BEHIND THE DUNES: Fire Island Pines Commercial District has New Owner with Big Plans

Tristan Schukraft the CEO of Everything Gay
The new face of the Fire Island Pines Commercial District, Tristan Schukraft.
Photo courtesy

Tryst Hospitality is the new owner of a 75% share of the Fire Island Pines commercial district, according to recent announcements. The purchase includes iconic buildings and businesses like the Blue Whale, the Canteen, Pavilion Nightclub, and the only hotel in the heart of the Pines. It’s another large property purchase for Tryst Hospitaltiy’s CEO, Tristan Schukraft.

The property has been purchased with plans to reimagine the hotel as part of a new state-of-the-art resort that will “stretch over 320 feet of the Fire Island Pines’ main pedestrian thoroughfare,” according to Tryst Hospitality.

The company describes its hotels as “a collection of luxury boutique hotels that offer an upscale, inclusive experience for guests seeking high-end accommodations with a vibrant, social atmosphere.”

Plans are to reopen the hotel in 2025. It is no secret, however, that the company and its CEO will have their work cut out for them. Last summer, the town of Brookhaven condemned the hotel after it violated numerous safety codes and was deemed unsafe. The hotel was owned by Outpost Pines LLC, which acquired the property in 2015 and has since filed for bankruptcy.

The property didn’t last on the market longer than a few months before Schukraft came into the picture.

So, who is this rising big-time CEO, Tristan Schukraft? He is a tech entrepreneur known mostly for founding MISTR, a telehealth platform used by hundreds of thousands of patients monthly. He also founded, an airline e-ticketing platform. Now he’s launched his real estate and hospitality portfolio with a bang. The new Pines purchase brings his total to four very well-known properties.

Schukraft has earned the title of the “CEO of everything Gay,” as he continues to purchase properties and businesses in some of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world. They include The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel in West Hollywood, which has been recognized twice nationally as “the best Gay Bar in the world,” according to Brian Rosman, the founder and owner of A Dog and a Duck, a public relations and influencer marketing agency.

Tryst Hospitality also owns a hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“This fall, Tristan will re-open a newly renovated Circo, a well-known LGBTQ+ nightlife venue in San Juan, walking distance to The Tryst San Juan,” Rosman stated. Schukraft also owns a hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

After news of the purchase was announced, Schukraft released a public statement: “Fire Island Pines has been a queer hub for multiple generations of the LGBT community. As businesses and neighborhoods turn over, it’s important for the next generation of gay entrepreneurs to invest in our communities, preserve our culture, and help them thrive as safe havens for the LGBT community.”

Tryst Hospitality is priding its entire operation on being “a luxury brand catering to the discerning tastes of gay travelers, that are located in the most iconic LGBTQ+ travel destinations. Tryst Hotels encourages you to be your best self, even on your worst behavior,” the company stated.

The Fire Island Pines community has a long memory however and previous owners sometimes brought turbulence to the neighborhood.

Only a few short summers of recovering from a devastating fire that blazed through the Pavilion nightclub in 2011, followed by the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy the following year, Ian Reisner stepped in as the majority owner of the same property recently purchased by Schukraft, in 2015. Reisner’s infamous hosting of a dinner with Republican politician – and at that time presidential hopeful – Ted Cruz, is the stuff of Pines legend now. That misstep resulted in significant backlash within the residency and social media just prior to opening of the season. Calls for boycotting Pines businesses quickly gained traction. Thankfully, all were able to move past that storm without significant damage.

Right now, the residents of Fire Island Pines are hopeful that Schurkraft and his company is a good fit for Fire Island Pines, as he has a vested interest in changing the tide for the better. He has ability to identify with this unique community and the drive to improve upon what those who came before him have built.

For the 2024 season, all of the businesses purchased will proceed as they normally have, with changes and renovations planned for 2025.