New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fire Island

With only one exception, all the photos on this website were taken in one of the five boroughs in New York City. I do not vacation or travel out of the city or post photos and stories of my exurban adventures or vacations.
But Fire Island is a special case, and if you don't include it in your discussions about New York City, then you do not have a complete picture of this city. Like the Hamptons and Montauk, Fire Island is a summer playground dominated by New Yorkers, particularly Manhattanites. There is a level of urbane sophistication - if you spend time there, you quickly get a real sense that this is a virtual microcosm of New York City.

Fire Island is a barrier island, only half a mile wide and 31 miles long, off the south shore of Long Island. It is accessible by bridge at either end with public beaches - Robert Moses State Park at the western end and Smith Point County Park at the eastern end.

However, the real allure are the 22 some odd private communities that dot the interior of the island, which are only accessible by ferry from Long Island. These communities span an entire range of environments and people, from conservative to wild. Point of Woods has the character of a New England town, Fire Island Pines has roller coaster boardwalks tunneling through trees. Cherry Grove is dominated by the gay community, with a party atmosphere. Seaview is sedate. Ocean Bay Park sees many vacationers sharing homes. Water Island has the character of a remote outpost. See my photo gallery here.

My romantic love affair with Fire Island started on a day trip in the early 1970s. I immediately was swept away. There are many charms to Fire Island - the pristine beach and dunes, protected as Fire Island National Seashore, Sailors Haven, the Sunken Forest, and Fire Island Lighthouse. But there is one big factor that defines everything - there are no automobiles.

This is an extraordinary world where streets are often wooden walkways, transportation is by foot or bicycle, and goods are frequently carted by wagons left in town. Here, you can find the occasional little girl with a stand selling shells. Deer roam freely and can be easily hand fed. Less than 40 miles from New York City and the quiet is just shocking.

Sound like paradise? Yes it is. If you have a chance, visit Fire Island :)


An Honest Man said...

You are getting to the awful dilemma Brian. If too many people visit then the allure of the place is lost.

Anonymous said...

I visit your blog first time it is so nice. These images are lovely.

Brian Dubé said...

An Honest Man - not too much worry. There are really no facilities for day trippers to the private communities. Also, the cost and effort taking a ferry, parking etc. is a big deterrent for most. Fire Island is no big secret in New York City.

Wofgtg - Thanks

Anonymous said...

It's so unbelievable that you could find such sea in NY?!
The sand, colour of the sea are so Caribbean!
And the sky... ;-)

So calm!

Noe* said...

I have recently found your blog and I love it! I'm from Argentina and I'm leaving for NY next week for the first time in my life. Thank you for this beautiful pictures!

Naomid said...

The first picture is amazing. I want to be there right now, but I have to wait until August...

Anonymous said...

When I took my annual trip to NYC last November, I sweet-talked my friend into taking me out to Fire Island. It's a short drive from where she lives on Long Island and well worth it.
It is beautiful, and quiet, and friendly, and serene, and etc.
My primary intent for going was to tour the lighthouse. It offers magnificent views overlooking the island and the ocean. Breathtaking really.
We walked down to the beach and I was impressed with its cleanliness and the pristine color of the ocean.
It is an excursion I won't soon forget.
Thanks for the lovely photos reminding me of it's beauty!

Brian Dubé said...

The lighthouse is a great way to experience Fire Island and is accessible from the public beach at Robert Moses State Park - use parking field #5 and walk.

Sandy Hechtman said...

Brian, I spent 21 years on Fire Island beginning in 1969. I would leave work on a Friday afternoon and by the time I was on the ferry, it was like I took a massive dose of Valium. All the pressures of the job and New York living were gone.

I would get to the house, make a Bloody Mary, go to my favorite spot on the deck and just watch the ocean.....very, very good times. I would love to write a book about those wild and crazy days, but there are too many people are still alive and I would fear for my life ;->

Brian Dubé said...

Sandy - Wow. I had no idea. Such an amazing place only an hour (plus ferry) from the city. Fire Island had a very wild reputation at that time. I'm sure you have tales to tell :)