Born: February 4, 1905, Ossining
Died: 1988, Rome
Education: Amherst College
Art Students League of New York
Lived: Fire Island Pines
The Great Hurricane of 1938 devastated much of Fire Island and made it appear undesirable to many. However, Duffy's Hotel remained relatively undamaged. According to legend, the gay aura of the town arose when Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden arrived dressed as Dionysus and Ganymede, carried aloft on a gilded litter by a group of singing followers. Duffy’s attempted to ban same-sex dancing until after midnight. The gay influence was continued in the 1960s when former male model John B. Whyte developed Fire Island Pines. The Pines currently has some of the most expensive property on the island and accounts for two-thirds of the island's swimming pools.
Fire Island Pines, Fire Island, NY 11782, USA (40.66537, -73.06816)
Cherry Grove, Fire Island, NY 11980, USA (40.65906, -73.08921)
Cherry Grove dates its modern history to the 1868 purchase by Archer and Elizabeth Perkinson. They bought the land between Lone Hill (now Fire Island Pines) and the Cherry Grove Hotel from the ocean to the bay for 25 cents per acre and named the area for the black-cherry trees in the area. The Perkinsons opened a hotel in 1880. According to local legend Oscar Wilde stayed at the Perkinson Hotel. In 1921 the Perkisons sold all the land east of Duryea Walk to Lone Hill, and then divided what was left, into 109 building lots. A lot 50 x 80 feet (24 m) could be bought for $250 or less, and ocean-front lots cost no more than a dollar a front foot. Buildings from the newly deactivated Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, were ported over to form the core of the new colony. A post office was established in 1922 at the site of where "Tides" (formerly “The Monster”) is today; The first boardwalks were built in 1929. In 1930 Duffy’s Hotel replaced the original hotel and was the only place with electricity and a phone. The Great Hurricane of 1938 destroyed much of Cherry Grove and discouraged mainlanders from coming. In their stead a new generation started coming from Manhattan including Greta Garbo, Xavier Cugat, Paulette Goddard, Pola Negri, Arlene Francis, and Earl Blackwell (publisher of the International Celebrity Register). Duffy’s burned on September 27, 1956, and was replaced by the Ice Palace Hotel which has remained a popular destination. John Eberhardt, a developer who died in 2014, was credited for building the Belvedere Hotel and many other properties in the hamlet, from 1956 to the 1970s. Former model John B. Whyte encouraged Fire Island Pines’ reputation as a gay destination after buying the Botel Pines and Dunes Yacht Club in the 1960s (Cherry Grove was already a gay destination when Whyte developed the Pines). Whyte bought the property after a May 31, 1959 fire destroyed the entire complex. The Botel, which was known as The Hotel Ciel from 2004 to 2012, is still the central landmark and only hotel in the Pines. The conversion to a gay destination proved divisive among the initial owners. A large sign near the dock headlined, "Welcome to Fire Island Pines A Family Community." It also proclaimed "We believe in a community that is clean both morally and physically." Whyte bent rules to accommodate the gay crowd. "We had a hully-gully line right here in the restaurant. I would put a girl at each end -- men weren't allowed to dance with men back then -- and everyone would have a good time." Visitors in the 1960s included Hedy Lamarr, Betty Grable and Zachary Scott. Whyte, who owned 80 percent of the commercial property in the Pines, instituted the community’s central social activity schedule of “Low Tea” (drinks—particularly the "Blue Whale" cocktail of Curaçao liqueur and vodka that turned patrons' tongues blue—at the Blue Whale from 5 PM to 8 PM) followed by “High Tea” (drinks at the Pavilion from 8 to 10 PM) followed by an evening of dancing at the Pavilion (all of which were Whyte establishments). Two of the Pines's most famous events are the Pines Party, an all-night dance party held each July on the beach, and the Invasion of the Pines, a drag-queen parade held each year on July 4, commemorating the time when Whyte refused service to a drag queen. After promenading through the Pines, the drag queens proclaim victory and return to Cherry Grove. The ashes of Janet Flanner (1892-1978), journalist and author, with those of her last partner, Natalia Danesi Murray (1902-1994), were scattered at Cherry Grove. "Janet, My Mother, and Me" is a charming, captivating memoir about a boy growing up in a household of two extraordinary women. William Murray was devoted to his mother, Natalia Danesi Murray, and to his mother's longtime lover, writer Janet Flanner.
Who: Jared French (1905–1988) and Frank Carrington (September 13, 1893 – July 3, 1975)
Jared French was a painter who specialized in the ancient medium of egg tempera. He was one of the masters of magic realism, part of a circle of friends and colleagues who all painted surreal imagery in egg tempera. Others included George Tooker and Paul Cadmus. He met and befriended Cadmus in New York City, became his lover, and persuaded Cadmus to give up commercial art for "serious painting". In 1937 French married Margaret Hoening, another artist. For the next eight years Cadmus and the Frenches summered on Fire Island and formed a photographic collective called PAJAMA ("Paul, Jared, and Margaret"). Frank Carrington was the co-founder with Antoinette Scudder in 1938 of the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. He was a resident of Millburn, New Jersey, near the Playhouse. The Frank Carrington Excellence in the Arts Award is given in his honor. Born in 1894 had been interested in the theater from a young age. He became a theater director and co-founded the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. He began his greatest work, the creation of Millburn's Paper Mill Playhouse, in 1934. In 1927, he purchased the cottage on Fire Island from Frederick Marquet, a fellow resident of Millburn, New Jersey. Carrington was active in the growing arts community of Cherry Grove. He rented the property to his friends in the community, including Truman Capote. Other guests included New York City Ballet co-founder Lincoln Kerstein, fashion designer Bill Blass, actor Henry Fonda, actress Gertrude Lawrence, and acrtress Katharine Hepburn. Carrington owned the house for almost fifty years, then sold it to the US government as part of Fire Island National Seashore under the condition that he be able to live there for the rest of his life. When he died, National Park Service Ranger Bob Freda lived there for the next twenty years. Frank Carrington is buried at Saint Stephens Episcopal Cemetery, Millburn, New Jersey.
The Shower, 1943
Point O' View, 1945, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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