This diary contains diverse views and opinions on what goes on in Cherry Grove, the nation and the world. Racism and bigotry have no place here. Please do not engage in personal attacks on other users. The cardinal rule here is to respect others. The opinions published here are those of individual writers and may or may not represent those of our publisher/editor or any other members of our volunteer staff.

To paraphrase a piece of writing that caught my eye on the Internet: "The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their  opponents rather than simply seek to crush them." -- RLF

In Memorium -- "My primary purpose in writing these articles is to help provide gays with a sense of their history outside of Stonewall. I feel we have to grab it wherever we are living it and get it down for the generations that will follow in our footsteps."--Mary Kapsalis.

June 11, 2008 -- I have decided to eliminate "National and International News," "I'm Mad As Hell and I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore" and "Politically Incorrect" as of this edition. They have appeared in ATGT since 2000 and were among my favorite things to work on, but I don't know anyone who ever anything in them.

So they have replaced by one written by Peter Ellison and another with photos by Justine La Hagela. Is there anyone out there who would like to write a feature column about local club life, the bars, cabaret, theatre and other entertainment venues?
With my schedule, I don't stay up late and would love to find someone to cover those areas and anything else "Grove." Columns with different points of view (older, younger, gay, lesbian, straight, bi, tranny, etc) would be awesome! (Photo above: Schmoozing at Floyd's.) Please contact me at

Weather report: In the past two weeks, weather here has been cold, cool. warm, hot, humid, windy, rainy and perfect for the beach (sometimes all in one day.) It does reinforce the theory that there might be something terribly wrong with our eco-system. Then, again, May and June weather can be very unpredictable and what we're experiencing is simply "seasonal."

As I've mentioned in past editions, a younger generation of gays and lesbians seems be taking hold in Cherry Grove, and businesses are trying to figure out how to get their attention and compete for their business. (When I say younger, I mean men and women in their thirties and forties. Those in younger groups can't afford to come here on a regular basis, except as day trippers, tricks,  houseguests and part time shares -- not frequent enough to get involved in form our community's future.) Our younger people seem more content with who they are and less in need of drawing attention to themselves than we were. As a result, there is a more relaxed, less frantic, air about our town that quite appeals. (Photo above right: Schmoozing in the upstairs bar at Tides.)

Less positive is their tendency toward quick fixes to problems anda lack of interest in community affairs, letting others make decisions that affect their lives. That lack of interest might cause them to someday wind up with the kind of community that they don't want when it's too late to do anything about it.

New owners of the Cherry Grove business community certainly have a lot of spark going for them these days. I recently attended a meeting of business owners at Jumping Jacks (photo left), where the topic was whether or not to have a fireworks display this year. (Yes, there will, but more about that later.) The point was that they got together to discuss something of mutual interest and got along famously. The old Cherry Grove Chamber of Commerce never had the  knack and nothing got done. Maybe this time it'll work. There are larger issues that need their attention, and let's hope that they find their way to them.

The annual fireworks display that usually takes place in June has been delayed 'til August. Specifics will be published in our next edition.

The Grove is all a-tizzy over the following article that was recently published in the I'm not sure whether the piece was meant to be satire or ridicule.


There’s a hole at the center of Cherry Grove, into which all of the new gossip of the tiny village’s downtown is being poured


-- "The hole appeared maybe in March. It was the size of—and as oddly shaped a trapezium as—a bad West Village studio.

"The town’s dock becomes a short boardwalk that deposits arrivals deboarding the boat from the mainland at a cramped, poorly planned intersection; that is Cherry Grove, Fire Island’s entire tiny downtown.

"So arrivals find that to their right is a restaurant, and then behind that a bar. Ahead of them is the walkway to a bar; and behind that the pizza parlor; and, a bit up, a store; and, nearer, a Prudential Douglas Elliman office. To their left is a tiny post office, another real estate office and a bar. In the middle of all this, essentially, is the hole.

"As spring came, the hole became a bit of real estate in its own right. Rebar was posted. Eventually, a waist-high concrete wall was poured along its periphery. This work had been done, now and again, by different young men, white and Latino. Who employed them, and on whose behalf, was not clear. None seemed to be particularly skilled, but some of them were shirtless, and therefore were often photographed.

"One particularly thin yet muscular young man, referred to around town as 'the porn star,' disappeared from his work at the hole for a day or two.

"One of the joys of a small town, like this outpost on Fire Island with its entire physical presence described by just shy of 300 buildings, is that everyone knows absolutely everything, except the details of all those things, which are usually conveyed increasingly incorrectly as each person takes his turn with each story.

"For one thing, it was unclear whether this workman had ever performed in a pornographic film, or whether the nickname only asserted the analogy between such performers and this guy with the slightly shaggy, swaggery demeanor.

"The story was, according to people in town, that the porn star had brought his young daughter to town for a while. In her presence, his lover had made sexual comments to him.

"'I want to suck your dick' was cited as one of these comments; an unsurprising thing to say to a lover, but less plausible in front of his young daughter.

"Over this, or over something else, the young man had beaten his lover 'to a pulp,' according to two residents; had, they and others said, broken the other (older!) man’s jaw; and then been arrested and taken to the mainland for a day, or two, or more.

"In any event, he did eventually return. The porn star’s hands, when I saw them, were mangled, every knuckle bloody. They looked like a Bonobo’s feet.

"There was more. That had just been one of three altercations that day, according to a real estate agent downtown.

"So progress on the hole was slow. As May came on, renters arrived to join the owners. The small grocery store opened. The island’s population exploded. The trees came in. Frogs began their screaming in the evenings. The big hole gained a small hole inside itself; a cinder-block heart, surrounded by a sand field, nestled inside the concrete retaining wall.

"Memorial Day weekend, the real beginning of the season, came at last. According to what everyone said, it was a project of the pizza parlor.

"'It’s an interesting idea to put a septic tank in the town square,' said a landscape architect on Friday at noon. 'I don’t know what to say about it.'

He talked about it with an East Village landlord for a while.

"'They should get Claus Oldenburg to do a big soft sculpture of a turd over it,' said the architect.

"The restaurant directly opposite the septic tank, the Island Breeze—newly rebuilt, again; that location has a long history of suspicious off-season fires—was putting up American flag bunting. 'That’d make a cute little skirt,' said the architect.

"Everyone was here. At night every house was lit up. Residents of the town by then included an early retired Long Island Rail Road conductor; an esteemed conceptual-minimalist artist; a designer of slippers; some great number of lesbian cops; more than enough real estate agents; a classical music critic; an Apple executive; an IBM executive; the lawyer who took Mastercard public in 2006; a Jungian therapist.

"The weekend ground itself into a frenzy with day-trippers. On Sunday, in broiling late-afternoon sun, the septic tank was being used for al fresco dining of pizza with garlic knot crust. Kelly Rowland’s 'Work' played; 'And I Am Telling You' played for at least the second time in a few hours; then a disco remix of 'Tiny Dancer'; a house mix of Mariah Carey’s 'My All' followed by a spare version of Britney Spears’ 'Gimme More' and then Ms. Carey again, 'O.O.C.' No one was playing the new Madonna at all.

"A sunburned straight boy lay on his side on one of the downtown walks, clutching a pink plastic parrot.

"'Eh,' said the guy at the grocery store. 'Nickle and diming. Last couple of years, that’s been the trend. Nobody’s got it, nobody wants to spend it.'

"Late Sunday night, the four main audio systems downtown, each playing different music full blast, swirled into a cold torrent of noise. The moon came up late, the wind from New York City pulling all the sound further east in a tangle. A boy was weeping and shivering on the septic tank. No one was really talking, just shouting or squealing or ranting—and walking in circles, making for, as in Rope, long, uninterrupted sequences.

"'Guys, guys, guys, why aren’t we going to a bar? Why are we walking more into coldness?"' one man asked his friends.

"Another described a man he’d found attractive to his friends, who had not. 'Totally like dumb, like hot, like straight up from L.A.,' he said.

"The rectangular hole inside the queer square hole—the septic proper, delineated by the cinder blocks—had nearly a dozen slabs of concrete laid across its top, shortways. In the moonlight, the slabs were silver. Each section looked like a baby’s coffin.

"Memorial Day was quieter—mostly. 'Pizza, pizza, pizza!' screeched a boy, quoting Amy Sedaris from Strangers With Candy. So much pizza. His pack followed behind him, past the septic and up to lunch."

Editor: The photo that accompanies the article was taken two years ago and makes me wonder if the writer was actually ever here or was the story related to him second hand. The fight that involved a "porn star" was an unfortunate incident right out of a Tennessee Williams play, when a young drifter is taken advantage of and  destroyed by a town. The young man seemed troubled and sad and who knows what his real story was. I mean, Cherry Grove is one of the few places where people would actually be impressed by someone who said they were a porn star. (At least on the surface.) I don't suppose anybody ever cared enough to ask the guy anything beyond "Can I suck your cock?"  Tragic is what our sometimes dispassionate lifestyle can do to the young.

The hole (photo right) will eventually contain a cesspool that has to exist before an ice cream store can occupy the adjoining store. The hole is not as offensive as the debris from the Michael's fire was several years ago. It's also not the eyesore that the Top of the Bay was before its recent restoration. The project must conform to strict zoning laws that demand the cesspool be twice the size of the store. That's a lot of shit! (if you'll pardon the expression.) And how many times have you taken a dump at Dairy Queen?


Of course, some of the camp that was "Old Cherry Grove" does occasionally rear its head. Take for instance, the pirates I ran into on the boardwalk two weeks ago (photo above left.) As it turned out, they were from Ye Pyrate Brotherhood, a historical entertainment group for hire for any occasion. They hosted a Pirate Tea at Tides last weekend. You can contact them at (631) 334-2413. E-mail: Website:

Last Saturday night, Rosie was walking the boards (photo above right) passing out samplings of her delicious desserts that she creates exclusively for Island Breeze. Her getup is for fun, her desserts are seriously delish.

One evening last week, I walked into Island Breeze and had a nice conversation with three women (two were from Oklahoma and one was from I forget) who were on vacation and staying in a mainland hotel. Their cab driver suggested coming over to Cherry Grove to enjoy the sites and they told me that they were having a great time. (Photo above left.) Josie (photo above right) is now working at Island Breeze.

Last weekend, it was warm enough to dine al fresco at Top of the Bay Bistro where lunch and dinner were being served inside and out on the deck overlooking the Great South Bay (photo left). Customers were ooohing and ahhhhing over Chef Judy's short ribs that were eighty-six by the time we got there. Damn!

On July 12, Top of the Bay Bistro will host a fundraiser for the benefit of The Island Repertory Theatre Company from 3 to 6 pm. A suggested contribution of fifty dollars will include wine, cheese, Chef Judy's hors d'oeuvres, live music and a chance to meet Steven Fales, star of Island Rep's blockbuster season opener "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" (Photo right). More benefit info will appear here in our next edition. You can also charge Top of the Bay Bistro benefit tickets and order reserved seating to "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" on Master Card or Visa at 631 597-9439.

(To ATGT readers and business owners: Here's you're chance to "give back" for all the free hours of information, entertainment and free publicity that you get here.) Besides, you'll love Steven Fales. He's a doll!)

Casting for Island Rep’s upcoming production of Sordid Lives has been completed and I’m ecstatic to have such talented people involved. Here's the lineup: Sally Ann Piacentino (Bitsy Mae Harling), Cem Uyanik (Ty Williamson), Edrie Ferdun (Sissy Hickey), Denise Harbin (Noleta Nethercott), Barbara Flood (Latrelle Williamson), Michelle Coffaro (La Vonda Dupree), Vicki Solomon (Juanita), Dennis Callahan (G.W. Nethercott), Seth Michael Donsky (Wardell “Bubba” Owens), John Philip (Odell Owens), Robyn Murray (Dr. Eve Bolinger) and Tommy “Tush” DiMastri (Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram). Even the rehearsals are hilarious.

Twenty-five percent of our season's tickets have already been sold and encourage you to buy yours early. Subscribe to the whole season and see three shows for only sixty dollars. As a perk, season subscribers will attend one of three staged readings of new plays absolutely free.

Island Rep box office, located on the ground floor of the Top of the Bay Bistro building on the dock, is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m-3 p.m. You can also charge your tickets on Master Card and Visa at 631 597-9439. People from outside our area can buy tickets at

Two weeks ago Thursday, someone told me that friend Petra (photo above left) was guest bartender at Jumping Jacks and I thought that I would drop by and say hello. She introduced me to Jacks manager Niki (photo above right), who told me about the new items that have been added to their menu.

Ambi Mozzarella, Tuna Sashimi and Veggie Stack at Jumping Jacks

The following night, Big Nacho Man and I went to Jacks for dinner and sampled some of the new dishes that included  the three delicious appetizers (pictured above.) Ambi Mozzarella (Pieces of Filet Minon, Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella, with Mesculin Greens, Red Onions and Roasted Peppers topped with Balsamic Reducdtion; Tuna Sashimi (`Sliced Black & Blue Tuna served with Seaweed Salad, Wonton Chips, Soy Sauce, Thai Chili Sauce, Wasabi and Pickled Ginger; ( Veggie Stack (Grilled Zucchini, Squash, Portobello Mushrooms, Eggplant, Tomato, Roasted Red Peppers, Stacked high and topped with Balsamic Reduction.

Other new menu items include Lobster Bisque, Seafood Paella and King Crab Pancetta Pasta. Yummy!

The Annual PAWS Benefit was held at The Ice Palace last Saturday night. Somebody was supposed to take photos for us, but (as of this writing) hasn't sent anything in. I took a few photos at the door (above) and have to say that if the people onstage were as glamorous as the people in the audience, it must have been one hell of a show.

People, Places and Things:  According to a man with PC sitting on a bench in front of the Community House, it's the best spot to connect to Wireless Internet (Photo right). . . Cherry's & Ice Palace both host underwear optional parties this weekend. . . Craig & Julian at The Belvedere Guest House are telling people how happy they are with their new website... Entertainment Lineup at Tides: Saturday, June 15 -- Karoake 4-8, Victoria Chase 10:30; Tuesday, June 17 -- Cabaret Night 11 pm; Tuesday, June 20 -- Underwear Party; Saturday, June 21 -- Angelique Ali 11 pm; Wednesday, June 25 -- Trivia 5-9, Strippers 11 pm-3 am; Friday, June 27 --  Underwear Party 10:30 pm. Wednesday, July 2 -- Opening Night of Island Rep's Confessions of a Mormon Boy starring Steven Fales. . . .  New Attractions at Island Breeze: Stud Wednesdays; Freeballin' Fridays (The Anti-Underwear Party); Pajama Party Saturdays (with Go-Go Boys); Fridays and Saturdays -- DJ Joe Mendez. . . .PAWS Pet Blessing at the Community House, June 22, 10 am. . . . Starting June 22, impressionist Jason Zambos will do his fabulous cabaret show at Cherry's on Sundays and Tuesday nights. Don't miss this!

If you'd like your event mentioned here on ATGT, just e-mail info to and you'll no doubt see it in our next edition.

As The Grove Turns was founded on May 15, 2000. So far, we have received over a million visits to our site from over fifty countries. Next edition of As The Grove Turns: June 25, 2008. 'Til then, God bless.


"Because a great community deserves great theatre."


Richard LaFrance, Artistic Director

Adminstrative Directors: Lorie Bradshaw and Wendy Lewis

E-mail:  Website:pan:





July 2-13


 written and performed by STEPHEN FALES

directed by JACK HOFSISS

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8;  Wednesdays, Sundays and Mondays at 7

August 1-3, 8-10, 15-17


a black comedy about white trash

written by DEL SHORES

directed by RICHARD LaFRANCE

Fridays and Saturdays at 8; Sundays and Mondays at 7

August 22-24

NEW PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS SERIES: Three Staged Readings of exciting new works.

Fridays and Saturdays at 8; Sundays at 7
*Free Event — Subscribers Only.

Subscribers will be invited to a staged reading of an exciting new play and participate in a discussion with the director and actors after the show.

 For more information visit



 Buy your reserved seat subscriptions early and get the best seats available for the show dates of your choice. Three-event subscriptions cost a total of sixty dollars each.

The Island Rep Box Office is located on the ground floor of the Top of the Bay Building on the dock. Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m-3 p.m or

Tickets: Call Island Rep Credit Card Hotline: 631 597-9439,

Single-Show Tickets:

"Mormon Boy": Theatremania/Mormon Boy

"Sordid Lives": Theatremania/Sordid Lives





Dear Friends:

For all the hours of free informative fun you spend reading our webzine, we hope you'll consider making your 2008 tax-deductible donation to The Island Repertory Theatre Company, our sister organization that is asking for your assistance in helping raise the money to produce their ninth fabulous season of presenting gay-themed comedies and dramas that chronicle the GLBT experience at The Tides Playhouse in Cherry Grove.

Please add your name to the following list of contributors:


The following people have made tax-deductible contributions to The Island Repertory Theatre Company in 2008 in the following categories. Please contribute what you can afford.

Founder $1,000+:

Richard Fenn

Richard LaFrance

Producer $500*:

Tony Finstrom & Jack Dezak Ron King & Justin Jones

Director $250+:

Jan Felshin & Edrie Ferdun Michael Kobos & Donald Egan
Walter B. Quetsch Charles Whipple

Dr. Anna Tirado & Ms. Henriette Von Woerkom

Patron $100+

Edwin & Neil Juan Punchin
Anonymous Jeffrey Zirpolo
Karen Durka Steven Tepper
James P. Hughes The House of Mae Bush
Tom Holden Roy and Barbara Flood
Bill Ottignon Virginia McInerney
Dan Nafziger John Philip
Rita & Jack Lichtenstein Bill & Tony Tholtsiniathis 
Jim Kapsalis The Cubby Hole (Fort Lauderdale)
Paul E. Elsener Ralph M. Hays & Harold Fried

Supporter $50+:

Mark Donatelli Anonymous
David J. Garfinkel Al Wolff
Lorenzo F. Pugliese Harold Seeley
Thomas McKenna Robert Michel
Ken Fabbrini Carl & Linda Eisenberg
Al Wolff James Keys
William Marino Anonymous
Tom Cunningham JKTWO LLC
Richard Daddario Gay Nathan and Julie Paradise
Edward Mallon Dan Daly
Jim Kelly Kim Guzalak & Anita Grosso

*Let us know if you prefer that your name not be listed as a contributor.

For your convenience, you can charge your tax-deductible donation in increments of $100 at PAYPAL or send a check payable to The Island Repertory Theatre Company in any amount you can afford to:

Richard Fenn, Treasurer,

Island Rep,

150 East 69th Street, #20M,

New York, NY 10021.

Island Rep is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Be sure to mark your check “tax deductible contribution.” 

You can also charge your donation to a major credit card by calling us at: 631 597-9439.

Unless you advise us otherwise, your name will be added to the list of 2008 donors that is published in every edition of ATGT as well as on the Rep website.

Does your place of employment have a matching-grant program? Donations made in this manner are also completely tax-deductible.

Our 2008 Fundraising Goal is $18,000. Please Help!

"A Fire Island Gem" – Dan Evans, F.I Tide

"The Miracle of Legitimate Theatre" – Jeanne Lieberman, Fire Island Sun


For further information, visit our website: 

Thank you,
Richard LaFrance, Artistic Director
The Island Repertory Theatre Company

OUR MISSION: The Island Repertory Theatre Company is a Cherry Grove-based not-for-profit 501(c(3) arts organization dedicated to promoting cultural exchange, social interaction and goodwill between Fire Island communities by presenting time-honored and new plays that chronicle the GLBT experience.

Board of Directors: Richard Fenn, President; Lorie Bradshaw, George Cabell; Peter Downes, Pierre Galarneau, Alan Hassell, Justin Jones, Ron King, Richard LaFrance, Frank Santoro, Wendy Lewis, Juan Punchin, Nicole Pressly-Wolf, Bill Todt.


All Donations Are Tax-Deductible!


 Fort Lauderdale's Butch Bar For Men


To visit our website on the net click here.



Hi Richard...

Just a note to say hi From Barcelona.....everything is going well so far...and I am really enjoying my trip, as well as my work (which is play).

Thank you for the very nice write up in you column. I miss seeing you every morning, but August 16th will come soon enough!

Please send my best to all! I look forward to coming to Cherry Grove for the end of The Summer.

Dan Daly


Hey Guys,

I’m going to be back out in Cherry Grove this weekend for my annual concert at the Community House Saturday, and hope to see y’all at some point over the weekend.  It’s gonna’ still be hot!

I’m staying at the Belvedere again, and if you want to join me, make a reservation at (and tell them Isaac sent you.)  We’re kicking things off there with a little “Friday the 13th party” poolside around 10 PM.  There’ll be complimentary beer and snacks, and as always, clothing is optional.

And if you want to continue keeping your clothes off, after that head downtown where both Cherry’s and the Ice Palace are having underwear parties on Friday nights.

Speaking of the Ice Palace, I completely forgot to mention in my last email that I won the Mr. Fire Island Leather Contest (and the Mr. MeatRack portion of the contest as well!)  Kudos to Sal Piro, John Doyle and Ariel Sinclair for continuing another tradition I started!  (And my apologies for not acknowledging them earlier.)  You can read an excellent article about the contest at

Saturday night is my annual classical recital to raise money for the Arts Project of Cherry Grove.  Hosted by the incredibly hilarious and elegant Philomena for the last ten years, this year it’s called OceanAires: Rated X.  It’s at 8:30 at the Community House, and a nice balance between drag, comedy and classical music, so it’s not to high brow.  Audiences love it.

And keeping with its theme, following at 11 PM is a lingerie party at the Island Breeze.  You can’t be completely naked, but feel free to wear as little as you want, and check out what I have on under my robe!

And if I don’t see you this weekend, look for me in two weeks in NYC at the Gay Pride March, which I’ll be a judge at in the stands at 23rd Street.  So I’ll see you soon, on one island or another…



Hello M La France,
Como ca va?
I just wanted to share this with you. You remember Sam Harris, I'm sure. I have him as one of my "Friends" on MySpace and he put this out a couple of weeks ago. He's a recovered alcoholic, he's been in a committed relationship for almost 14 years... He and his partner, Danny, recently adopted a baby boy..... AND.... he quit smoking last year.
If you look at his YouTube videos, he genuinely seems to care about us, his audience. Someone was having a difficult time and he took the time to make sure that others would care for that person and he jumped in when he could since his schedule was crazed... and he did check on that person.
So, if you have the time, take a look at this little video of someone who brings back humanity....If I have the time to type out a manuscript, I will because I really think this is important.
Take it easy


I have not been to the grove in years i am just like to know what happen to Sherwood  i know him from the top of the bay and the monster in NYC thank you.



Hello all, I hope everyone is doing well.  We had our first meeting of the season last Saturday 5/31 at Les Boys. many thanks to Michael and Tom for hosting.
We set the date for the garden tour for Sat. July 5 12:30 - 2:30 East Side, 2:30 -4:30 West Side
the tour will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.
We are in the process of securing host gardens for the tour.
$500 was earmarked for charitable donations.  Additional discussion at the next meeting
Charles and I will host the next meeting, Sat. June 14 at 11am  202 Surf Walk

I am sorry to report that Jim Kelly has decided to resign as Club Treasurer effective June 1.  On behalf of the Garden Club I would like to offer our thanks to him for doing such an excellent job. 
Thank you Jim!

See you soon,


Hi -
I created a simple webage covering my recent experience serving on the PCH Prize Patrol and thought you'd like to see it.
FYI - the webpage seems to load better in Internet Explorer for some reason.

Jack Quinn
Project Manager, E-Commerce
Publishers Clearing House


Hello, we hope that you are well and enjoying the warmer weather.

Generally we do not distribute this type of information, but believe that this instance qualifies for an exception.

NYS Governor Patterson has said that NYS will recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states and countries. He's doing a poll on whether people support it. If you're interested in taking 15 seconds to lodge your support, just call 1-518-474-8390 - and say "I support the Governor's directive on marriage", then give them your 5 digit (New York) zip code.

Please send this to all your friends and progressive coworkers in New York as soon as possible.  Thanks for your kind consideration.

Best regards,

Matt & John
(The Hoffas)


THE PETER PRINCIPLE   by Peter Ellison


I said I’d never come back to work at this beach. Needless to say, I didn’t keep my word.

This place is a microcosm of unique proportions. Unique in its social interactions (with a notoriously fluctuation-prone economy) make this getaway destination a gem in relation to what the rest of the world has to offer.

Irrespective of the financial considerations businesses bring to the table, this place is something special. There is an intangible something here that draws masses, straight people too, to this section of Fire Island.

For me, it has always been the positive energy most people exhibit. Friendliness has always seemed like a prerequisite to inhabiting this place. It makes sense, after all. Most folks come here for vacationing, for an easygoing, private time. Others are drawn here for the unique social scene and look to mix it up and interact with others. Some come to observe, they wish to witness what they can’t seem to conceive of in their mind, namely a socially uninhibited environment with occasionally naked people on the beach.

But this place is more than naked people, men dressing as women, women imitating men and thunderous house music blaring on into the early morning, this place is a community. Whether you like it or not (or consider it or not) this place has a strong nucleus. There is a chamber of commerce, a property owners association and an organized fire and rescue service. Not to mention organizations supporting the arts and plenty of places for shopping, dining and the like. But, after all, I said I would never come back here.

What I began to hate about my job at Cherry Grove last season was anything and everything. The long hours, the irresponsible late-night drunk crowd, the occasionally unappreciative customer and of course, rarely being able to actually enjoy the beach were all negatives.

Nestled next to a large pizza oven, the summer can seem unmerciful and remote. Things pass you by and you wonder if you actually enjoyed them or not. You begin to wonder whether or not you even participated in your time off from school, your supposed hiatus from responsibility. For me, this was troubling.

Now that I am back, in need of college cash and something to keep me occupied, I realize that I didn’t make that vow because I have grown to hate this place, but I made the vow because I thought I was ready to move on. I thought this was going to be it for me. I thought I would stop slinging slices of pizza at 1-in-the-morning. I imagined myself someplace exotic or in a new and exciting job. My mind could transport me anywhere and I could will myself there by next season, I used to think. But then, reality reconciled with my desires.

I had goals, ends to meet. This job fit the bill. I could make cash, I could work long hours, thus not spending my money, and all the while I could be the little straight-boy at the pizza place, a kind of fly on the wall in an otherwise unknown (to me) social community.

Some of my friends say, “Well of course everybody’s nice to you, you’re a 20-something college boy at a gay beach.” While that makes sense, I still respect most of the people I come into contact with. While I have no illusions about my true importance in the overall scheme of Cherry Grove’s happenings, I do consider myself a relatively unique and fortunate person. I mean, there aren’t many straight people on a gay island and, regardless of the fact that I catch the eye of some men, people are damn nice in general and that makes me happy . . . makes me feel welcome.




Photos by Justine La Hagela




Mike at Cherry's


The Monster website


Fire Island Follies



Sex and the Island



June 11, 2008 -- I’m pretty sure that all of us have experienced some form of loss in our lives. Some losses are insignificant and easy to get over with, like the loss of a pen. But some losses are much tougher to get over and deal with, like a loss of a loved one.

For those of you who have experienced what it’s like to date someone, you know that we can experience some form of loss. Some losses are easier to handle and get over with, like a bad first date. But some are harder to deal and get over with, like a break up.

But what if what was lost was an opportunity – an opportunity to discover and find out if what you have started with someone could turn into something meaningful and special? What’s more, what if this lost opportunity was unexpected? How do you handle such a loss? These thoughts have certainly been on my mind for the last few weeks.

Of all the guys I have dated, “John” is probably the most accomplished. He was a refugee from a war-torn country, and moved with his family to the United States in search of a better life. He graduated with a degree in business from Georgetown University, and was a recipient of numerous scholarships, including the prestigious Scholarship America. He has been in NYC for 5 months and currently works in finance for a world-wide investment management company.

John contacted me last March through Yahoo Personals. It was a late Sunday night (or early Monday morning), and I was just about to shut down my computer and call it a night when I got an alert that I have an email. I have not received an email from Yahoo Personals in a long time, so I was curious to know who emailed me. After reading John’s profile and email, I was intrigued and definitely wanted to make contact. But there was one problem – I didn’t have a paid subscription to Yahoo personals, which was needed to be able to respond to any emails. For almost 30 min, I read and re-read John’s profile and email and examined his pictures, wondering if it was worth paying $26.99 to respond to him. I decided to take the risk and paid for a one month subscription and responded to John. After a few minutes, I received a reply email from him, and soon we were chatting on Yahoo Messenger for almost an hour. After three days of online chatting and phone conversations, John and I decided to meet in person.

We met on a Wednesday after work at Starbucks. He was running late so I grabbed a table and started studying. A few minutes later, John showed up. He looked even cuter in person, and had a smile that can light up an entire room. We only planned to have coffee because he wasn’t feeling very good that night. But after a few minutes of talking, we decided to have dinner at a Thai restaurant nearby. During dinner, we talked about everything, from where we were born, to what we did earlier. We continued our conversation over coffee at a café across the street. There were some mild flirtations during that time. And after almost 3 hours, John walked me to the subway. When I got home, I received a text message from him telling me how much fun he had, and I responded with the same message. It was definitely one of the best first dates I have ever had.

Four days later, while still recovering from a mild case of flu, John surprised me by visiting me while I was studying at my school library. When I walked outside, he took out a granola bar from his pocket, telling me to take a break from studying. We walked around campus, sat by a bench, and had our first kiss (yes, I risked getting sick myself, but who can resist a good kiss?). It was definitely a great night.

For the following weeks, John and I spent a lot of time together. After class, he would invite me over to his place and made me dinner. I spent some quiet nights with him and slept over several times. We had great conversations every time we were together. All signs were pointing to a romantic possibility. Well…not quite.

Almost a month since our first date, after dinner, John dropped a bombshell – he was moving back to L.A. for work. To be honest, I wasn’t completely surprised as I knew that he really likes L.A. and that his company has an office there. But what took me by surprise was the timing. He has only been in NYC for 6 months and I’ve only been hanging out with him for a month. Three days later, we met up again to discuss what to do next. We decided not to pursue anything romantic because of the distance, but remain friends.

As I walked down Eighth Avenue on my way home, I started to sort through my feelings towards John and his moving back to L.A. He was definitely one of a kind. He treated me the way anyone should be treated. He was considerate, thoughtful, and sincere. And as I indicated earlier, I wasn’t completely surprised with him moving back. What took me by surprise was the timing of his departure. I felt that his stay and our time together were too short. I felt that it was unfair.

As the days passed and his departure day got closer, I started to think of the Five  Stages of Grief, as introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-born psychiatrist and author of the groundbreaking book “On Death and Dying.” I thought to myself that I could be going through these five stages of grief. I was in DENIAL for a while. I can't believe this happened. I kept telling myself and friends that I am fine, but in reality I wasn’t. I had thoughts of a miracle, that one day between now until he leaves, something will happen that will make him stay. I also experienced some ANGER, not towards John, but towards fate. This is so unfair. And then there is the BARGAINING stage. During this time, I asked John what can happen to make him stay, and if there was any way I can convince him to stay…to no avail. It’s just the nature of his job, and he really prefers L.A. The fourth stage is DEPRESSION. To be clear, I didn’t get depressed, but there have been moments of sadness and tears, especially in the days following his bombshell announcement. And finally, ACCEPTANCE. I have to come to terms with the fact that he will be leaving, but I am not sure if I have fully accepted it. I think that only when he finally leaves that it will finally hit me, and lead me to full acceptance.

I went to Northport, Long Island during Memorial Day to attend a friend’s birthday, which was held on the beach. As I walked along the shore and looked over the water, I was reminded of my personal motto in life, “Everything happens for a reason.” I may never know why I was given only a short time to be with John, but I do have faith that it was for the best, and that something else is in store, not just for me, but also for him. I also reminded myself that what’s important is that I enjoyed every moment I spent with John, and that what I lost in a potential romance with him, I gained with his friendship. Besides, now I have a good reason to visit the West Coast and because of this, I know for a fact that our paths will cross again.

So today, as I close another chapter in my dating life story, I dedicate my column to my dear friend John – a person who has made a positive impact in my life, and carved a special place in my heart. I feel blessed, grateful, and honored to have met him, and I know I will be seeing him again. He may be moving 2,462 miles away, but our memories together will always be close by. 

About the author: Lloyd is 25 years old and has a BA degree in Psychology from Stony Brook University. He is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Social Work at Fordham University. He currently works for a printing/graphics design company as a production coordinator. He loves volleyball, badminton, bowling, movies, books, writing, biking, hiking, the beach, and hanging out with his friends. He is currently single. He currently resides in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. Prior to that, he lived in Huntington, Long Island for 6 years.

For comments or questions, please email him at


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Packed with 13 breathtaking natural scenes of Fire Island Men on pristine beaches and forests of Fire Island. The images are from Emmy award winning film maker Tom Castle's upcoming photography book licensed exclusively for this project. All models are Pines/Grove residents or visitors over 18 years old who volunteered to be photographed ‘as is’ in clothing optional areas of the beach and forest.





May 29, 2008 -- Three teenage burglars sneaked off into the night with a flat-screen television, an abstract painting, iPods and cameras from homes on a secluded Fire Island community -- including one belonging to fashion designer Michael Kors -- only to be caught before they could get their prizes onto the mainland, Suffolk police and a caretaker of two of the homes said.

Investigators believe the suspects boarded the Davis Park ferry to the island and crept into five homes through open doors and windows early Tuesday. They smuggled a painting from New York artist Tim Steele; an entire backpack from one resident with his wallet, checkbook, digital camera and car keys; and a flat-screen television from the home of Michael Kors, police and the caretaker, Gervaise Miller-Baker, said.

"It's a little paradise over there," Miller-Baker said of the quiet Water Island community, where there are no cars or shops, and residents frequently leave their doors unlocked.

Police did not release the names of any of the victimized homeowners. Four of the five homes were unoccupied at the time of the break-ins. But Miller-Baker said Kors had been notified and spoken with the authorities.

"I think he's thankful that it was just a TV," she said of the "Project Runway" judge.

Tuesday morning, one of the plundered residents contacted police and a tipster provided detectives with a description of the suspects. Fifth Squad Det. Sgt. Daniel Molloy said several of the suspects were found at the Davis Park ferry and the stolen goods recovered from a home belonging to a friend's family. Officers also found a camera and radio they'd apparently thrown in the water.

"They had no means to take all this stuff off the island," Molloy said. Nor did the teens know whose homes they were targeting, the sergeant said. "They seemed remorseful."

Christopher Cassidy, 18, Anthony Hawkins, 18, and Benjamin Miller, 17, all of Medford, were charged with burglary and arraigned yesterday at First District Court in Central Islip. Each pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance to the Department of Probation, authorities said.

Robert Macedonio, of Central Islip, an attorney for Hawkins, called the charges "completely out of character." He said Hawkins is to graduate from high school next month and plans to attend college.

Defense attorneys for Cassidy and Miller could not be reached for comment.



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So simple yet so profound.

Words of wisdom from that famous philosopher, Willie Nelson:

'I have outlived my dick.'