The Fire Island Fire



The fire | Unknown photographer | Death and Taxes | 14432

Fire Island lived up to its name on Monday evening, 14 November 2011, when fire broke out in the community known as “The Pines” destroying a number of gay premises. The fire engulfed and destroyed much of the Pavilion, C.F. LaFountaine, Sip N’ Twirl, the Pines Bistro and a bay front home. Nineteen fire engines attended the conflagration.

Fire Island has been gay for a long time, Oscar Wilde having holidayed there. The businesses and homes are expected to be rebuilt.


After the fire | Uli Seit/New York Times | 14435


The Pines in 1998 | Robert Zash | 14433

THE Pavilion dance club, a hedonistic playground for three generations of gay men in Fire Island Pines, was destroyed, stirring memories in gay communities in New York City and elsewhere. Even with gay marriage legal in New York, its dance floor is still held with mythic regard, a “gay utopia,” in the words of Andrew Kirtzman, the former television newsman who recently bought the club with two business partners, and has vowed to rebuild it.

The New York Times has been getting gay A list quotes.

Andrew Holleran, author, “Dancer From the Dance”:

“It was about cruising. Going there on the most ordinary nights was like going to your prom times 10. Before the place was soundproofed, the music was so loud that a friend and I would sit home in our house and wait to hear Barry White’s ‘Love’s Theme’ come on and then run around the harbor to get on the dance floor.”

Michael Musto, Village Voice nightlife columnist:

“This past summer, I went to the Pavilion for low tea with cable star Robin Byrd, her husband, and some friends. It was so hot the dogs were sticking to the boardwalk. And it was even more broiling inside the Pavilion because of the intense body heat and the lack of any kind of overpowering air-conditioning system. But Byrd started performing a flag dance, waving the banners around like mad, and she got so aggressively into it, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still doing it as we speak.”

Larry Kramer, writer, AIDS activist:

“You don’t separate the Pavilion from the other parts that burned down. It’s like St.-Tropez: it’s one of the great watering spas of social culture. It is the gay place to go during the summer, and it has been for many years, since I was very young. I hope they can get it ready for next summer.”

The Pavilion is being reconstructed.

Text updated 12 January 2013



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