Collectives, Enclaves, and Gayborhoods: Fire Island, NY

View of the Fire Island landscape
View of western Fire Island taken from the lighthouse, 2006.

Photo by Jeff Pearce (CC BY 2.0;

In the 1930s, Cherry Grove on New York's Fire Island became a popular place for LGBTQ New Yorkers to spend their summer vacations. Away from the social constraints of everyday life, "Grovers" were free to talk intimately or act affectionately with their same-sex partners without fear of violent attack. Opening of The Pines Resort in 1952 offered a more discreet option for those who worried about the consequences of being "outed." Over time, the increasingly queer population of Fire Island dealt with harassment from locals, police, and bureaucrats. Despite pressure, the community has flourished as one of the most openly queer places in the United States.

Part of a series of articles titled Finding Our Place: LGBTQ Heritage in the United States.

Last updated: February 20, 2018