Fire Island Hub
New York Magazine reports that many are upset that the social hook-up app Grindr is destroying the social scene on Fire Island:
Log in to Grindr on Fire Island, as you would anywhere else, and you’ll see a grid of 100 smiling faces and headless muscled torsos, a catalogue of men accessible from the comfort of your summer share’s living room. (Although cell-phone service on the island can be spotty, most houses are equipped with Wi-Fi.) The app has been called a “virtual bathhouse” and been pegged by some as a reason for the decline of the gay bar, but in a place like Fire Island, it may be especially destructive. Aside from the beach, a large part of the attraction of the Pines scene is the opportunity to rub shoulders, and maybe sleep, with attractive and powerful gay men. “Not long ago, you’d walk around here and everybody would be cruising each other, not anonymously, but face to face,” said Sal Occhipinti, a tanned 43-year-old, at a recent afternoon “high tea” dance party in the Pines harbor. A few feet away, on the largely empty patio of the Blue Whale, a group of three men were busily typing on their devices next to the bar. According to Occhipinti, even the Meat Rack, the notoriously cruisy wooded area between the Pines and Cherry Grove, has been taken over by glowing iPhone screens.
Fire Island's main social hub was also destroyed by fire last November, and has only been partially rebuilt.
UPDATE: Grindr sent us a response to the story.
Grindr makes it easier for gay guys to meet other gay guys. It’s a social ice-breaker, and we're confident it's having a positive impact on gay social life. Local businesses know and love Grindr. We partner with neighborhood bars and clubs around the world, and we receive great feedback from our partners. They tell us that our local promotions are driving local users to local bars. Everyone wins.
Even in a place like the Pines, it’s great to have the option to connect with just the kind of guy you're looking for rather than simply leaving it to chance. Like many gay destinations and resorts, the Pines isn't just all about meeting people but also about being with your community, being with your friends and going out to parties and attending events.
In most situations, technology has proven to be super-helpful. A guy might be too shy to approach someone at Blue Whale or another establishment. Grindr allows you to find guys you might not have encountered in your daily Pines life. It could be that neighbor you’ve never met -- the one you keep missing.
Grindr is never a replacement for real life, but it is a great tool to help you meet new people around the block, around the beach or around the world.
With summer upon us and many of the New York region's gays heading to Fire Island for some sun and fun, photographer Tom Bianchi's preparing to publish a collection of vintage polaroids in his new tome, Fire Island: The Book, within which you may to see some pretty famous faces who at that point were well in the closet.
"At the time, people were very shy and not out, so pictures could be very damaging," Bianchi told David Toussaint at Guy Spy. "By doing it as Polaroids, I could go to a party and people would see what I was doing, and it was clear that I was shooting atmosphere, not identity. Calvin Klein was out there, David Geffen. You could go through just about every creative field. Perry Ellis, Peter Allen, Jerry Herman; he wrote Hello, Dolly! on his house on the beach."
While many of the pictures feature well-chiseled men cavorting on the beach, Bianchi insists the book is more about celebrating a by-gone era than just the hot bodies.
"The book is a nostalgic remembrance of what was lost," the 66-year old photographer said. "When AIDS hit, the Pines was dead center, ground zero. It would happen within the space of a summer. If there was a house that had six friends, come spring you would discover that everyone in the house had died."
Check out some not work friendly images of Bianchi's book over at Guy Spy (again, work unfriendly).
The Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society today posted some pictures of what the Fire Island pavilion, which burned to the ground in a fire last November, might look like when construction wraps up next year. It's being designed by the firm HWKN.
Take a look at some more images, AFTER THE JUMP…
(image and inset image fire island pines historical preservation society facebook)
An unconfirmed report sprang up online late last week that Fire Islands Properties, which was destroyed by fire last November, is for sale for $22 million. Writes the blogger with the report, MarkatLarge, who wrote:
The sale of the Pines’ largest commercial property is fueled by the lack of progress being made on rebuilding the Pavilion; as of today it remains a plot of sand. An inside source tells me there have been discussions of holding High Tea, the popular early evening party, around the hotel pool area. The pool area with its one small bar will be a tight fit for close to 1,000 thirsty boys who gather for pre-dinner cocktails and dancing.
Photos above and right, of what the property looks like today.
Asked for a comment from the Village Voice's Michael Musto, co-owner Andrew Kirtzman said he had no comment: "I don't have anything for you, unfortunately, but wanted to get back to you. I hope to speak with you soon."
Kirtzman released a passionate letter about the owners' dedication to the properties following the fire.
In related news, the design for the building next door which also burned and which housed the Sip n Twirl bar, was shared over the weekend by Fire Island Pines realtor Bob Howard, on Facebook. According to Howard the foundation and girders are complete.
A September wedding on Fire Island turns into drag soup.
Our reader Sam writes: "They were married this fall in the Pines and it was really the best wedding I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because I was the best man."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Check out our previous Gay Wedding videos...
Young Gay Couple Marries in Beautiful Clip from Italy [tr]
Gay Wedding Video of the Day: Amir and Chandler [tr]
Gay Wedding Video of the Day: Ruben and Joaquin [tr]
Dan and Eric Find Their Wedding Reception [tr]
Patrick and Scott Tie the Knot in Minnesota [tr]
First Dance at a Gay Wedding [tr]
We are starting a regular column featuring gay wedding videos (see some of them at links above). If you've got a creative wedding video online you'd like to share with Towleroad to celebrate marriage equality in this column please send it along. Extravagant, simple, sexy - we'll consider them (but can't guarantee we'll post them) all - the more creative the better! Let us know at tips - at - towleroad.com.