Long Island: Cherry Grove
Cherry Grove is an unincorporated hamlet in Suffolk County on Fire Island, a barrier island on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. It is within the Town of Brookhaven and has approximately 300 houses on 41 acres of land area. The hamlet has a summer seasonal population of 2,000 and a year round population of 15.
In terms of transportation, Cherry Grove can be accessed only by water with most residents and visitors utilizing a passenger ferry or private water taxi. There are no private vehicles in this part of Fire Island, though police and service vehicles are seen on the beach from time to time. It has also no paved roads and the cottages and beach are only accessible using a series of wooden boardwalks. The latitude of Cherry Grove is 40.658N. The longitude is -73.089W. It is in the Eastern Standard time zone. Elevation is 13 feet.
Cherry Grove history dates back in 1868 when Archer and Elizabeth Perkinson bought the land between Lone Hill (now Fire Island Pines) and the Cherry Grove Hotel from the ocean to the bay for 25 cents an acre and named the area for the Black Cherry trees in the area. In later years, several establishments were built to attract more visitors. In 1938, the Great Hurricane destroyed much of Cherry Grove and many people were discouraged from going there. Cherry Grove, along with nearby Fire Island Pines is considered by many as one of the most popular lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender accepting resort communities in the United States. According to legend the gay aura of the town arose when Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden arrived dressed as Dionysus and Ganymede, carried aloft on a gilded litter by a group of singing followers.
Cherry Grove combines a more nonrestrictive atmosphere with an easy friendliness. The neighborhood’s notorious nightlife, in all of its drag-queen glory, can be found in the five local bars and clubs, with some of the wildest parties happening at the Grove Hotel and the Tides. Accommodations also include summer house shares, apartments, and pubs. Dine at one of several restaurants or buy your own groceries at Josephs Too, a food market.
There are approximately six restaurants that operate within Cherry Grove, varying from pizza and breakfast to seafood and fine dining. The Fire Island National Seashore is the main outdoor attraction. The dynamic barrier island beaches offer solitude and camaraderie, and spiritual renewal to civilization-weary people. A perfect ocean shore, an ancient maritime forest, legacies of lighthouse keepers, and the historic estate of William Floyd are just a few of the recreational, natural, and cultural resources of Fire Island National Seashore. The real estate market in Cherry Grove is strong with many falling in love with particular homes in the area. As of 2014, there was just 44 homes for sale on Fire Island with a median sale price of $770,000.