Taking a pause from our election victory dance, we received an email from Fire Island Pines Ventures general manager Constantino Papadakis, who gave us some more details about how the gay getaway fared with Hurricane Sandy:

FIP Ventures, which owns and operates 80% of the commercial properties at Fire Island Pines, is pleased to report that The Pines weathered Hurricane Sandy well, and that The Pines has already made good progress recovering in the wake of the storm.

While parts of Fire Island suffered devastating damage, the Fire Island Pines Property Owners’ Association (FIPPOA) reports that The Pines experienced the least damage of any Fire Island community. FIPPOA reports that no one was hurt, no homes were destroyed, and that any damage is repairable this winter.

Additionally, FIP Ventures notes that the properties it operates are located on the harbor side of The Pines, which experienced less of Sandy’s force than the beachfront houses on the ocean side of the island.

FIP Ventures operates the Blue Whale restaurant, Hotel Ciel, and Canteen cafe. It is also rebuilding the Pavilion dance club, which was lost by fire less than a year ago. The Blue Whale and Hotel Ciel suffered some wind damage, and there was flooding at FIP Ventures’ staff house, but all indications are that any needed repairs will be able to be made in the near future.

Construction on the new Pavilion should resume as well, after initial clean-up and when local authorities allow contractors access to the island again. FIP Ventures secured construction permits for the building earlier this year, and the Pavilion’s foundation and septic system were completed before the storm arrived.

As seen on the special website set up by FIPPOA, the community has already organized itself to keep Pines residents informed and streamline communications related to recovery. More information can be found at their website:

The Pines’ water and cell phone service have been restored, LIPA is working to bring back electricity, and ferry service may return as soon as this weekend. Local agencies are enacting measures to expedite permitting for repairs. In short, Fire Island Pines withstood the storm relatively intact, repairs will continue this winter, and The Pines will be strong and vibrant once again this Spring.

Matthew Blesso, CEO and Founder of Blesso Properties and Operating Partner of FIP Ventures, notes:  “Hurricane Sandy’s severity was unprecedented, at least in recent history, and with it came unprecedented damage across the island and throughout The Pines. We will continue to assess damage to our properties, but expect to address any necessary repairs in the coming weeks and to resume construction of the new Pavilion very soon and be open for this summer.”

On the community spirit at The Pines, Blesso adds:  “Fire Island Pines unites and stands strong in times of crisis. Time and again, we have witnessed this community’s extraordinary resilience. We have no doubt that The Pines will bounce back from this setback, clean up, rebuild, and be ready to welcome back its residents and visitors in no time at all.”

And Jay Pagano of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners’ Association reports the beach looks better than he had anticipated:

The damage is largely confined to the decks and pools of houses on the Ocean east of Beach Hill Walk and some bulkheads along the bay. Our beach is very wide and relatively free of debris. Garbage is being picked up through out the community by our garbage contractor.  Water service appeared to be available though out the community.  The roadway along Fire Island Boulevard is free of water and debris.

It is important now to get some dunes in place along the beach to protect the community.  It appears that there is enough sand on the beach to do a beach scraping project as we did last year after Hurricane Irene.

We’re still seeking details on Cherry Grove, but a notice from The Violet Letter seems to suggest the community was battered, but not devastated:

Sadly, our little island took a very hard hit from Sandy, and another Nor’easter is predicted for the coming week. Right now, officials have turned off all power and water to Cherry Grove and don’t think people will be allowed to return for at least a month. They feel as a summer community, we are not top priority. Many walks are unsafe, and power lines may be down.

We’re glad the island seems to have weathered Sandy well, but they’ve already started mandatory evacuations in advance of the coming nor’easter.  Do you have a home in the Pines or Cherry Grove? Are you worried? Have you seen or heard anything about your property?

Share with us in the comments!

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