“The only ‘must-do’ on Fire Island is precisely what you feel like doing.” So says Jeff Monachino, Director of Licensing at Sony Music, who has made this mythic barrier island on the south side of New York’s Long Island his summer getaway for nearly twenty years. “It can be beautiful and serene or absolutely social — whatever you’d like it to be.” Be it a day of sun worshiping on stretches of Atlantic beach; lively poolside barbecues; al fresco dance parties that begin at midday; or book-in-hand “me-time,” Fire Island is a treasured escape for New York City residents and international travellers alike.
Though you can find a number of small hamlets and villages inhabited by wealthy nuclear families, such as Kismet and Ocean Bay Park, Fire Island is best known as the summer Mecca for the LGBT community, rivalled only by Provincetown as the top gay getaway in this corner of the United States. The hamlets of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove spring to life each May as ferries from the mainland deliver enthusiastic boatloads of gay and gay-friendly housesharers, weekly renters, and day-trippers. They come for a variety of reasons: harmony of land, sea, and sky; the change to socialise outside of the city; and perhaps some flirtation at the harbour or on the boardwalks.