Gentlemen’s’ Hour at CJ’s: Thanksgiving 2021

That free turkey dinner at CJ’s Restaurant and Bar on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a big deal on Fire Island. At lunchtime the place is quite bustling with construction crews and Ocean Beach municipal employees chatting and animated at the booths and tables enjoying their meals. The evening attracts the families who decided to celebrate the holiday at their Fire Island homes, and take advantage of the crisp, cool weather the barrier beach has to offer this time of year. 

Then there is the mid-afternoon lull, after the ferry has taken most of the workers away, but before the families start coming in – and this particular lull happens to be populated by men – save the barmaid and this writer. Not by design of course, just luck of the draw, but for a slip of time CJ’s took on the atmosphere of an old time gentlemen’s club as patrons sipped their ales at the bar, each one with a perfect plate of roasted turkey before them with all the trimmings.

Kevin McCarthy of K-Mac Electric was there with a couple of his guys who stayed behind to attend to some last minute jobs. Then there were the

men who sat shoulder to shoulder at the bar.

“What are you doing?” One of them asked me when they saw me armed with my camera.

“Fire Island News,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said as he took a quick glance at his placemat, then raised his tall glass.“Cheers!”

Kevin asked if I wanted to sit down and join them for some turkey, but the COVID-19 booster I had the day before put a damper on my appetite.

“Give my best to Erika,” I said to him as I left.

Last month the sale of CJ’s and Palms Hotel Fire Island  was announced, signaling that by this time next year the paradigm may shift – a reminder that all change is inevitable and to embrace what we have now hold dear.

CJ’s Restaurant and Bar and Palms Hotel Fire Island are owned by the same parent company as this publication.  A Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Fire Island News.