Home of the “tea dance,” Fire Island Pines is a zigzag of boardwalks that lead to the island’s most ritzy real estate. The Pines turnout is known to be a bit more subdued than its neighboring Cherry Grove. Indeed the Pines is an affluent gay-friendly community where same-sex as well as heterosexual lifestyles co-exist comfortably.
It is fabled that Fire Island Pines was named due to a shipwreck in which a cargo of evergreen trees that were being transported for the Christmas season came to shore and took root, giving the area its lush green appearance. While this may or may not be true, the Lone Hill Lifesaving station was located in this proximity of Fire Island during the 19th Century. The Lone Hill building was used as the Fire Island Pines Community House right through the 20th Century until it was ultimately razed and Whyte Hall took its place.
In 1924 the Home Guardian Company purchased the tract of land that would become Fire Island Pines for the purposes of Real Estate development. But with the Great Depression followed by the Second World War, the tract languished until 1952 when the Smadbeck Brothers (also known as the “Henry Fords of Real Estate”) subdivided the into 122 lots for sale and constructed a private harbor with large landing dock with the vision of marketing the community to the boating enthusiast. And while this vision did in fact become true, dynamics of the era made the conditions right to make the area attractive to a wealthy gay clientele.
Today charitable fundraisers and cocktail parties dot the Fire Island Pines’ social calendar also summer long, with the annual “Invasion of the Pines,” the Fire Island Dance Festival and the Ascension Party being among the most notable. The Pines caters to its Manhattan weekenders and features delightful markets, boutiques and restaurants. Ferry service is out of Sayville, NY.
Fire Island is one of New York’s top travel destinations, its close proximity to New York City makes Fire Island an easy day trip as well as a sought out summer vacation spot, New York Travel Guide ranks this spot as #1. There are not many beaches in the United States that can boast such pristine beauty and isolation from the mainland yet is just a stone’s throw away from a major city. In fact it’s almost a paradox that one can spend the morning in the hustle of New York City and be barefoot and carefree watching white tail deer climb the velvety sands on the Fire Island National Seashores dunes by early afternoon.
New York Travel Guide has provided visitors with information on Fire Island since 1996! We have seen the island grow and we are astonished at how amazing the integrity and soul of this New York gem has been preserved. Over the past few years Fire Island has over taken the Hamptons as the New York Travel Guide favorite summer vacation spot and has not only been ranked New York’s best beach but one of the best beaches in the world, not just in New York Travel Guide but Forbes, and Coastal Living to name just a few. What started as a small bohemian getaway has turned into one of the most desirable beach towns in the United States. Despite the soaring Real Estate market and inflow of top Restaurants Fire Island has been able to maintain a much more rustic laid back vibe, a stark contradiction to summer in the Hamptons. Simple put Fire Island is flip flops and bongo’s its Matthew Mcconaughey’s kind of place. The Hamptons is the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and P-Diddy , need we say more?
Fire Island Pines is a hamlet in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York, United States. It is located on Fire Island, a barrier island on the southern side of Long Island.
The Pines features zigzag boardwalks that lead to the island’s most ritzy real estate. The Pines turnout is known to be a bit more subdued than its neighboring Cherry Grove. Charitable fundraisers and cocktail parties fill the Fire Island Pines’ social calendar, with the annual “Invasion of the Pines” event being perhaps the most notable. The Pines caters to its Manhattan weekenders and features delightful markets, boutiques and restaurants.
We have selected a few of our Fire Island Pines favorites to make sure you get the most out of your travels.
Fire Island’s Best
Fire Island Pines Restaurants and Bars
The Blue Whale
The Blue Whale is home to multiple regular events, including Low Tea, Yacht Club Dining (Dinner, 6 days a week + Weekend Brunch), and Weekend Evening Piano Bar and Cabaret Special Events.
This season, Yacht Club Dining at the Blue Whale brings innovative, share-able and satisfying seasonal cuisine. Guests can expect a selection of classic favorites and specialities with fresh, local market ingredients. Our menu features the best regional fish and seafood as well as premium meats and poultries. Whether dining al fresco on the harbor or relaxing in the more intimate dining room, we will ensure you experience our return to simple elegance.
Sip·n·Twirl is the Pines’ prime nightly lounge & club, from the beginning, to the very end, of the Fire Island season. As the Pines’ largest and most consistently busy club, Sip·n·Twirl features a full-service bar, for mingling + socializing, the TWIRLdeck, for afternoon/evening dancing + casual connections, PLUS a major dance floor – with state-of-the-art sound & video, and a DJ lineup that includes Community favorites and new faces, playing a variety of sounds, including Fire Island Favorites, & latest club sounds from around the world.
Situated in the heart of the world’s most beautiful gay resort community, The Madison is located sixty seconds from the ferry and sixty seconds from the beach. Yet it’s an exclusive compound that’s a world away.
It’s a place where flat-screen televisions, high-speed internet service and massages by the pool are just the beginning; where private bathrooms are standard and every room is air conditioned; where a huge pool deck is surpassed only by an astonishing roof deck.
Address: 22 Atlantic Walk, Fire Island Pines, NY 11782, USA Phone: +1 631-597-6061 Website:www.themadisonfi.com
Pines Bluff Overlook
This simple hotel on Fire Island is a minute’s walk from the beach, 1.5 miles from Cherry Grove and 2.8 miles from Sunken Forest.
The airy, unassuming rooms and suites all have sliding doors leading out to the deck, private bathrooms, free WiFi, TVs with satellite channels, DVD players, iPod docks and minifridges. There are also wood-panelled apartments available, with sitting areas and kitchens. Daily and weekly rates are available.
There’s a free continental breakfast, plus complimentary all-day drinks. Amenities include an outdoor pool, plus loungers and a rooftop hot tub with ocean views. The hotel is open between March and December.
More Hotels can be found on fireisland.com/fire-island-ny-hotels
Fire Island Pines Ferry
The Sayville Ferry began the Fire Island run in 1894. For over one hundred years, Fire Island – with its wide ocean beaches, natural forests, wetlands and lively downtowns – has been an attraction for people from all over the world. Fire Island’s central communities of Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines, Water Island and Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest, a Fire Island National Seashore Park, are served by the Sayville Ferry, which is located on River Road in the South Shore hamlet of Sayville. Once on the island, the only means of transport is a hand-pulled wagon and the only rubber you burn is the soles of your shoes.
A significant and fast moving fire erupted damaging parts the Fire Island Pines commercial district as well as at least one private residence.
Late in the evening on Monday, November 14, 2011 20 fire departments were called to support the Fire Island Pines Fire Department. According to early reports the Fire destroyed numerous landmark buildings including the Pavilion, the town’s premier nightclub, LaFountaine’s, Sip N’ Twirl, and the Pines Bistro. Unconfirmed reports suggest the fire started around 9:00 pm at the Sip N’ Twirl before igniting gas tanks at La Fountaine which spread to the Pavilion. It is very likely heavy wind apparently played a role in the spread of this Fire. If these reports are valid this could be the worst Fire in the community since 1959.
The Fire Island News reported that Walter Boss of the Pines Fire Department confirmed late Monday night that the fire destroyed the Pavilion, La Fountaine and a bay-front home. Businesses north of the Pavilion along the harbor appear to have been unscathed, he told The News.
Unfortunately, Fire Island has seen its share of disasters from fires to flooding, hurricanes to nor’easters. Fire Island is a very sensitive environment and disaster can be elevated by the very things we love most about it, in particular the lack of roads and the beautiful isolation. As one local resident pointed out “When a fire breaks out on the island, it spreads quickly and access to it is limited”
With a very limited off season population, the pines Fire department was joined by other fire island firefighters from: Ocean Bay Park, Davis Park, Point O’ Woods, Cherry Grove, Ocean Beach, Fair Harbor, Saltaire, Kismet, as well as mainland departments including Bay Shore, East Islip, West Islip, Sayville, Bellport, Green River, to name just a few.
The news of this fire spread quickly through social media outlets. The Fire Island Facebook page that reaches over 12,000 people had 100’s interacting late into the evening and early hours Tuesday. Fire Island related tweets were also on the rise. Josh Ocean re-tweeted on the Fire Island Pines Cherry Grove page “Omg! RT @cherry_grove: A fast moving fire destroyed Pavilion and at least two other structures in the Fire Island Pines” DJ James Anthony tweeted @fireislandnews – “my thoughts and prayers are with the FIP community this evening” on the Fire Island News Twitter page, and Jess Freund tweeted: “Thoughts with the OBFD. Be safe! @fireisland” Fire Island twitter page.
However, nothing was as moving as what Andrew Kirtzman co-owner of FIP Ventures, which owns the Pavilion, Blue Whale, Canteen, Hotel Ciel, Deck, Rack Gym, Pines Supply Co. Sugar Shack Spa and whom is largely responsible for the Pines major redevelopment over the past few years posted on the Pines Facebook page. His message was so important I felt it best to attach it in its entity.
“This is is obviously a very difficult night for all of us, and I wanted to give everyone a status report from the scene of the fire. I am outside the Pavilion building, surrounded by over 100 firefighters from across Long Island. The fire is under control but is not completely out. Both the Pavilion and LaFountaine buildings are still standing, but they have been completely gutted by fire and water. Sip n’ Twirl, the Bistro and the stores below them are in ruin. Then roof over the Pavilion is gone, and the high tea deck has been destroyed. Small fires are still burning inside the Pavilion – the dance floor – and it’s too dangerous for firefighters to enter inside. The department has called for bulldozers to be brought here from across the bay, as it may be safer to destroy the Pavilion altogether rather than fight the remaining blazes. It is an unfathomable moment. The air in the harbor is still thick with smoke, but the fire has not spread anywhere else, thanks to the incredible work of the Pines Fire Department and the departments that raced to its aid. Firefighters will be here through the night to ensure that no flames re-ignite and create a new threat to the other properties. Canteen, Blue Whale, the hotel and Pantry are all fine. The Suffolk Country Fire Department believes the fire began outside the LaFountaine office, engulfed that building and then spread to the Pavilion. Officials tell me they don’t believe the fire to be suspicious. Seth, Matt and I want to thank you all for your notes and phone calls. Everyone has a stake in these properties, and the love and passion we all feel for them are ringing loud and clearly this painful evening. Tomorrow morning, Seth, Matt and I will begin the process of renewing this beautiful property and making it even more spectacular than it was before. Our hearts go out to Nicole LaFountaine, Patrick, PJ, Bob Howard and others in the LaFountaine building, and we will help one another get the commercial district ready for summer 2012. There is a lot of hard work ahead for all of us. We feel blessed that no one was injured, and proud to be part of this beautiful community. –Andrew”
It was a long night for all Fire Islanders. Most of all it was a long night for the hundreads of Firefighters who worked into the night risking their lives to protect our beloved Island. I want to personally give thanks to each and everyone of you and a special thanks specifically to the Fire Island Pines Fire Department.