FAIR HARBORBy Emily Sunshine BrafmanTaking the boat across the bay on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend I expected big crowds. I must say it was rather empty. There were definitely people around town but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall relaxed vibe. When I think of Memorial Day weekend, one of the first things that come to mind is barbecue! There was a brand new grill just waiting to be lit up on my deck. We decided to have a potluck dinner party with our closest friends to kick off the season. In Fire Island fashion, everyone brought something and we had a protein feast. My amazing husband, who happens to be a chef, cooked everything to perfection!Photo 1Sunday morning was the annual Pancake Breakfast and the bay was hopping. It is clear that this has become a tradition for people from all over the island. Kismet, Saltaire and Atlantique locals sat together in the firehouse to eat a delicious breakfast. All the food was prepared and served by our volunteer fire fighters. As always, everything was great.One of the most newsworthy happenings of the summer is the reopening of Le Dock, now run by Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. There is a lot of excitement about this new high-end restaurant coming to our little town. I have also heard concerns about the prices, not being able to get reservations, having to dress up, and the masses coming from off island to the “celebrity chef’s” restaurant.Vongerichten’s business partner is Phil Suarez. Phil has owned Le Dock for as long as I can remember. He is also a long time Fire Islander. He loves Fair Harbor for all of the same reasons that we all love it for: the privacy, the low-key life style, the familiar faces and the constants from year to year. When I entered the new Le Dock, I was a bit intimidated at first, but when I looked around it was filled with all the same familiar faces that have worked and dined there for years. It really looks beautiful inside! The cocktails are pricey but most of the food prices seemed relatively the same and there is LOBSTER on the menu! I think Phil has taken this opportunity to try and please the whole community and we should all enjoy this new constant, knowing it will honor the Fair Harbor lifestyle.Patrick and Melissa Adams have taken on a new endeavor this summer. They are running the new mega Saltaire Market. We took a ride to see the new store. When we got there many of their Fair Harbor friends where also showing their support and enjoying lunch on the giant deck. This weekend was the opening of the long awaited grocery store. There are all of the necessities of a market. There a prepared food area with things like roast chicken, pizza, Patrick’s famous old bay wings, mac n’ cheese, and buffalo chicken tenders with gorgonzola sauce. There is also an ice cream store and a liquor store. Upstairs is a full prep kitchen where Patrick will be doing his catering from. The staff is friendly and helpful. We are thrilled for Patrick and Melissa and it is exciting to have a new destination to visit this summer.One of the hottest spots on the Island is the Hewitt/Cassara deck on the ocean. Lisa and Billy have a love of Fair harbor that runs deep. They are committed to our community and have gone above and beyond to make sure that it is safe and sound and that our homes are protected the best that they can be. When they heard that our volunteer firemen could not see during a nighttime fire, they took action and came up with a solution. Along with one of Fair Harbor’s newest firefighters, Dan McKenna, they hosted a fundraiser on Saturday May 28. They set out to raise money to buy four waterproof and battery operated lighting modules that the fire department can use for nighttime emergencies. The units cost $1450 each and the four units will add a significant level of safety for all.The Hewitt/Cassara family donated one full lighting unit in memory of Don Hewitt, Lisa’s dad. Once word got out about the fire departments needs, three additional lights were paid for in full even before the fundraiser happened. Lisa Hewitt told me “Andrea Resnick donated one set in memory of her father Michael Shaw, who was an early member of the department, and her mother Ruth Shaw, who founded the FH Medical Program in the 1960’s. Marlo and Malte Lorenz donated one as a token of their appreciation for the tremendous efforts of all the volunteers. Lastly the Dunewood Board has agreed to donate money to purchase the last full set.” Of course Lisa and Billy went ahead with the party anyway. The fundraiser was a huge success. Lisa said, “Our goal was to buy four sets of lights. An additional $7000 was raised after that. Scott Cherveny and the department are figuring out what they will spend the additional money on. As soon as they decide he will let me know.” Thank you, Billy and Lisa, for sharing your deck with the community! You have helped to make our island safer than ever.Photo 2The weekend ended with some rain but that just gave our littlest locals the opportunity to splash in the puddles! I am looking forward to an amazing summer and I’m hoping that you will update me on exciting news and events so I can share them with our community in my column. Contact me at fairharbor@fireisland-news.com.