DAVIS PARKby Cathy Shisler

WELCOME TO DAVIS PARK, a part of Fire Island you will fall in love with and call home as I do. When you step on that ferry in Patchogue at Sandspit Marina, you take a 20-minute boat ride to another world. An island with no cars – it’s a place to vacation, relax and rejuvenate. You will pull in to our beautiful marina, with 250 slips, electric and water hook-up, as well as public bathrooms and showers.

Davis Park is the eastern-most private community on Fire Island. Our sole grocery store, the Harbor store, is where we buy food and necessities, as well as a nice Davis Park sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats – everything you could need for your vacation or day trip to Davis Park. Next store is the Harbor Liquor Store to pick up your spirits. There is also our snack bar for hamburgers, and the best crab cake sandwich! After you get back on the main walk you will pass our post office, which is also our bookstore, where you can stop in and buy a nice postcard or Davis Park stickers to send to a friend from your vacation or take home as a keepsake of your visit. You can also borrow a book to read while you are here. Post Mistress Linda, who runs the place, always has some activity going on. Stop in and say hi to her!

On your next right will be our Davis Park Fire Department, not far from our local SCPD station house. Keep walking and you will come to our restaurant, the Casino, which has a clear view of both bay and the ocean. Enjoy a cocktail and sit at an ocean view table while you have a great meal. The company isn’t bad either, and the staff is friendly. On the other side of the Casino is the Casino bar, where you can dance the night away while listening to the great live bands that are lined up for the season. We also have the Bedside Manor – our doctors’ office, which provides basic medical services. Across from the doctor is our Church of the Most Precious Blood on Dune Walk.

Davis Park has great history. Our beachfront community extends approximately three-quarters of a mile, and is bordered by vast wilderness, both to its east and west sides. Davis Park has approximately 350 homes (130 in Ocean Ridge and 220 in Davis Park.) We are among the youngest Fire Island community, emerging after 1948. It came from a parcel of land that was donated to Brookhaven Town by Davis Brothers of Patchogue. The Town of Brookhaven built the public park and our marina. Shortly after, the construction of summer homes west of the park was underway, which is called today the Davis Park side. The east part, which is now known as Ocean Ridge, emerged in 1960s. Leja Beach is in the center, a name that came from the four building contractors who floated a vacant restaurant structure from Blue Point across the Great South Bay, which was the original Casino. The four contractors were Lee Coffin, Ed Sembler, Joe Gerard and Al Brown. Leja was named from the first initials of each partner. That Casino was washed out to sea in the winter of 1996. A very similar new building to the old was subsequently floated over. Over the past winter the Casino Bar received a new facelift, with garage doors opening to the amazing ocean views.

I hope after this read, you will pack up your beach chair, umbrella and friends and family, get on that ferry and either come for the day, or rent one of our beach houses for your vacation. Here you will fall in love, like I did about 10 years ago when I started my cleaning business called Keep It Real Cleaning Service. I also run Shisler Yoga, and have group sessions oceanside. I have a Facebook page where you can find schedules.

After your first visit, you might keep coming back year after year, staying for a week, maybe two – or even becoming a season renter for 20 years or more. Some people love it so much they buy a home and raise their children here, generation after generation. Over the years I have heard great stories of Davis parties on the beach, family history and generations who still live at the beach. Becoming part of our community might mean taking part in the social scene, enjoying our Fourth of July costume parade, or our annual art show or the end of season craft fair at the church. Once you come here you never really leave Davis Park. I haven’t.

Casino circa 1969, courtesy of Stanley Livingston.