Rose’s View ~ Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines by Robert Levine

After a year of confinement, it feels great to be back again on Fire Island where things are blossoming and we feel the freedom again. There is a certain hum in town that feels good. The bars and restaurants are now open and doing capacity business. The drag shows are popping up with new and established seasoned performers – everything’s coming up roses!Congratulations to Henry Robin, the new president of Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association (FIPPOA). He follows Jay Pagano after 10 years of solid service. Stephen Alan Black, president of Fire Island Pines Arts Project (FIPAP), has a big season planned. Then there is Thom Hanson, president of Arts Project of Cherry Grove (APCG). After a quiet summer last year, he and his team have a season planned that is chock-full of shows and events. More about both in future columns, and always check our publication’s community calendar both in the paper and on our website.Diane Romano, president of Cherry Grove Association Inc. (CGAI), hosted a touching Memorial Day tribute on the dock to unveil 12 benches donated in memory of many of our past Cherry Grove residents. The Stein family of Sayville Ferry Service was there, for one of the benches was dedicated in memory of the dynasty of Steins that worked the waters for our community.Hail, hail Davida Jones – Cherry Grove Homecoming Queen of 2021. She is bold, exciting, and animated. Never the wallflower in those over the top outfits, her hit single “Fabulous!” says it all. Davida sang a touching rendition of “Over the Rainbow” at the bench unveiling as the first assignment for her reign. Kudos to newcomer Chola Spears as runner up. Let’s also give a big hand to Queen Ikea who did an outstanding job during challenging times over her 2020 reign. Voting was virtual and the in person ceremony at the Community House was missed. We look forward to the day we can rekindle the excitement of the live pageant once again.One of our small steps back to normal included the Cherry Grove Artist Tour last week. Susan Ann Thornton always does a wonderful job in organizing it. Their corresponding silent auction to benefit the Dune Fund was held in honor of Jeffrey Piccolomini, who passed away this year. Earlier in the month Thornton also had a signing for her new book “Atmospheres,” held at the newly opened Barrier Beach shop – best of luck to Karen and Michele on their new venture.Andrew Kirtzman, former news correspondent and denizen of Fire Island Pines, is working on another book about Rudy Giuliani, which will be published by Simon & Schuster. The release date is to be announced. Recently, via Zoom from the Pines, he was a guest speaker on news programs on NBC, MSNBC, and CNN to talk about the “Rudy Problem.” This is not the first time he has written about the controversial former NYC mayor. After 9/11 he authored “Rudy Giuliani: Emperor of The City.” He also wrote “Betrayal: The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff” in 2009.Northwell Health and Vaccinate New York held a free COVID-19 all day vaccination event at the Cherry Grove Community House on May 29. The COVID Destroyers from 2020 were there to show their support. Heavy rain throughout the day dampened spirits, but 37 more people in New York got vaccinated that day thanks to everyone’s efforts.Then there is this Juneteenth Weekend as the Grove and Pines participate in events to educate, inspire, and entertain you with salon conversations about race and equality. There is restaurant participation, a black solidarity march, the drag pageant, a tea dance, and more. Let’s enjoy!Next week celebrate again with Cherry Grove’s Gay Pride Parade, downtown on Saturday, June 26. This year we even have a new event – a house-decorating contest! We can hardly wait to see what our clever residents come up with. Davida will pick the winners and then announce them on the dock immediately following the parade.A Happy 60th to my own Michael Fitzgerald.And finally it’s time to say farewell to friends and neighbors who passed away since last year including: Victor Alfieri, Richard (Fluffy) Cataldi, Paul Coombs, Chris Darlington, Jack Dowling, Richie Freddy, James Hughes, Ari Gold, Rufino (Raffy) Katz, Michael Peskoff, Jeffrey Riordan, Elaine Sinnard, Patrick Henry Turner, Juan Villarreal, Fred Weil, and as mentioned Jeffrey Piccolomini, as well as Barbara Sahlman whose obituary appears on page __ of this paper.