This is What You Missed Last Month (According To Linux), in which nightlife it-girl Linux takes us behind the velvet rope and into the VIP section of Scene-City. Through her extreme (sometimes exaggerated) lens, Linux gives us the tea on what really happened at every party-of-the-century that floods our Instagram feeds. (A note from the author: don’t take what she says too seriously — she’s just a club kid after all).
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: New York Nightlife would be absolutely nothing without the gays. For over a century, the gay community in New York City has carved out spaces for the black sheep of society to not only exist, but flourish. For many of our city’s outliers, the only places one could escape violence (from both police and New Yorkers) were the clubs, bars and speakeasies founded by fellow members of the LGBTQ+. The creations of these spaces and the feeling of “phew, I can finally be myself here” led to not only solace, but celebration. Looking back in time, it was that same community who lit up Studio 54 in the ’70s, added glamour to the clubs in the ’80s, conceptualized the club kid era of the ’90s and added the cuntiness to Carrie Bradshaw’s cosmopolitan in the 2000’s. For decades, the queens of our city gave the citizens of our Five Burroughs a place to party over and over again, without judgement.
But where did these queens (and kings) spend their summers? I know the worldly spent their summers South of France, while yuppies spent warm months East of Hampton. But when Mr. and Mrs. Appleseed went on holiday each summer, where did the New York City tastemakers go?
Regardless of the gifts they gave our city at night, being openly gay in NYC while the sun was still out placed a violent target on one’s back. Like a gift from God, Fire Island, a sand bar off the coast of Long Island became a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ to be themselves openly, finally safe from consequence. At first, Fire Island being “gay” was unspoken and was simply a “place for those who worked in the arts and theater.” (I don’t know who they thought they were fooling!) After the Stonewall Riots of 1969, it became all too clear how important it was to put our flag in the sand... and keep it there. Decades since, Fire Island Pines and its sister Cherry Grove have become pivotal landmarks in LGBTQ+ history.
Summer 2022 is now in full swing, so like the queers before me and the queers before them, it was time to make the Great Gay Migration to Gay Mecca. Without hesitation, I packed my bags, jumped on the LIRR, boarded the Ferry and spent my July in New York’s gay backyard: Fire Island.
Jacket: Christian Siriano, Mermaid tail: Airik Prince (Custom)
July 3: Carry Nation at Fire Island Pine’s Pavilion
There’s only so many places for a fag to party at night on this Island of sin that isn’t someone’s house or the beach. For the last decade, if the gays wanted to go dancing on a Friday night, they’d be forced to take a water taxi to the other side of Fire Island, towards the “lesbian side” known as Cherry Grove, where an infamous Underwear Party was held at the island’s only nightclub: Ice Palace. This has always been a major inconvenience for the Fire Island Fairies, as water taxis are few and far between, leaving many stranded hiking to Cherry Grove by foot through tick (and dick) infested woods they called the Meat Rack.
Luckily for us all, Fire Island Pines Monopolizer PJ McAteer gave a tatted party thrower known as Wolfpup the privilege of throwing their own clothing-optional event just a few steps from everyone’s quarter shares in the heart of Fire Island Pines at the Fire Island Pavilion. A club that remains empty all other moments of the week, on Friday Nights becomes a space for all the visiting gays to dance their demons away in as little clothing as possible. Correction, not as little clothing as possible, but one type of clothing specifically: jockstraps. Yes, that’s right, no one’s allowed into this event unless they’re in nothing but a jockstrap. (You can always tell who’s gay-famous at the Jockstrap party because the door people tend to make clothing exceptions for those with clout, hence why my friend’s and I are always fully dressed!)
Something Michael Macneal has been doing specifically different about his Jockstrap parties this summer is booking really fucking good New York City DJ’s to play on the Pavilion’s decks. The night of July 3rd was especially exciting, as famous New York legends Carry Nation played all night long, from 10 PM until 4 AM. When they heard I was coming with my entourage of cool kids, earlier that day two security guards rushed to carry couches and a velvet rope to the front right of the dancefloor, so us Gay-listers had a place to sit, drink and talk shit while enjoying the view of a thousand holes sin the night away on the Island that quite literally invented sin. The Jockstrap party happens every single in-season Friday night in the Pines.
July 4: Red, White and Reflections
For two years in a row, Reflections, the Fourth of July day party at Daniel Nardicio’s Fire Island vacation home, has taken place. You know what they say: if it’s not broke, don’t fix it! Nardicio’s Independence Day bash was so good last year that he decided to give it a second go, and change absolutely nothing. It worked!
Ty Sunderland and Aquaria DJ’d, I hosted and around sunset Nicky Doll showed up on a boat that dropped her directly off at the party (the home is literally on the water). The no-change in lineup was a great decision; Red, White and Reflections ended up being the stars (and stripes) of the city’s show this holiday.
This Fourth, there may have been many a moment at every corner of NYC, but the only party posted to anyone in the scene’s IG stories was this one... and that’s what matters! Stay tuned ‘til next July to see if the now-annual event makes the cut a third year in a row!
July 10: Soul Summit
For 20 years, a DJ Collective has taken over Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn and thrown a summer Sunday party, called Soul Summit. Each summer, Soul Summit Founders Sadiq Bellamy, Tabu and Jeff Mendoza bring hundreds of music lovers together into the heart of the Brooklyn park to dance for hours on end to not just house music, but soulful house music. The general sentiment of Soul Summit is that music heals, especially House music.
Due to COVID, Soul Summit was put on hold two summers in a row (it was real sad, y’all.) But now that it's safe to go out again, me and a thousand other people were not about to miss it. As fun as I was having in Fire Island, attending Soul Summit was much more important. Since moving to New York, I’ve yet to miss a Summit. (It was 2015’s Soul Summit that I saw God on the dance floor to Diana Ross’ "The Boss.")
So I hopped on the earliest ferry back to the mainland and booked it back to Brooklyn. I got to Fort Greene around 4 PM and the park was already packed with all sorts of partygoers. As much as I love the gays, there’s something so refreshing about being out with people of all ages, gender identities, sexualities and backgrounds. Everyone who attends Soul Summit is there for one reason: the music. There’s no drama, no discourse and no egos... just vibes!
Since it's a park, there’s not a bar or anything, but I found plenty of people with coolers, eager to share their beverages as well as guys running around selling pre-made mixed drinks (called Nutcrackers) out of unmarked water bottles. Soul Summit happens in a wooded area of Fort Greene park. There’s clearing right where the dancefloor and DJ’s are, so the line of trees surrounding you makes the party feel like you are in the middle of the woods, not NYC. If you don’t want to dance, there’s picnics set up in and outside the wooded area, as well. You can go alone or with friends. Either way, the people you spend Soul Summit with will be friends for life, scout’s honor!
July 23: Pines Party
Back to the Island I go! Each summer, the beach of Fire Island hosts Pines Party. Best described as a jewel of New York’s queer nightlife calendar, Pines Party brings thousands of gay men to Fire Island for three days worth of festivities. Pines Party hosts multiple events over the weekend, all raising money for Stonewall Community Foundation and other local charities impacting the LGBTQ+ communities, both on Fire Island and New York City.
The main event is the beach party, which starts at 10 PM Saturday night and goes until sunrise Sunday morning. In Fire Island history, morning parties hold a lot of weight. They date back to Beach ‘79, a fundraising party which then in 1983 turned into The Morning Party, a yearly event sponsored by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Until 1998, GMHC threw The Morning Party in an attempt to raise money towards a cure for AIDS, which at the time was violently ripping through the gay community. Stigma and bad press ended The Morning Party that year, but in 1999 The Pines Party was born.
Aside from one COVID summer, Pines Party has up-kept the decades-old tradition with their annual weekend. Guy Smith, a producer of Pines Party and close friend of mine, curates the weekend so incredibly well. This year was my fifth consecutive Pines Party and, out of the five I’ve attended, 2022’s was the best one yet! Pines Party always has a theme that literally everyone follows. This year’s theme was Bachanalia. It's giving Rome, it's giving Greece, it's giving Medusa, mythology, Dionysus, toga party tease... you get it! It was the best theme ever... and girrrl do they go all outwith their looks.
Two days prior to the party, the beach turns into a full-on construction site. Planks of wood are nailed down on the sand, full industrial bars are installed and a huge Coachella-level soundstage is built. In theme, the stage this year was decorated with large Roman columns, clearly meant to resemble the Pantheon in Rome. Bordering the path leading up to the stage, sponsored tents with bars and private parties greet the attendees as they enter the party. Oh, did I mention it’s an open bar?
If you have GA wristbands, you can use the main bars and the full 1000+ person dancefloor. I recommend purchasing VIP wristbands, however. (Big surprise, Linux!) VIP’s are allowed to go behind the sound stage, dance behind the DJ booth, have access to a huge lounge area (when your pill hits too hard), plus a private bar and bathrooms. VIP is worth the extra coin, trust me!
The beach is packed by 11 PM and the opening DJ this year was Karsten Sollars, who played the first half of the night followed by the legendary Danny Tenaglia, who spun until 7-8 AM. At one point when I took a seat next to a bar, a group of older gay men told me about the Morning Party’s of the ’80s and how grateful they are that, in a sense, the event is still happening today. For a lot of these gay partygoers' lives, this island and nights like these were all they’ve had to hold on to for decades, while the outside world rejected them.
In the name of that and inspired by our gay ancestors, for more than eight hours, multiple generations of our community danced, loved, partied and shared space with each other on the beach until morning — keeping in mind the one thing that makes us so different, yet all the same.
Jacket: Christian Siriano, Mermaid tail: Airik Prince (Custom)