Fire Island Pines Pavilion Still Unbuilt After Fire. Are The Owners Looking To Sell It?

This weekend, a warm-weather snap had the gay boys of New York thinking of summer. And in the Big Apple, summer means Fire Island. But it might be a cruel summer if the rumors about the Pavilion, the heart of Fire Island Pines are true.

In November a fire gutted the Pavilion and Lafountaine, incinerating the roof of the pavilion and destroying Sip ‘n’ Twirl, the high tea deck and the Bistro. But a Fire Island insider has told Queerty that current owners Andrew Kirtzman, Seth Weissman and Matthew Blesso are looking to sell the property rather than rebuild.

Its up for sale, and they plan on making the Blue Whale into a mini club of sorts. Their plan is to try to black out the windows and have live sex shows Fridays because they lose everyone to the Grove—and they are desperate to get people to come out to their underwear party.

The whole place is a mess—they don’t even want to try and rebuild because they want to sell it.

We’re dubious about the Blue Whale being turned into some kind of red-light district, but the blog MarkAtLarge made similar claims about the Pavilion et al being up for sale:

In just two short years after FIP Ventures reportedly paid a whopping $17 million for 80% of the commercial property on Fire Island Pines, it’s rumored to be for sale. The $17 million paid was a bit high considering the prior owners paid $5 million in 2004, according to an unconfirmed source at the New York Times. Other published reports tell the previous owners did spend a reported $2 to $5 million over the years to spruce up the properties including rebuilding the nightclub.

However, an asking price of $22 million is quite an optimistic goal considering the property is missing one of its main attractions—The Pavilion nightclub. The Pavilion was destroyed by a fire in November along with an adjacent building that housed the only other bar in the pines, Sip N Twirl. The Sip N Twirl’s owners have vowed to rebuild in time for the Pines’ most important summer season. Given the unusually warm winter in the Northeast and the enthusiastic owner of Sip N Twirl, P.J. McAteer, New York’s Gay-List will have a place to dance the night away this summer.

The sale of the Pines’ largest commercial property is fueled by the lack of progress being made on rebuilding the Pavilion—as of today it remains a plot of sand. An inside source tells me there have been discussions of holding High Tea, the popular early evening party, around the hotel pool area. The pool area with its one small bar will be a tight fit for close to 1,000 thirsty boys who gather for pre-dinner cocktails and dancing.

A source close to Kirtzman’s had told Queerty that the Pavilion was never planned to be completed in time for the summer season, but that a tent would serve as a makeshift space for the legendary high tea.

We’ve sent an email to Kirtzman and will update this post with any new information.


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  • Josh S

    This doesnt make any sense – they hired major architects to create a spectacular new Pavilion and from what I heard, the designs are largely done. Plus, this is a HUGE opportunity for them to create a much more valuable property with the insurance proceeds.

    I know the gays love to speculate but this doesnt make sense

  • George K

    hope this isnt true. these guys did a great job bringing back the spirit of the pines

  • Forrest

    Before jumping to conclusions, go back and read the announcements that they made a few months ago when they hired their architects:

    While most of the coverage focused on the world-famous Diller Scofidio + Renfro (think High Line, Lincoln Center redevelopment), it was also noted that they were hiring a second firm, HWKN (HollwichKushner).

    If you look at HWKN’s website, many of their highlighted projects are festive temporary spaces (e.g

    I would guess that they are planning to use HWKN for a temporary solution for 2012 and Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the permanent structure, rather than emulate the other building’s high-risk all-or-nothing strategy of pushing through the permanent structure on an extremely aggressive timeline with hopes of completion by the start (or at least some time during) the summer season.

  • TO

    My want for The Pines is stop trying to be something that it is not, it is not East Hampton or South beach. You should not need to have table service, shoulder pads, clip on earrings and an amex black to have fun. While I liked some of the changes over the past two years, some of the others felt out of place. It is more relaxed and will never be an exclusive tourist destination. But, I am all for rebuilding and upgrading. Generally, all they need is a club, a bar, a restaurant for dinner, cafe for lunch / coffee and a some kind of market. It’s all the boys out there really need or would want for all the large and small events that happen.

  • Jonathan

    @TO: Amen to that!

  • Frank

    I’m a Pines resident for 25 years and from everything I heard, this isn’t true. It’s the comments of a blogger and unnamed “insiders.” No one knows anything yet – it’s a massive undertaking and the owners will be taking their time to get it done right.

  • mark

    They should sell. They are not good managers, not hands on, staff was miserable. Service was awful, weak drinks, food not edible. The previous owners set the new vibe, certainly not the current owners.

  • john

    @mark: I know the Pines, trust me. They will sell. It will just take them a couple of years to wrap their minds around the fact that they have lost all their equity in their vanity purchase. By then, their properties will be even more of a mess and the Botel might have collapsed, but at least we have another shot at competent owners.

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