Invasion 45 for July 4, 2020, was officially cancelled due to the coronavirus. However Nurse Panzi kept the tradition going by inviting a special group of 25 veterans, including Pines resident Hal Hayes, to join Homecoming Queen Ikea for a small skirmish. We all wore masks and social distanced. We rode the “Monitor” ferry to the Pines, where Luis Villabon, who sang the National Anthem, greeted us. Robin Byrd, PJ McAteer, Jay Pagano and a few other loyal fans welcomed us with a rose and a drink.
Awards were bestowed to Panzi for being The Spirit of the Invasion, Rose Levine received the first-ever Terri Warren Legacy Award, and the lovely Lavonia Jenkins was honored with the Bottom Of The Bay Award. Panzi and Rose Levine are still living in the Grove, and are two of the original 15 members who attended the first Invasion. Lyn Hutton now lives in North Carolina. Unfortunately everyone else has passed on.
“Dining With the Divas” opened their season with Ginger Snap, Victoria Falls and Davita Jones. Thanks to Jacque Piazza for a great evening.
Unfortunately over Fourth of July Weekend, bad energy started generating in the Pines. A large group of young, gay party people arrived on the holiday weekend to attend house parties and a Meat Rack Party. They too invaded the Pines to participate in large gatherings to dance, drink, and smoke with no masks and no social distancing. Who organized these parties? Don’t they know there is a global pandemic going on in this world?
Fire Island Pines is a private, exclusive community where people really do live, work, and enjoy the beauty of Fire Island. Bad press went as viral as the pandemic itself, creating an embarrassment for the Grove, Pines and Fire Island as a whole. Respected community organizations like FIPPOA and FIPAP, CGCAI and APCG had nothing to do with these events.
Suffolk County police monitors the situation by helicopters, as well as on foot, and broke up the parties. One young man within the group shared a rant on Instagram saying, “I hope all of you get f—ing covid.” He seemed happy to spread it around. We don’t need people who come to exploit our hospitality. It’s not happening.
Social distancing is possible, and we had a great night dining at Cherry Grove Pizza, who knows how to do it right. The local post office in the Pines and Grove are also doing a fantastic job handling the increase of packages and will need more space to handle the extra demand.
Visitors to “Roseland” recently included Joe Barros, who has directed and choreographed many shows in the Pines and Broadway, with his partner Hector Flores Jr. They are both on COVID leave from Broadway. Joe is also the artistic director of New York Theatre Barn, which is now streaming their events.
Cherry Grove Fire Department built a new sub-station on Duryea Walk to house their second fire truck. This will make a faster response for the east end of the Grove. A small
ceremony for the official opening was held.
Pines Party 2020: “Through The Looking Glass” has been cancelled. However Broadway Cares Dancers Responding to Aids was enjoyed virtually on July 17 and 18, to keep the tradition going strong. Until next time everyone!
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