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 :)