Prepare to feel validated, every Pines Boy who has ever looked around at the shenanigans going on at Low Tea and thought, Why isn’t anyone filming this shit for a reality show?
Piggy backing on today’s news that Logo has renewed RuPaul’s Drag Race for a ninth season, the cable network also announced upcoming “docuseries” Fire Island. The show, from producers Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, will reportedly follow a group of New York gays sharing a house in The Pines. And if there’s any truth to that old joke about Pines place settings — fork on the right, spoon up your nose, knife in the back — this show should be a gift from the reality TV gods to rival Logo’s other upcoming masterpiece of unscripted faggotry.
So, what should we expect in between generic interstitial shots of buff boys on the beach and mangy deer crawling with ticks? Here’s our list of Fire Island traditions and events that we’d like to see Fire Island feature — and a few that probably shouldn’t make the cut.
All of the Teas
The Pines is all about Tea. High Tea, Low Tea, Middle Tea, and various other “Tea” parties punctuate the evening in Pines Harbor. Low Tea at The Blue Whale tend to be the busiest event, attracting boys from all over the Pines and even from The Grove for a pre-dinner kiki. It’s like the watering hole where all the animals—bears, otters, pigs, gym bunnies, chickens—converge, and with so many gay boys getting drunk in one spot, it’s the perfect breeding ground for camera-ready drama.
This annual event is possibly the centerpiece summer season on Fire Island. Each year on July 4, the boys of summer get all gussied up in synthetic wigs, acrylic heels and spirit gum and take a boat from The Cherry Grove to The Pines. The event hearkens back to the decades when the more flamboyant denizens of The Grove would defy the then more conservative community standards of The Pines. Nowadays, it ain’t nothin’ to see a queen strutting down the boardwalk snapping a fan in heels and a jockstrap, but The Invasion is still a must-see spectacle for a show looking to document the gayest summer destination on earth.
The Meat Rack
For better or worse, Fire Island’s most famous gay cruising ground will almost certainly be featured on the show. On the one hand, how can you do a show about this gay Mecca and not include the Meat Rack? We’ll probably see one of the show’s stars gay-splaining the swampy wooded area that separates The Pines from neighboring queer hamlet Cherry Grove for the kids at home. Maybe a few of the boys will share their innuendo-heavy, TV friendly stories about misadventures and secret assignations in those winding, wooded footpaths intercut with B-roll footage of the trees and the dunes. On the other hand, no one wants a cock-blocking camera crew to go traipsing through the Meat Rack. That would seriously fuck up the atmosphere.
The Dick Dock
Generally considered to be more of a Ptown thing, there are what we’ve heard described as “Dick Docks” in the Pines. Except they’re not really docks. Savvy Pines Boys know about the two boardwalks leading down to the beach near the center of town, and the fact that they can get pretty frisky into the wee hours of the morning. Much like The Meat Rack, however, no one wants cameras trained on these cruisey spots.
One of the most notable houses in The Pines, the bayside palace known as Reflections often plays host to some of the most high-profile parties of the summer. Something tells us the boys of Fire Island will make their way to this gorgeous house.
While Logo’s docu-show will be based primarily in The Pines, it would be a damn shame if the cameras don’t make their way over to neighboring Cherry Grove. Pines Boys tend to look down their noses at the more diverse, less Chelsea-fied community, but they all make the trek through the Meat Rack or via water taxi every Friday night for Daniel Nardicio’s infamous underwear party at The Ice Palace. Plus, the weekend drag pool shows at the same venue feature some of the most fabulously messy and hilariously entertaining queens on the island — and they are ready for their reality TV debut, trust!
The Meat Rack Raves
Every now and then on Fire Island you’ll get word of a fabulous party happening…in the Meat Rack. Brooklyn electro-pop duo The Swimming Pools threw these renegade parties semi-regularly for a few years, lugging a generator out to the sandier part of the Meat Rack closest to the dunes where some of Brooklyn’s hottest underground DJs would spin disco and dance beats for barefoot boys. Of course, there’s no telling when or if another one of these events will happen. Plus, we’ve already discussed our misgivings about camera crews filming in the Meat Rack — see above.
That Ice Cream Truck at the LIRR Station
Beach bods be damned! The train ride back to the city can be rough after a week — or just a weekend — partying in the sun and sand, but that ice cream truck that’s always waiting at the Sayville LIRR station with its trove of sweet treats makes the journey bearable. It’s one of those often-overlooked quirks that makes the trip to and from Fire Island so special, not to mention an incredible potential meet-cute for a couple of reality TV stars…