I’ll never, ever forget the first time I ventured into sparkly Walt Disney World in the palm tree adorned, sunny state of Florida, baby.
It was the dead of winter and I was a six-year-old pipsqueak with frizzy pigtails and buckteeth, a pint-sized baby New Yorker starstruck at the prospect of meeting my icon; Arielle from The Little Mermaid (Oh, to be a redhead! The things I could get away with if only I were a ginger!).
I was with my childhood best friend Alexa, who happened to have a debilitating crush on Prince Eric. Tears of joy ran down her flushed cheeks when my mother told her Prince Eric actually lived in Disney World. I didn’t care much for Prince Eric partly because he bore an alarming resemblance to my older brother Blake (gag), and partly because I was a little baby lesbian (swag).
I myself was more interested in Pocahontas with her velvety raven hair and bad-ass, adventurous lesbian energy – I’m aware, my PC dahlings, that I just made a sweeping generalization about all lesbians being *adventurous* – one that I happen to know is wildly untrue, because I’m the wimpiest lesbian EVER, I’m deathly afraid of freaking escalators for crying out loud. It’s just me projecting my fantasies of what I wish I was, onto all of lesbian-kind. I’m aware of it. I’m in therapy.
“This really is the happiest place on earth!” I thought to myself, whilst feverishly lapping up a Minnie Mouse popsicle. My heart soared as I watched the most stunning display of fireworks explode into the clear Florida skies. My pulse raced as I met all of my idols; Minnie and Mickey, Cinderella and Snow White, Snoopy and Princess Jasmin.
Sadly I never felt that electric surge of magic pulsing through my bleak, bored veins again. I’ve been to some incredible places in my life, but none of them have ever attained that surreal ~Disney World~ energy. There’s nothing like being a tiny tyke prancing around Walt Disney’s playground without a care in the world.
But you know what? A few years back I FINALLY felt that sense of carefree magic again, this time, as a not-so-tiny dyke prancing around Cherry Grove, Fire Island. The moment I ascended the ferry, I felt heavenly.
In fact, I fiercely believe that for adults, specifically for those of us of the queer descent (or of queer haggin’ elk), Cherry Grove is the happiest place on earth. It is the glittering Disney World of our 21+ years.
Here my sweet kittens, are just a FEW reasons why I love Cherry Grove so intensely.
(P.S This is merely part one in a sea of many Cherry Grove/Pines articles to come).
The Ice Palace
“Hey babe, want to go to the pool show,” My girlfriend asked me my first day in Cherry Grove. “What the hell is a POOL SHOW?” I asked sucking back the remains of my trashy-yet-chic can of champagne.
“You’ll see and you’ll love it” She rightfully predicted as she whisked me away to The Ice Palace for the world famous Pool Show.
I instantly fell in love with the Ice Palace at The Grove Hotel. I mean what the hell could possibly be better than a GIANT pale blue pool full of sequin scaled Drag Queens artfully making fun of everyone, especially themselves?
The Pool Show is a Sunday poolside drag show and it *might* be my favorite show in the world. The first one I ever went to was hosted by Ariel Sinclair and Logan Hardcore, and not only was the best bit of drag I’d ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of drag, h-o-n-e-y!) it was the hands down some of the best comedy I’d ever witnessed. Ever. I mean the way those two riffed off each other! They should have an honorary doctorate in comedy from UCB. I think Drag Queens are the unsung heroes of the comedy world, don’t you?
Now as a lesbian who wears clunky heels and mega jewels and long fringed skirts to the pool in the day, I’m total drag queen bait. I can’t get through a show without hearing it from the Queens. “Did you bring the entire WEST VILLAGE with you?” Brenda Dharling cooed into the mic, pointing her long fingernail at my over accessorized outfit just last week.
But that’s what I LOVE. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what the hell is the point of even living in this increasingly horrific, all-too-serious world? Drag Queens remind you to take a break from furiously worrying about being perfectly PC and to giggle. Because it’s hard being gay in Post-Trump America, so gays need to giggle as much as possible in order to cope.
Pro Tip: If you can, catch the “Drag Tag” sale held inside the bar of the Ice Palace occasionally. It’s a sale of Drag Queen jewelry shoes and clothes. I got the BEST jewelry of my life there, each piece was like a freaking DOLLAR, girl.
Cherry’s On The Bay
When the Sayville Ferry Service pulls up to Cherry Grove, and you see all those beautiful rainbow flags gracefully waving in the wind a feeling of unabashed joy will wash over you. The first thing I notice: Cherry’s on the Bay.
You know you’re home when you see those red lights glimmering in the big hunky tree that explodes out the center of the bar at Cherry’s.
Cherry’s is a place where you can drink in your string bikini and hideous holographic seashell gladiator sandals and no one will bat an eyelash (maybe a gay boy will ask if he can try them on, and when that happens, you always must say YES. Generosity is everything in Cherry Grove).
You can watch fabulous Drag Queens like the beautiful, sarcastic, dry-witted Tina Burner host GURLesque on Fridays, which is an artful cabaret-style show featuring some of the most talented Drag Queens in the nation. I mean who the hell needs Mickey and Minnie when you have goddamn Tina Burner? I certainly don’t.
Sand Castle On The Ocean + Island Breeze
I’m not just a thirsty lesbian, I’m hungry lesbian. Ravenous, really.
Lucky for me I can saunter into Sand Castle and get a posh plate of oysters and a cold glass of rosé beachside at the legendary restaurant whenever I so fancy when in Cherry Grove. After all, nothing turns me on like shellfish and wine. Purr.
I also love Island Breeze if I want a spicy bloody mary on a hungover morning or a hearty, sobering dinner after a long day in the sun. It overlooks the bay and you can feverishly wave goodbye to all the sad queers getting on the ferry back to New York. Back to reality. Ugh. I hate reality.
August 12th, 2017 will be the seventh annual Lez Volleyball but my second experience. Lez Volleyball is what it sounds like: a lesbian volleyball tournament. Hosted by the lovely: Danielle Stanziale & Kristine Bungay.
Now look, I’m the most unathletic lesbian in the tri-state area so I don’t play. However, I’m a fantastic spectator! What’s better than twirling your hair in bathing-suit, while watching hot, athletic lesbians sweat and get all sexily competitive in the brutal August sun? Not much babe!
The Freaking Pizza!
If you’re a diehard New Yorker who goes into cardiac arrest if you don’t consume pizza every 48 hours, like, Cherry Grove Pizza is your best friend. It actually rivals the New York City slice.
One of the greatest joys of Cherry Grove! NO CARS! NO BUSES! NO SUBWAYS! NO INFURIATING SURGE PRICES ON UBERS!
You can navigate the entire island by foot, which takes a huge STRESS off your life. You won’t spend the weekend sweating on a horrible subway, your morality melting into the dirty floors, as you wait for a train that’s probably never going to come.
In Cherry Grove, you’ll spend the weekend frolicking in the sunshine, waiting for the girl of your dreams who will totally make you cum.
Mixed Gay Energy
I know that some queers like to keep to their kind. But that ain’t me. I love queer energy and it’s the most gorgeously intoxicating when it’s mixed. I feel a sense of hopefulness when I watch a tanned gay man get down and dirty on the dance floor with a fab lesbian.
There is no more beautiful sight in the world than all of us, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, QUEERS, however, you wish to identify baby—uniting as a community.
In the city, I rarely see queers in the day. Even in my super gay neighborhood of the West Village, the gays seem to be hiding in the daylight. It’s like that Smashing Pumpkins song…”We only come out at night, the days are much too bright…”
In Cherry Grove, I get to see QUEERS IN THE SUNSHINE! And we sparkle in the sunshine, honey!
Freedom to flaunt
In stuffy Manhattan, I get dirty looks when I decide to really get weird with my wardrobe. Fire Island is about flaunting your shit and celebrating it!
Doesn’t matter how old you are or what dress size you wear, flaunting is always encouraged.
All of us queers got it, so we might as well all flaunt it.
So is anyone going to be in my beloved Cherry Grove for The Drag Queen Invasion Fourth of July? I’ll be there. I’ll be there dancing in my seashell bikini all week long. Say hi! Message me on Facebook, we’ll have a kiki, baby.