#364 The Very Gay History of Fire Island

The third and final part of the Bowery Boys Road Trip to Long Island -- the gay history of Fire Island!

Fire Island is one of New York state’s most attractive summer getaways, a thin barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean lined with seaside villages and hamlets, linked by boardwalks, sandy beaches, natural dunes and water taxis. (And, for the most part, no automobiles.)

But Fire Island has a very special place in American LGBT history. It is the site of one of the oldest gay and lesbian communities in the United States, situated within two neighboring hamlets -- Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines.

During the 1930s actors, writers and craftspeople from the New York theatrical world began heading to Cherry Grove, its remote and rustic qualities allowing for gay and lesbians to express themselves freely -- far away from a world that rejected and persecuted them.

Performers at the Grove's Community House and Theater helped define camp culture, paving the way for the modern drag scene.

In this episode, Greg and Tom head to Cherry Grove -- and the Community House and Theater -- to get a closer look at Fire Island's unique role in the American LGBT experience.

And they are joined by Parker Sargent, a documentary filmmaker and one of the curators of Safe Haven: Gay Life in 1950s Cherry Grove, a new exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, highlighting photography from the collection of the Cherry Grove Archives Collection.

FEATURING: The Great Hurricane of 1938! The Invasion of the Pines! The indescribable Belvedere! And the surprising origin of Fire Island's name.


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