1980—I started going to Fire Island in the summer of 1980. My first time, I was invited by friends who’d rented a house on the island that weekend. All I knew about it was that gays had been going there for decades, creating their own little populace that, by that point, had developed into two thriving gay communities, The Pines and Cherry Grove.
My friends had traveled there on Friday night. I couldn’t get off work until Saturday afternoon, so they instructed me to take the Islanders Bus from midtown Manhattan to Sayville and then hop on the ferry to Cherry Grove. They promised to meet me there on the dock. But, just before I left, they called with a change of plans. They had found a better place to stay in The Pines, the other primarily gay community, a mile further down the beach. So, I should take the ferry there instead. Both ferries left from the same dock in Sayville. Having never been to either community, I was a bit confused, but I faithfully memorized the directions of where they said I should go.