Late August and early September is the best time to swim and sunbathe on New York’s beaches. The gulf stream that brushes against the banks of Long Island is quite warm this time of year. The surf tends to be a little choppy in early Fall, due to off coast tropical depressions and hurricanes. It’s body surfing time.
Fire Island is where I’m headed this weekend with my lover who happens to be a New Yorker yet has never set foot on that almost forbidden plot of land off of the coast of Long Island. You’ll find us in Cherry Grove on Saturday– the hidden lesbian section of the exclusive gay resort town. It’s the waterfront spot where women poets build summer homes.
My man is bisexual and I enjoy that most about him. I prefer that he check out only the real girls on Fire Island, and not the queens who tend to hang out in the Pines, the part of gay Fire Island which is located just north of Cherry Grove.
Years ago, when I went to Fire Island almost every sunny summer weekend, I got sea sick; not from the ferry ride there, but because of the separation of the gay and lesbian communities. I did not understand why gays and lesbians partied in different communities at opposite ends of the shore. Now that I am traveling there with a partner, I’m happy that there is a lesbian section. I never liked going to the Grove when I was young and sexy– it seemed like a waste of time to go to the shore to hang out with fish.
We’re going out for just the day and we do not wish to spend the night on that secluded island with no highways or roads. There are no undercover police there, nor are there cars on the island. Visitors must take a boat or a plane. The Long Island Railroad offers roundtrip service to Sayville, and taxis offer shuttle service to the ferry terminal.
Nights on Fire Island are for the younger generation—for those not in semi-monogamous relationships like we are. The twenty-something crowd will be running around on the dunes at midnight, looking for love and quickies among the weeds and bushes as I once did.
Never again will you find me in the ‘meat rack’ in August—the infamous cruise section of Fire Island. Poison Ivy is all over the place this time of year out there—that’s how the place got its name– from far above, the island looks red from all the poison ivy.
I will not be in those bushes of my youth. I’ll be out on the white sand next to the purple shells, wearing sunglasses, reading a hardcover copy of ‘Backslidden’; holding it up high in the air so that those who choose to check out the big bulge in my tight red trunks will see what I look like from behind.