By Robert Levine ~ Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines had a season without sequins, feathers, beads, or tulle. We also missed the glamour. My closet has it all, but its not the same. All entertainment sponsored by APCG and FIPAP was suspended this season, so we missed the shows and fundraisers. We missed the freedom of going to restaurants and bars. We missed it all. Maybe next year it will return.
I did however have some visitors to “Roseland” for the first time, Debbie and George DeGroff from Washington, Maine. It was nice to have guests again.
However pop-up happenings like tutu Tuesday, celebrated by four Cherry Grove revelers, is proof that our spirit is still there. Our Homecoming Queen Ikea has been socially distancing and making appearances as needed. On behalf of the community, I am sending our love to friends who could not make it to our shores this summer because of the pandemic. We missed seeing you.
Tropical Storm Isaias left us some downed trees, roof damage and electrical outages in some pockets of the Pines and the Grove, more so on the oceanfront.
Toni Cesta, secretary of CGCAI started a Get a Star fundraiser. Stars with names have already been placed in the Community House Theatre dressing rooms and on the outside upstairs deck. There is still room for more stars if you want to have one of your own. Email Toni at cestacon.@aol to learn more.
CGCAI also is raising money for the Rat Reduction Project, with top lock garbage cans being sold for $50 each. Contact CGCAI to learn more.
Cherry Grove photographer Koitz has put together a 152-page hardcover book featuring parties, major events, drag queens, hunks and studs. The book is available at local stores in the Grove and the Pines, as well as online at gaypinkbook.com.
Greg Scarnici also has a new book out, called “Hot Rods.” It’s 100 pages of adult entertainment, again available in local shops in the Pines and Grove.
For 75 years we have had a Post Office in Cherry Grove. Originally it was across the walk at two different locations. In 1949, it was moved to its present location on Bayview Walk. We have had six postmistresses since it opened, including Betty Faraci, who commutes from Sayville to service us over the summer. Even before the pandemic, packages and traffic had surged tremendously. Extra postal boxes were installed to accommodate the demand, and can be found on the east side exterior of the building.
The Fire Island Pines Post Office has been in existence since the early 1960s. They too have had an increase in packages and also a demand for PO boxes. Presently two or three people have to share a single box, since there is no room to install additional ones. However they did build a package room two years ago when Postmaster Kent Dillon held a fundraiser for that purpose. Kent took a year off from the Pines. He is presently living in Providence, Rhode Island. Gene Cook is filling in until his return.
Larry Tallamy, Douglas Wolf and Robert Gehlmeyer have been assuming duties of driving the Margie Cart and the Sage-Kent Cart this summer. Pines residents should call 631-597-3797 for service.
Jay Pagano has lived in the Pines for 42 years. We thank him for his tireless work, love, and devotion to the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association (FIPPOA), as its president for the past 10 years. Jay will be retiring in September, and will continue to live here with his partner, Mark Fortier. Pines Conservation Society will honor him at their Fourth Annual Brunch/Silent Auction on Sunday Sept. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Whyte Hall. Seating is limited. Tickets are available at pinesconservationsociety.org.
Although there was no Fire Island Dance Festival this year, Dancers Responding to Aids still held a virtual fundraiser, which was met with great success.
- Catholic Mass at Whyte Hall is held every Sunday, at 12:30 p.m. Masks are required.
- Cherry Grove Honors will be held on Sept. 12, from 4-7 p.m. This year we will honor all the essential workers in Cherry Grove who got us through these difficult times. Instead of a dinner, it will be held on the walks with a parade and outdoor cocktail party. More information on the Honors event will follow soon on fliers and posters in the coming weeks.
- Temple B’Nai Olam will celebrate the High Holidays this year virtually. Rosh Hashanah services shall be Friday, Sept. l8 and Saturday, Sept. 19. Yom Kippur services will be on Sunday, Sept. 27 and Monday, Sept. 28. Visit their Facebook page for scheduled times announced in the coming weeks ahead.
Cherry Grove lost one of our longtime residents, Ben Rosenstein, also known as “Goddess.”
This is our last Fire Island News issue for 2020. Although it was a shorter season, I enjoyed our time together. Looking forward to seeing you all again in 2021.
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