Rose’s View: Fire Island Pines

By Robert LevineLamda Legal held their major annual Fire Island fundraiser at the home of Todd Sears. Todd has been a host and co-host for the past 20 years. He welcomed all, then introduced this year’s co-host, David Aldea. He then introduced Richard Burns, who is presently CEO of Lambda, replacing Kevin Cathcart, who held the position for the past of 24 years. Burns was the former executive director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City. His speech to the guests was both powerful and eloquent, touching on many relevant matters in our country today. Lambda has attorneys working tirelessly in offices based in major cities throughout the U.S., to deal with ongoing bias and discrimination the LGBTQ population still faces in our time. We live in New York where the bigotry is less pronounced, but on a national and global scale there is still much work to do. This organization continues to break barriers. I walked by the home of Peter Kiernan and Roy Vickery, who were relaxing at their pool. They just returned from a short trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Lila Swell vacationed with her niece in Ashford, North Carolina. Bobby Michel and a friend are off to enjoy their annual visit in Wooster, Ohio. Once there, they will be attending “The Light Opera of Ohio,” a series of operettas, and Broadway musicals that include works by composers such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Emmerich Kálmán and Ivor Novello. It sounds like great fun! On Aug. 24, “Bearded Ladies Cabaret” will perform at Joe’s Pub in New York City. I met John Jarboe, who is one of the ladies. With him were friends Nick Jonczak, who is a performer with the Re-United States Theatre Project (RUST); and Ben Grinberg, who is artistic director of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre in Philadelphia. Mark Okun, a former Fire Island Pines homeowner, now lives in Palm Springs. He was in town to participate in the “The Island of Lost Boys” weekend festivities. His day guest was my old friend, Bruce Michael, from Southampton. A beautiful new coffee table book is now available, “Fire Island: Photographs” by Alex Geana. It features random photos of Invasion 2017, house parties, pool parties, disco clubs, beach scenes, and daily life in Fire Island Pines. Available in shops locally or online at major book retailers. This year’s Fire Island Dance Festival was very exciting and beautifully done, with Joel Grey as host. ABC News gave it wonderful coverage before the weekend performances. I gave wonderful coverage following their performance, look for it on page 22 of this issue. At the cocktail party I met some interesting people from other parts of Fire Island, including Ben and Loretta Ferraro, Jack Eleftheriou, and Suzanne Tick of Fair Harbor. Suzanne brought family, David and Laura Tick, from Tucson, Arizona. The Pines Party, “The Island of Lost Boys,” was a tremendous success. Three days and nights of parties with food and drinks that never stopped, beginning Friday night with the VIP party at Ed Schuhalfer’s bayfront house, the Saturday afternoon pool party, The Saturday Night Party on the Beach, and the Sunday morning pool party at Jim Peppers on the bay. A big thank you goes to Allan Baum, Executive Producer Ed Schulhafer, and Co-Chair Randy Wilson, as well as all the men and women who volunteered and worked tirelessly to put this fantastic party together. On Saturday, Aug. 3, Fire Island Pines Arts Project will present the Biennial Art Show at Whyte Hall. Thirty- five artists from the Pines and Cherry Grove will exhibit, with the opportunity to purchase and invest. Nick Politis has taken over the role as chairman, replacing Glen Wielgus, who held this position for many years. The committee includes Judy Kingman, Lenny Vanella, David Kneuss, and Richard Desjardins. Opening times are noon to 1 p.m. for FIPAP sponsors, and general admission from 1-3:30 p.m., with a $10 entry fee. Presidential Candidate Kirsten Gillibrand will be making another visit to Fire Island Pines, on Aug. 4, at noon, at Whyte Hall. Hosts will be Joe Conforti, Doug Jakubowski, Jim Guidara, Ed Parron, Robbie Regina, Gene Kagan, Todd Sears, and FIPPOA. The Pines Conservation Society is holding their third annual Go Native tour, on Saturday, Aug. 10. President Scott Ahlborn and Vice President John Krawchuk have organized an interesting program this year, called “Bay to Forest.” Meeting in the Pines, a ferry will depart at 9:30 a.m. for Sailors Haven, where the tour will held from 10 a.m. through noon, with FINS and Pines Conservation Society docents acting as guides. There will be an introduction to the bay ecology, an eco-netting demonstration, discussion of the local flora and fauna of the Great South Bay, followed by a one hour tour to the Sunken Forest. Kathy Kraus and Kaitlin Jackson will speak on behalf of FINS. The tour is $30 per person, and includes round trip ferry, with a limited amount of places available. Visit, or tickets are available at the Pines Conservation Society table set up in Pines Harbor, on Aug. 3 and 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.