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Fire Island Pines, New York facts for kids

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Fire Island Pines
The marina from the west side shops area looking east
The marina from the west side shops area looking east
The Pines, Pines, FIP
Fire Island Pines, New York is located in New York
Fire Island Pines, New York
Fire Island Pines, New York
Location in New York
Fire Island Pines, New York is located in Fire Island
Fire Island Pines, New York
Fire Island Pines, New York
Location in Fire Island
Country United States
State New York
County Suffolk
Lots first sold 1952
 • Total 12 (full-time)/2,500 to 3,000(seasonal)
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 631, 934

Fire Island Pines (often referred to as The Pines, simply Pines, or FIP) is a hamlet in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York, United States. It is located on Fire Island, a barrier island separated from the southern side of Long Island by the Great South Bay.

Fire Island Pines and the adjoining Cherry Grove are the areas most strongly associated with the gay community on Fire Island. The island has been referred to as America's first gay and lesbian town and served since the 1920s and 1930s as a refuge for vacationers and others who desired the more liberal attitude the island's occupants allowed.

The Pines, which has the most expensive real estate on Fire Island, has approximately 600 houses and a 100-unit condominium complex on its square mile of location. It has two-thirds of the swimming pools on Fire Island. Its summer seasonal population is between 2,500 and 3,000. In 2004, 12 people listed it as their full-time residence.

Transportation is via foot on the boardwalks. If a person wishes to carry groceries, the traditional way to do so is to pull red wagons (commonly the popular Radio Flyer).


Fire Island Pines derives its name from the scrub pine trees in the area, which, according to legend, started growing after a ship with Christmas trees and holly foundered off its coast in the late 19th century.

The Pines was originally the site of a Coast Guard station built in 1876 and known as Lone Hill Saving Station. The area was purchased by the Home Guardian Company in 1924. The "harbor" is the area where all the commercial buildings are located, including docks for yachts, the passenger ferry from Sayville, and freight operations.

In the 1960s, the Sandpiper opened, a gay dance club; it is now called the Pavilion.


There have been two major conflagrations in Fire Island Pines' business area. The first was on May 31, 1959, after which John B. Whyte purchased the burnt-out hotel for redevelopment.

On November 14, 2011, a large fire destroyed the Pavilion, including its commercial tenants. That iteration of the building had been built in 1980. Forty-three Long Island fire companies responded to the blaze, which began around 8 pm, with 400 firefighters working in shifts through the night to contain and extinguish the fire.

Life in the Pines

While all of Fire Island may have an official year-round population of 310, the summer population swells to much higher levels, especially on weekends. In the Pines, the large houses are filled with summer shares and a four-bedroom house can easily contain eight people at a time. The population is primarily gay men 20–50 years old. It is affectionately referred to as "Chelsea with sand", with reference to one of Manhattan's gayer neighborhoods.

Invasion of the Pines 2001
A ferry with drag queens during the Invasion of the Pines arrives at Pines Harbor

There are a number of high-profile events and fundraisers that occur during the summer season. Some of the bigger events include Fire Island Dance Festival, Invasion, Pines Party, and Ascension. The Fire Island Dance Festival is produced by Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.


Fire Island Pines
View of the Fire Island Pines Marina from a nearby bar

Fire Island Pines is only accessible by water with most residents and visitors using a passenger ferry or private water taxi. A small marina is also available. There are no private vehicles in this part of Fire Island, although police and service vehicles are seen on the beach from time to time. The Pines has no paved roads and the cottages and beach are only accessible using a series of wooden boardwalks.

Sayville Ferry

Fire Island Pines can be accessed via the Sayville Ferry Service departing from Sayville, New York, across the Great South Bay. The Long Island Rail Road connects Sayville to New York City.

Passengers connecting between the Sayville LIRR station and the Sayville Ferry service can pay for a shuttle van or taxi ride, or may walk or ride their bicycle the mile and a half distance. People driving cars may park in large, gravel parking lots across the street from the ferry dock.

Fire Island Water Taxi

Visitors arriving by car may park at the Robert Moses State Park “Field Five” parking lot. After reaching the Fire Island Lighthouse, the Fire Island Water Taxi will ferry paying customers to the Pines. A water taxi provides short-distance transportation for those moving from place to place along the coast of Fire Island. The fare and schedule for the taxi service varies by season.

Health care

Urgent Care on Fire Island
Northwell Urgent Care on Fire Island (Locations in Ocean Beach and Cherry Grove)

Northwell Health operates two urgent care facilities on Fire Island (one in Cherry Grove and the other in nearby Ocean Beach). These centers operate during the summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and are open for walk-in patient visits seven days a week from 9 to 11 AM and 4 to 6 PM. If patients require medical treatment outside of those hours, the Immediate Care Center's physician can be reached on call by contacting local police.

Good Samaritan Hospital, South Shore University Hospital, and Long Island Community Hospital (formerly Brookhaven Hospital) are located directly across the Great South Bay from Fire Island in the Long Island hamlets of West Islip, Bay Shore, and East Patchogue, respectively. A heliport for medevac helicopter use is adjacent to Good Samaritan Hospital. Specially equipped boats provided by the Suffolk County Police Department Marine Bureau docked at the various communities on Fire Island provide emergency transportation to individuals in need of dire medical care. In many cases, Long Island based ambulances will meet the boats once they cross the Bay (roughly 4.5 miles) and then drive individuals the short distance to one of the three hospitals. Also, one emergency access road connects Long Island (West Islip) to Fire Island (Kismet). However, the road ends there and does not extend the full length of the island into the other communities.

Notable people

  • Harold Baer Jr., former resident, deceased
  • Robin Byrd, current resident
  • Sam Champion, former resident
  • David Geffen, former resident
  • Horace Gifford, former resident, deceased
  • Calvin Klein, former resident
  • Joan McCracken, early resident, deceased
  • Tommy Tune

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Fire Island Pines para niños

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