Last year I published a post about Fire Island that featured some of my favorite photos taken in the Pines and Cherry Grove over the past 20 summers. Then recently I was thumbing through my postcard collection and was pleasantly surprised to discover how many were related to the magic of Fire Island. Touching on various aspects of life there, they brought back happy memories of the fun times. What follows is a sampling of these cards. They evoke the island's natural beauty as well as offer a glimpse of some of its rarefied rituals and pleasures ...
Natural Beauty is part of the reason Fire Island is such a desired escape for residents of New York City. And it starts with the 20-minute trip on the ferry across Great South Bay and arrival in the Pines harbor.
The postcard below shows the isolated beauty of the abandoned Coast Guard station at the western edge of the Pines at the entrance to the Meat Rack. It was promoting a book of photography published by Pines resident Bill Caram.
A photography exhibit in early September 2006 at Sip'n Twirl by Tom Castele ws promoted with this postcard:
And then there's the natural beauty of the Meat Rack, displayed in this postcard from the early 1980s ...
Since there are approximately 700 homes in the Pines, on any given weekend you're bound to be invited to at least one house party. On Saturday mornings postcard invitations are thumb-tacked to houses' entrances or slipped into mailboxes. Most have themes. For example, the house I had a share in on Driftwood Walk had a "Hat Party" held in early August.
Accomplished illustrator Robert de Michiell (who died in 2015) created a series of vibrantly colored postcards in the early 2000s depicting life in the Pines, with an emphasis on its physical specimens.
If you find yourself without a house party to go to, there are often community-wide events that serve as fundraisers. The first postcard is for "Dance on the Bay", an outdoor event that takes place over July 4th weekend and raises money for the LGBT Center on 13th Street; the next postcard was for a production of Two Hot Men on a Cold Winter Night at the Community Center (since rebuilt and renamed Whyte Hall); the middle postcards promoted sit-down dinners sponsored by Lambda Legal; and the final postcard announces one of the "Fire Island Dance Festivals", which have taken place since the mid-1990s in the middle of July. It raises funds for Dancers Responding to AIDS.
And, of course, let's not forget Cherry Grove ...
Want to read more about Fire Island? Here are three additional posts I've written about the "island paradise":