A couple of days ago I took a day trip to Fire Island, a thin barrier just south of Long Island. It’s an easy excursion from New York by train and ferry – in just over two hours from Brooklyn’s Atlantic terminal or Manhattan’s Penn Station, you can be running along the sand dunes.
Spending a few days on Fire Island each summer or fall has been a tradition for me since 2000. I did skip a few summers due to traveling and this year it was only a day trip. But whenever I can, I make it out to this blissfully car-free island. And it’s always with Michael, my dear friend and Fire Island pal.
This time, we took a walk on the sands and had a picnic on the beach, with delicious wine and snacks. I even got burned from facing the sun for a few hours and came back to Brooklyn looking like an owl!
In the summer, Fire Island can get overrun with weekenders, rowdy party people and screaming kids, but come fall, things get quiet, you can hear the waves and walk along the dunes without seeing anyone for quite some time. And when you do pass another fellow human, you’re eager to say hello and smile to one another.
Two years ago I spent Columbus Day weekend with Michael & friends at a rental house right on the beach. This remains my most cherished Fire Island experience. There was a chill in the air and nobody around, except a white-tailed deer who walked right up to the glass doors at one point in the night. It was windy, beautiful and wild. So far from the hectic rush of New York and yet so close…