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The Summer is coming... and you know what that means!
Okay, maybe you don't. Some of you do. It means the gays pack up their man bags and start taking excursions to all the gay summer spots. This summer I'll be heading up to Provincetown for a week, and I couldn't be more excited. It'll be my first time there in over six years... and I probably should go, since my next novel, Gulliver Takes Provincetown is set there, and Google Maps isn't helping me cheat the story as much as I was hoping it would.
Another Summer Hot Spot (no pun intended... or maybe it was) is Fire Island. Have you ever been? You should. Everyone should check out Fire Island at least once. Many others should check it out many times. I, however, probably won't. Then again, I've been offered a bed to lay my weary pink glasses-wearing head in many a Pines and Grove share... so maybe I will. We shall see.
For those of you who HAVEN'T been to Fire Island, here are a few things you should know.
1. Don't Do A Day Trip
This is the worst thing in the world. Fire Island is a retreat. Go big, or go home. Nothing sucks more than taking the three-plus hour journey to Fire Island to get wasted, not have a place to crash, and then having to take the journey back home again. Find a hookup. Find a house. Grab a hotel room. Make a weekend of it. One day on Fire Island is not enough.
2. The Big Shit Happens on Weekends
Yes, Fire Island operates all summer long, but the weekdays are the slow time. Much of Fire Island's denizens are corporate New Yorkers. They come for the weekends, and then go back to work for the week. This means the parties and bars are all rather slow during the week days. The beaches are empty. Maybe you like this type of thing. If so, go. I, however, don't like quiet. No one who likes quiet lives in New York City. And, since I don't like quiet, I don't like Fire Island during the week.
3. Bring Lots of Condoms
Fire Island is basically a floating island of cock and tail. Something about all of that testosterone seeping out of the suntanning gays turns everyone into a walking hardon. Orgies are commonplace. Every house turns into a sex party. People fuck on the beach, on the boardwalk, in the bathrooms. It's just sex, sex, and more sex. If you and your boyfriend are monogamous, expect your relationship to be put through the wringer. Everyone is practically naked (or actually naked) and a lot of them are hotter than you and your boyfriend, and everyone will want both of you. Open up, or cling to each other for dear life and hope for the best.
4. Bring Money
Everything on Fire Island is expensive. Very expensive. And unless you want to hop into the Long Island Sound and swim to the nearest Sam's Club, you're going to be stuck paying eight dollars for a gallon of milk. Smart gays go grocery shopping and bring their groceries on the ferry with them. I guess that's smart, but I imagine your hands will be full of bags of condoms and ass-less bathing suits. So just expect to spend money.
5. Expect to See Familiar Faces
Fire Island really is Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen on the beach. Chances are that your neighbors in midtown will be renting the house next to you on Fire Island. Lots and lots of familiar faces. This is why I haven't gone in quite some time, and why I am going to Provincetown. Provincetown is more like Harvard and Princeton Gone Wild. New faces, new bodies, and whale watching! Either way, it's not necessarily a BAD thing seeing lots of familiar faces on Fire Island, minus the fact that any visiting traveler who everyone doesn't yet know will become Public Target Number One. Prepare to fight for your right to bottom.
6. Bring Sandles
FUCK those boardwalks get hot! No. Like. Sizzling. Bring comfortable footwear. I didn't one year. It was the worst time of my life. My feet still haven't fully healed.
7. Pines or Grove? Do Both!
Which gay part of Fire Island is the best? Every person has a different answer. Last year the difference was that the Pines' major party spot, Pavilion, had burned to the ground. That's no longer the case, and Tony Fornabaio, a NYC promotional heavyweight is in charge of Pavilion this year. It'll be a big deal.
If Tony is the King of the Pines, Daniel Nardicio is the King of the Grove. He'll be bringing a LOT of major names and parties out there. His weekly D*World underwear parties are the sexiest on earth (see number 3 above). You can expect to see celebrities performing including MARGARET CHO, CAROL CHANNING, CHITA RIVERA, and many others in Daniel's ICON Series (click here for details and tickets).
And, thankfully you can get back to the Pines or the Grove easily by ferry... or via "The Meatrack" which is a dark, quiet, spooky beach path through the woods where people fuck. If you choose the meatrack for your intra-FI travels, please see #3 above.)
8. Do It In Doses
I get bored very easily. For that reason, I do Fire Island infrequetly, and for short periods of time. I once went to stay with friends for a week and ended up coming home early. The same people, same bars, and same beach day after day (especially during the week when it got quiet) reminded me too much of home... and so why not just go back to NYC where I get better Wi-Fi?
9. Take a Trip to Provincetown
Fire Island is a great place. Everyone should go. After that, everyone should go to Provincetown. It's just as much of an adventure - train to Boston, ferry to Provincetown. You can also take a plane! Or drive many hours! But the reward, I think, is more interesting for a New Yorker. You'll see a lot less familiar faces. You'll get to eat fresh seafood. You'll get to spend a day in Boston. AND you can go WHALE WATCHING! Can you tell I like whales yet?