Thank Godiva: Gays Will Be Able To Nude Sunbathe On Fire Island After All

fire island - david shankboneEarlier this week we reported that park rangers were cracking down on public nudity on Fire Island, a popular gay vacation destination just a few hours from Manhattan.

While its true the public-decency statutes on the barrier island will be in full effect this season, we’ve gotten word that it won’t include the Pines and Cherry Grove, the isle’s gay meccas.

From FIP Ventures:

The Chief Ranger of the Fire Island National Seashore, Lena B. Koschmann, sheds light on exactly what this means to the Pines: “Fire Island National Seashore has chosen to start enforcing the state law prohibiting public nudity in the federal land it administers.  Community beaches – including those in front of the Pines and Cherry Grove – will not be affected by this. They are policed by the Suffolk County police department, and it is not something they have chosen to enforce in the past.”

The areas affected by the enforcement include:

  • Lighthouse Beach, from the western end of the park to the western boundary of Kismet
  • The Sailors Haven tract, from Point O’ Woods to Cherry Grove
  • One half mile on either side of the Barrett Beach lifeguard stand
  • One mile on either side of the Watch Hill lifeguard stand
  • From the Wilderness Visitor Center to the breach at Old Inlet

Ranger Koschmann did have a word of warning to those thinking of getting frisky in the Meatrack, the wooded no-man’s-land between the Grove and the Pines:

“The area known as “the Meatrack” is not a target of our enforcement. We do not plan on focusing our enforcement efforts in that area. However, of course, if people are disobeying the law, including having sex in public or doing drugs, of course we would enforce laws…

Should concentrations of nudity and lewd and lascivious behaviors increase in other federal areas and cause conflicts with other visitors or protected species, then we may expand its enforcement efforts.”

As you were.

Photo: David Shankbone

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #cherrygrove #fireisland #fireislandpines stories and more


  • Fidelio

    Here in San Antonio we have this park named Olmos Park. It used to be a hotbed of “lascivious” behavior among gay men in the ’80s and ’90s. One year San Antonio Police cracked down on the lewd behavior and one man, in particular, had his name printed in the paper the next day after his arrest; he ended up committing suicide.

    I suppose it’s why I find it remarkable how nudity in public places – such as Folsom Street in San Francisco, Fire Island in New York, Hippy Hollow in Austin, or the French Quarter in New Orleans – has evolved into a sort of entitlement for gay men.

  • RomanHans

    @Fidelio: “Entitlement”? I don’t know if you’re gay, but you’re certainly homophobic. Communities can decide on their own standards. Or are you also pissed that golfers feel they’re “entitled” to wear plaid shorts?

  • Aidan8

    @RomanHans: Not sure what Fidelio said indicates he/she’s homophobic. Personally, I don’t have a problem with nude beaches or nudity in general. However, there are people out there, gay straight and in-between, who don’t like it. For whatever reason, it doesn’t necessarily make them homophobic. Similarly, I personally dislike the meatrack and public sex… doesn’t make me homophobic. I don’t want to see straight sex in the bushes either. We should be careful what we call “homophobic” and call out the real homophobia when we see/hear it.

  • Leonardo

    @Fidelio- the same way as you feel entitled to your opinion, gay man have been forced to seem “entitled” to doing or behaving a certain way due to oppression and the inability to pridefully be WHO they want to be or however they want to be.
    @Romanhans – If people are not ok with nudity, or nude beaches then WHY be against them? Just dont go. Simple. There’s PLENTY of other beaches out there! AND if you decide you want to go you SHOULD expect some kind of un-usual behavior as its not your “NORMAL” beach. I.E. I DISLIKE crows and children. I know Disneyland is FULL of children, strollers, and lots of people. WHY would I go there? WHY would I complain or be against it??? People just need to CHILL-OUT and live their lives THEIR way and worry about themselves!:)

  • Fidelio

    @RomanHans: Whoa Nellie (no pun intended). You’re certainly fast and loose with your definition of homophobia. Call me old-fashioned, call me prudish, but just don’t call me homophobic.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to these places and had a lot of fun. My observation was about how times have changed. I like to link it up every once-in-a-while, but sex in public places is just not mt cup of tea. Anymore.

  • Fidelio

    @Leonardo: My issue is with sex and nudity, but only in public places. I, for one, was glad SF repealed their nudity allowance, for example. I don’t see how public mudity/sex is an affront to discrimination or helps our plight. Let’s call it for what it is: debauchery of the gentlest kind.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Fidelio: You are so wrong here. San Francisco’s repeal of nudity had nothing to do with nudity and everything to do with Folsom and the lewd acts that always permeated that street fair. Nudity is natural and should be celebrated. Personally I prefer the nudist areas in Florida, Palm Springs, Spain, Greece and France but happy to see it take place any and everywhere. The American Prudish behavior is long overdue for an overhaul.

  • Chad Hunt

    That being said this article is bullshit. The Suffolk County Police Dept. does enforce the law on Fire Island and I know plenty of people who have ben ticketed in the Pines area and have witnessed it happen on several occasions.

  • Merv

    @Fidelio: I think this is a good summary of your opinion: “Now that I’m not into it anymore, nobody should be allowed to do it.” Correct?

  • Fidelio

    @Chad Hunt: I don’t consider this a right or wrong issue, really. We just have different values. I don’t have an issue with it in private areas, like clubs or private beaches. I understood the ordinance in SF was overturned because it was bad for business. I just find it odd the city condones it all.
    I understand my stance is not popular on here, but being gay shouldn’t have to mean automatic sexual liberalism. I think it’s important not to confuse the two.

  • Fidelio

    @Merv: I’ve never had sex in public. I’ve had sex in a bathouse, but not in the woods. Nor do I drugs. By your logic, I can presume yldrug use is ok as long as you’re gay.

  • Billysees

    @Aidan8: 3

    Very well said.

    Interestingly, the Book says that all things are allowable, lawful, and permissible.

    But it doesn’t sound like good smarts to get carried away with that.

Comments are closed.