spent a night in the Garden Room and it couldn't have been more amusing.

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