meat swaps

The Fire Island Pines Fire Sale: The $18 Million Purchase of New York’s Gay Haven

Take a look through Prudential Douglas Elliman’s real estate broker profiles, and you’ll come away with this: Like the media, the gays also control the real estate market. But never in a bigger way do they run things than on Fire Island, where Eric von Kuersteiner and his partner (in life and business) Tony Roncalli (pictured, L-R) are rumored to be selling the entire Fire Island Pines resort to some twentysomething kid.

For the unfamiliar, the Pines is one-half of the epicenter of gay life for New Yorkers every summer; the other half, of course, is Cherry Grove. Famous persons like David Geffen and Calvin Klein own there. And from Blue Whale (that’s where the pretty boys have their tea dance) to the Ciel hotel (for those unfortunate enough not to have their own shares), and Pavilion (the storied nightspot), it’s all owned by these two men in some weird power-hungry gayopoly. The Pines is said to have two other commercial business owners, but everyone knows Von Kuersteiner and Roncalli run the show, with 80 percent of the properties under their umbrella.

And now comes word they’re selling every last parcel to Seth Weissman, a 23-year-old gay in a deal expected to close next week. Where Wiessman’s cash comes from, nobody seems to know. But not everybody is terribly happy with the deal, as Gawker‘s Brian Moylan notes:

Depending on who you ask, this is either great news or a travesty. Von Kuersteiner and Roncalli rescued the small resort five years ago since it had fallen into disrepair, but their business practices—especially von Kuersteiner’s, always the more public of the two—were often called into question. Since the town is so small and they were one of only three business owners, they often exercised their monopoly. They opened a grocery store to compete with the only other place to buy food—a small, family-owned store that had been there for decades. They had an acrimonious relationship with many of the local home owners and other business because they controlled the dock which means they controlled access to the island. Anything they asked for—or more often, demanded—they got.

Von Kuersteiner and Co especially had hard feelings for the neighboring gay community, Cherry Grove, and used their dock access to stop boats from taking visitors from one village to the next, and for anyone who has drunkenly stumbled through the Meat Rack—the dense forest between the two towns—at 3am, not having a boat to bring you to and fro is more than enough to keep you partying closer to your summer share and putting cash into Von Kuersteiner and Roncalli’s pockets. They also reportedly demanded that the army of young pretty boys they hired to staff all their properties were forbidden from hanging out in the Grove, even on their nights off.

Meanwhile, Next updates its item to report “that while the deal has not been closed, the deadline for withdrawal has passed,” and “von Kuersteiner will still own the Ascension Party, the dock and freight service.”

Five years ago, Von Kuersteiner secured the properties from John Whyte in a Louisiana Purchase-style arrangement. From there, he installed a grocery store, updated the gym, added exciting a new technology called “air conditioning” to the buildings, and generally gentrified the place as gay developers are expected to do. He also launched the massive dance party Ascension, a gimmick to attract a younger crowd — which has worked.

Perhaps extremely well, if you consider the age of the guy who’s buying the place.

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  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    There goes the Gayborhood. Can we say the FRamptons?

  • FakeName

    Gaypoloy? How can you mess this up when the word “monopoly” is right there in the copy you lifted?

  • ajax

    The Blue Whale hosts Low Tea, not High Tea.

  • Lady Ga-Gasp

    Guys pushing past 40 who wear sleeveless t-shirts should be taken out and shot.

  • RomanHans

    People who make gross generalizations about other people should be taken out and shot.

  • Xtian99

    ugh- I hope it returns to some semblance of the wild sea front it used to be, but it wont. One more androgynous twink in Dior wraparounds wearing a so-wrong sarong over a women’s bathing suit bottom and I might hurl myself inot the ferry propellers. Now it will be all collars turned up and sweaters tied around neck… am I jaded? I am jaded. Hello, my new name is Jaded!

  • Z reveals

    23 years old has 18 million $$$$!! WOW! It is very hard to believe.

  • Alexander

    @Z reveals: Seriously! I’m 23 and I don’t even have 18 dollars, let alone 18 million!

  • $0.02

    SO the guy buying it is gay? If that’s the deal that is still good I’d say. LGBT doing business with LGBT, buying and selling to and from LGBT, supporting LGBT business, I’m all for it! I think LGBT should build up LGBT business and all more. Soo, good for him and them (???)

  • schlukitz

    No. 5 · RomanHans


  • B

    What will happen to our summer wanderland? Sweet lord….

  • alan brickman

    he’s supposely going to build condos for straights…yippee!!

  • Tylertime

    they attracted a younger crowd? I have been going out to the Pines since I was 22 and and I’m now 40. The crowds don’t seem much different than they were 18 years ago. Actually, it seems like it is older. Young gays can’t afford shares like they used to.

  • RealEstateCzar

    who the hell other than older guys pretending they’re young, like these two, still goes to Fire Island? These two are bullies as nasty and greedy as any straight developer I’ve ever met. And no one know where the money from the 23-year-old comes from? How about, money laundering? Revolting.

  • GoGoGod

    Damm those two are ugly. I wouldn’t go near them for, oh wait, maybe for 18 million I would. NOT!

  • MissTransSylvania

    All that money and he can’t fix his teeth, oh sugar!

  • Kyle412


    With that money he doesn’t have to fix his teeth. With millions it’s amazing how gays become blind to looks. it’s only when you are an average to poor gay do looks matter.

  • stevenelliot

    bad teeth? nah…Its prob just a bad foto. These two are 45-50-ish. showing signs of testosterone treatments and possibly some effects of hiv retroviral drugs. Nothing particularly interesting or abnormal for their age, socio-economic and sexual bracket.
    What bothers me is all the jealousy here and the sour grapes. Some of us queens end up being very wealthy. some of us dont. Some of us are lucky enough to age. Some of us get the plague. thats life and fate and shit…..
    What bothers me is in this era. we shouldnt be worried about the “high yellows” among us. We should be fighting our collective asses off for our rights.

  • MissTransSylvania

    @no. 17,
    Oh honey, you are SO right haha…

  • Bubblicious

    the one with the shirt that says Ascension looks evil!

  • Tom

    Daniel Nardicio has been drawing more and more boys from the Pines with his raunchy and un-pretentious underwear party for quite some time. When things to stuffy people flock to the Grove.

  • davidnyc

    You should hope when YOU pass 40 you can get out of the home, much less wear sleeveless T. Just another arrogant form of gay self-hate.

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