Watch Hill

Davis Park/Ocean Ridge

Water Island

Fire Island Pines

Cherry Grove

Point O'Woods

Ocean Bay Park

Seaview

Ocean Beach

Corneille Estates

Robbins Rest

Atlantique

Lonelyville

Dunewood

Fair Harbor

Saltaire

Kismet

West Fire Island


West Fire lsland

The Falklands of the Great South Bay, East and West Fire Island, lie side by side less than a mile off the north shore of Fire Island proper, opposite Saltaire and Fair Harbor. Called simply East and West Island by locals, the two are administered as part of the Fire Island National Seashore.

East Island is uninhabited. Most of it is low and swampy and fringes are submerged at high tides; seagulls find it a good nesting area. The remnants of an old hunting lodge at the extreme western edge of the island, tucked away in its only treed land, betoken the only effort at human settlement made on the place. Under the protection of the Seashore it will remain in its present, natural state.

West Island is rather different from its twin. Here some 25 people occupy ten homes scattered around this modest-sized (1/2-mile by 1/4-mile) little islet, which teems with mosquitoes and poison ivy. Unlike Fire Island, where modern conveniences have wormed their way into every community, residents of West Island have made every effort to keep such temptations out of reach; efforts which have so far been largely successful within limits. There is no electricity and no telephones on the island. Refrigeration and cooking stoves are run by imported propane gas tanks and a free-flowing artesian well, with a 7500-gallon tank, pumps water to each house. On this tiny island with no place to go except in a circle there are four vehicles which trundle through the island's system of "roads", affectionately dubbed The Ho Chi Minh Trail.

West Island was once the site of a burgeoning resort which saw a casino-hotel and many cottages erected for summer guests before the Depression, then the '38 hurricane ended the scheme. Since the 30s most traces of the old development have banished into the trees and brush that cover the island. In 1963 the Seashore stepped in and bought up all property aside from the ten parcels of land owned by the homeowners. For a time it appeared these last residents would have to relinquish their claims in the 1990s, but for the present no change is contemplated in the island's status, to everyone's satisfaction.

Both islands, which are separated by a narrow channel, are accessible only by private boat, but landing is not easy. Erosion on the southwest shore of West Island caused by ferry wakes is a serious problem and boats should not be moored.

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Kismet

Kismet, the westernmost community on Fire Island, is an anomaly: the longest continually settled part of the island yet one whose houses almost all date from the postwar period; a community justly renowned as a haven for singles and groupers renting for all or part of a summer, yet one which can also claim one of the highest winter populations of any Fire Island village.

The popular image of Kismet is a town where singles constitute the norm. Sunning and playing on the beach by day and packing the bars or the disco or one another's houses in noisy, frenzied revelry by night. It is an image of a community dedicated to one unending party all summer long, where everyone is invited and anything goes.

There is some truth but, like most such images, the part ends to obscure the whole. Renters and singles do outnumber resident owners and families, but there is little friction between the two, and many non-owners have been in residence so long they are more a part of the community than some absentee owners. The Tri-Communities Association, the civic association that constitutes the closest thing to a governmental body in the town, is one of the most active and forward-looking organizations on the island, Kismet people value their community highly and are very active in its affairs.

The community called Kismet came into being just over 60 years ago, but the area has been the scene of settlements for well over a century. In 1855 developer David S.S. Sammiss saw the future and purchased 120 acres for use as a resort. Sammiss built the Surf Hotel and saw it grow into one of the most fashionable inns in the Long Island area catering to artists and politicians. All this came to an end in 1892 when an outbreak of cholera aboard a shipload of immigrants caused the governor to bow to pressure from local health officials and purchase the hotel as a quarantine center for all incoming immigrants. The place later reverted to private ownership but burned down just before World War I.

Modern Kismet owes it existence to Frederick William Weis, who purchased a 350-foot long strip and began development in 1925. The name Kismet came from a ferry boat he had brought from Wet Island. Within a few years the community sported several dozen houses, a store, a power house and even a school but the hurricane of September 1938 devastated the town--only three houses plus the store remained. It was not until after the war, when the boom in rental opportunities and hotel accommodations by the seashore began to take hold, that full scale development in Kismet resumed.

Kismet today is actually an amalgam of three separate tracts--Kismet proper, Lighthouse Shores to the west, and Seabay Beach to the east--otherwise known as the Tri-Communities. Year-round residents tend to congregate in the east or west--the community's proximity to the roads and bridges linking Fire Island to the mainland help explain its popularity among winter residents with driving permits. Kismet boasts three guest houses within its six blocks (one with private tennis court), two restaurants (the Inn caters to an older crowd while the Out revolves around the disco scene), a small supermarket, two public tennis courts and one basketball court, and a 100 boat marina run by the Inn which attracts boaters from other communities. Direct ferry from Bay Shore most of the season; in early Spring and late Fall it's a ten-minute walk to or from the ferry at Saltaire.

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Saltaire Just a few hundred feet east of Kismet lies the incorporated village of Saltaire. Geographically, Saltaire has several distinctions: it sits on the widest portion of Fire Island; it is second in size only to Fire Island Pines, seven miles to the east; it has in Clam Cove, the only natural, protected harbor on the island. Saltaire is a "family community"--remaining today exactly what its promoters intended it to be more than 75 years ago.

Development of Saltaire began in 1910. (The name derives not from the briny mists but rather from an English town on the River Aire named for Lord Salt.) In less than two years a large, thriving community had arisen, with enormous two- and three-story cottages. Early on, Saltaire's residents were determined to keep out commercial interests and preserve as much open space as possible. After incorporation as a self-governing village in 1917 strict laws governing non-residential use of property were passed. It was through such foresight that Saltaire has been able to maintain its attraction to families and remain today virtually free of day trippers.

Saltaire was severely damaged in the 1938 hurricane; three tidal waves destroyed nearly every building of the island's midpoint and caused extensive destruction up to the bay; an entire walk of houses along the ocean simply disappeared. Reconstruction was begun with federal aid the next year but it was not until after the war that the task was completed, including the planting of pine trees and dune grass to help stabilize the area's shifting sands.

Because of strict zoning the town's commercial district is limited to a gourmet food store, a bake shop, liquor store and a post office; there are no public bars, no discos or restaurants, no hotels. The Village Hall is an imposing building.

Sports and recreation are at the center of Saltaire life. The village runs a well-funded and organized youth, program, including swimming instruction, and has its own full-season lifeguard protection at both bay and ocean. A large field was set aside decades age and has and has been maintained for use by the day camp as soccer and softball enthusiasts; there is also a much-used basketball court.

Tennis is available to members of the Saltaire Yacht Club which owns the four courts. The club is the focus of most community social life. Saltaire's sailors, under the aegis of the club, compete in regattas all around Long Island; a particularly fierce rivalry exists with Point O'Woods, the so-called "rudder race," possession of whose trophy has been batted back and forth between the clubs almost annually for forty years. Movies are shown weekly.

Saltaire has two houses of worship: the Our Lady Star of the Sea Church (Catholic), and St. Andrew's by the Sea (Episcopalian), which also doubles as a synagogue on High Holy Days. There is a mayor and four-member board of trustees, each elected for a two year term, and an appointed assistant to the mayor.

Saltaire has a full-time security force as well as a fire department second to none in training and equipment, including an emergency rescue vehicle for transporting sick or injured to the mainland. The Saltaire Citizens Advisory Association serves as a liaison between residents and elected officials and also sponsors various activities, including an annual bluegrass concert, a community directory, dune grass planting, etc. The Saltaire Historical Society was begun in 1985 to correlate extensive information on the community's past. Art shows are held in the village library with docking for residents only. Ferry from Bay Shore.

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Fair Harbor

As you disembark from the ferry, the sign says WELCOME TO FAIR HARBOR, A SAFE, CLEAN, FAMILY COMMUNITY. It is an accurate summation of the town's flavor.

Yes, there are kids. Tons and tons of them. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the sun-drenched landscape of this community is virtually inundated with armies of scampering, bronze-skinned junior citizens.

Fair Harbor kids are legion, and thrive exuberantly despite their seeming lack of official guardianship. The teenagers, lacking group obligations, are free to baby-sit. Their elders are, simply and gloriously, free. Sprinkled among the plain folks, Fair Harbor boasts its share of celebrities from the creative arts. Probably the best known to the general public is political writer Theodore White.

It is a place, in short, that leaves one entirely free long days--to do nothing or something, in moderation or to excess. F.H.'s denizens can be seen in almost any form: wearing hats on the way to church, wearing near-nothing in the backporch sun, hauling lumber for domestic repairs, hauling a book to stare at on the beach. They drink if they choose, sleep all they want, collect stones or empty bottles or funny hats, go swimming at night, eat on the beach, ride bicycles anywhere, give noisy parties or none.

Theodore White may only have been talking about his own profession when he said it, but he accurately evoked the whole feel of Fair Harbor as contrasted to that of some of her neighbors when he remarked during an interview: "Ocean Beach is the place where would-be writers talk about what they're going to write as soon as the bars close up for the night . . . Fair Harbor is the place where writers write."

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Dunewood

Built in 1959 as the Island's only fully-planned community, Dunewood is now an enclave of about 100 homes and families. The houses are modern, utilizing plenty of glass and decks in a setting of natural scrub and sand.

The 20-acre area, nestled between Lonelyville and Fair Harbor, is zoned entirely for residential purposes. There are no stores or restaurants, and group rentals are banned as well. Groceries and supplies must be brought in by ferry or from the market at Fair Harbor.

The residents themselves enjoy excellent facilities, including lifeguards on both the beach and the bay. There are two tennis courts, a boat basin, and a yacht club. Group rentals are strictly prohibited.

Each year, the yacht club holds the Dunewood Sunfish Regatta, an event that attracts entrants from all over the Island.

Dunewood is served by direct ferry from Maple Avenue in Bay Shore.

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Lonelyville

Lonelyville is one of the oldest communities on Fire Island. It was first settled in 1905 when Dr. George S. King, a prominent South Shore physician, long interested in the island, pioneered the building of summer cottages on the site. The village's aptly chosen name was perhaps more fitting then than today, but the spread of development on the island and in Lonelyville itself has not robbed the community of the privacy and feeling of remoteness that its residents have always sought.

The development of Lonelyville is plainly visible in the differences between its two distinct parts. "Old" or "West" Lonelyville is the site of the original settlement: except near the ocean most houses are of pre-World War II vintage linked by a ramshackeled system of boardwalks. "East" Lonelyville lies on land opened up by developers over the past 30 years with newer houses built along bay-to-ocean sidewalks. For several years the two halves existed with a certain amount of tension between them; only in 1982 was a connecting boardwalk erected joining their hitherto separate walkways. Both sides seem now to be living comfortably as one, sharing the broad beach and relaxed lifestyle that have always characterized the community and made it a mecca for celebrities and non-celebrities alike. Ferry service is in Dunewood or, off-season, Fair Harbor; shopping and other services at Fair Harbor, a ten-minute walk.

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Atlantique Adjacent to the Town Beach, Atlantique consists of about 40 homes and 1,000 feet of beachfront.

This sleepy hamlet, connected from east to west by a sand stretch of the Burma Road, is totally free of commercial influences. Supplies must be brought either from Fair Harbor or Ocean Beach. What the community lacks in amenities, however, it makes up for with its wonderful sense of isolation.

Residents have use of a small dock for their own boats and limited direct ferries. Otherwise, residents must use the Dunewood or Ocean Beach ferries.

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Robbins Rest

Built as they are on the narrowest part of the Island, the houses in Robbins Rest may have the best view of any. From the deck of many of them it is possible to watch the sun set over the bay on one side or gaze out at the darkening sea from the attraction, however.

Comprised of about 40 homes, Robbins Rest lies in a wild swirl of sand, scrub and beach grass. No beach here and it's windblown visage adds to its sense of isolation. Yet Robbins Rest is only ten minutes walk down the sandy Burma road from Ocean Beach. It is to Ocean Beach that residents must go for the ferry, groceries or nightlife.

Its relative isolation makes the beach at Robbins Rest one of the most pleasant.

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Corneille Estates

To all intents and purposes, Corneille Estates is a suburb of Ocean Beach. It is difficult to perceive where one begins and the other ceases. Officially, Corneille Estates is a narrow band of land to the west of Ocean Beach, consisting of several modern houses and the Island's only school.

The Woodhull Elementary School serves the children of the Island's few year-round residents. These students commute to school in a special school bus that drives up and down the beach between the communities. Summer residents can use the school's library.

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Seaview

If Ocean Beach is the New York City of Fire Island then Seaview, immediately adjacent to the east, is its Westchester County. The only boundary between the two is, literally, the crack in the sidewalk that joins the two communities; but as is the case with every island community, Seaview has its own distinctive look and feel which sets it apart from its neighbors as one of the most beautiful and desirable parts of the island.

Under the guidance of the Seaview Association, the community board, formed in 1960, Seaview remains virtually free of commercial intrusions. A liquor store, a small gourmet food store and an ice cream stand, next to the ferry dock, constitute the full extent of non-residential property. The Association, to which most of the town's 350 or so homeowners belong, also maintains a private, 80-slip marina, provides lifeguard service, a children's program, a resident doctor and year-round community manager, as well as six excellent tennis and basketball courts, and a small park. Although groups have made some headway in renting in recent years, the tone of the community is definitely set by the idea of family, and the lack of attractions has served to virtually eliminate the problem of daytrippers. Seaview is home to Fire Island's only Synagogue.

Seaview is, physically, one of the largest communities on the island. Its new larger houses are magnificent and makes a congenial mix of traditional and new architectural styles. There are 6 or 7 swimming pools. Like many island villages, Seaview's growth began in the west and spread east, so that the older homes, dating from the 20's, 30's, and 40's, dominate as one enters from Ocean Beach; newer houses farther east are as graceful and tastefully appointed as their more traditional counterparts. The visual delights of the town are augmented by many areas of lush vegetation, including scores of tall trees; even in the more arid areas nearer the dunes, enough open space remains to imbue these parts of the town with a pleasing countenance. These factors, plus its somewhat unconventional pattern of walks, make Seaview one of the most pleasant communities to stroll through on all Fire Island.

The present site of Seaview was originally home to a fish processing plant. Houses for the plant's workmen were put up as early as 1895, but Gilbert Smith, whose family owned the plan and ran trawlers across the bay, gradually shifted to selling land to vacationers. The processing plant was eventually closed and full-scale development of the modern community underway by the mid-20s. Seaview survived the '38 hurricane mostly intact--its real force was felt farther west--and new growth spurred by the postwar boom built the town up to its present size in the 60s. The well-to-do professionals who have made Seaview one of the choicest (and most expensive) communities on the island have taken care to preserve its character and appearance even as it grew dramatically. A move to make Seaview an incorporated village in the 60s failed, primarily because it lies within the jurisdiction of both Islip (to the west) and Brookhaven (to the east). A year round manager and the Seaview Association administer the community. Ferry from Bay shore.

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Ocean Bay Park

The story goes that back in the 1920's a real estate firm bought up the 3,000 foot strip of land between Seaview and Point O' Woods with the innocent intention of developing it as another restricted family community of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans. They named it, in a burst of creativity, Ocean Bay Park (O.B.P.), built 40 houses in the architectural style known as Early Warren G. Harding, and - anticipating the road-builders of the succeeding generation-laid down a concrete promenade atop the dunes that ran from one end of town to the other.

That was as far as they got. Depression came, then war and next postwar uncertainty. The promenade crumbled, O.B.P. languished.

The Flynn family bought the coast guard station after World War II and turned it into a 20-room hotel. Later the Flynns bought three other stations on the island and barged two of them seven miles from the Lighthouse and the other from 25 miles east of the present site. One of the barges forms the casino's boat dock, where visitors to O.B.P. may dock their boats. The stations were combined to make 60 hotel rooms. (The restaurant seats 250, with 80 at the bar--the ending-up place for Saturday night party goers.)

In 1950, finally, things turned for the better. The lively doings at Flynn's accentuated O.B.P.'s jazzier tempo; and a building boom, which enlarged the number of houses to 250, completed O.B.P.'s new look with the most far-out collection of houses since Bear Run.

Ocean Bay Park is still predominantly a family place whose citizens are concerned with its well being. The property owners have set up a bay recreation area for children (no lifeguards, however); have planted over a thousand seedling pines along Midway and Bay Walk to add to the shrubbery, and have consistently tried to protect the dunes by building a snow fence and planting of grass and Yucca.

The Property Owners Association runs several annual affairs, such as a boat ride on a floating nightclub, an annual art show, gourmet block party and an occasional White Elephant Sale.

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Point O' Woods

Point O'Woods is the oldest continually established summer community on Fire Island and the most beautiful. The area was the site of a venture launched by the Chautauqua Assembly in 1894 to acquire land for its activities. The Assembly, and arm of the Chautaugua Society, set up religious camps as summer retreats around the country, offering lectures, discussions of cultural and political topics, lectures and seminars in such various subjects as languages, cooking, and photography, and physical and spiritual development. The assembly in Point O' Woods, as it was then called, did well for a time, but by 1898 the movement was faltering and the Fire Island property in debt. Charles W. Hand and William Griffin, who had built homes in the area during its heyday, now assumed the society's debts and took over the property. In 1898 they formed the Point O' Woods Association which paid off the debt, began issuing shares in the property and took over the management of the settlement. Thus were the foundations of the present-day community brought into being.

Early on it was determined what sort of community P.O.W. was to be, and those standards have been rigorously maintained for nearly 90 years. Foremost among its guiding principles is the importance of family life: other communities may be regarded as "family-oriented," but in Point O'Woods that's not a custom, it's a rule--no one without children may become a resident. Prospective buyers must be recommended by two existing members, undergo interviews by the real estate committee and be introduced as guests into the community; only after renting for a year does one become eligible to buy a house. This careful screening, plus the emphasis on children, help explain why there are so many third, fourth, even fifth generation families in residence today.

Strictly speaking, no one actually buys land in P.O.W.

Newcomers are sold 99 year leases though they do buy their homes. In the 1920s the Association decreed the optimum number of houses to be 128, and that number has remained fairly constant. Storms in the early 60s and a disastrous fire in 1983 depleted the housing stock somewhat; the earlier losses were made up by the construction of several modern houses which blend in surprisingly well with the huge, shingled, two and three story "cottages" which are the norm.

Not surprisingly in a community where children come first, heavy emphasis is placed on recreation. The youth program teaches competitive sports, and the P.O.W. Yacht Club fields one of the best sailing forces on the bay. Swimming lessons are automatic, lifeguard protection a matter of course. The community center hosts dances and other activities for teenagers. Church attendance at interdenominational Protestant services Sunday mornings is a key part of town life.

P.O.W.'s tiny commercial center includes a grocery, candy shop and post office, all for residents only; there is no liquor store. The island's only railroad runs from the ferry dock to the Club at the ocean, the community's only hostelry and (private) restaurant. Despite the fence running along the western border, which is strongly objected to by everyone, Point O'Woods is accessible from the ocean and visitors are welcome to walk through the community, provided they respect private property. Such a tour is well worth it; unlike most communities, P.O.W. is not laid out on grid, and the streets, running at odd angles or gentle curves, take you past areas of lush undergrowth and towering trees, with impressive, old fashioned and immense beach houses nearly hidden from view. Most Point O'Woods still very much embodies the look and feel of an 1890s shore resort.

And this of course, is what its residents want it to be, to keep intact its own way of life. Stability and continuity is what the very structure of Point O'Woods is designed to insure. The P.O.W. Association owns everything in town: the land, the buildings, the dock, the ferry, the stores and utilities.

Private ferry and parking, for residents and their guests only, from the right side of Maple Ave., Bay Shore.

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Water Island

Water Island--despite its name, very much a part of Fire Island--has undergone perhaps the most interesting metamorphosis of any community on the beach. Today it is known as a very quiet, very private community of some 40 houses situated on the narrowest part of Fire Island with a breathtakingly broad and open stretch of beach. Sixty years ago, however, it was something very different--site of a famous hotel, boasting slob machine sand other forms of gambling, chief center for rumrunners importing illegal liquor into Prohibition-weary America.

This reversal of the expected pattern of development is not as unusual as it may at first seem, considering the history of the area. Long before the development of private housing was thought practical, some entrepreneurs believed in the future of the island for resort hotels. Water Island was the site of a hotel more than a century ago but the community really began with the opening of the White House hotel in 1890. Water Island became a large and popular resort attracting no less a personage than Theodore Roosevelt as a frequent guest. The community sprang up around the hotel but its closing during World War I was nearly the death knell for the town; then the extralegal possibilities of Prohibition revived the hamlet spectacularly. Booze and gambling kept Water Island prosperous until the Depression ended the party once and for all. By the late 30s the community was again almost deserted, the White House long torn down.

Present-day Water Island began emerging in the 50s as a stable, peaceful retreat for homeowners seeking to get away from it all. Located a mile east of Barrett Beach and 1 1/2 miles west of Davis Park, Water Island offers plenty of solitude and relaxation for its residents. There are no commercial facilities at all, and no ferry--Water Islanders feel it is quite enough of a concession to maintain a single public telephone at the bay. Many resisted the introduction of electricity into the community in the 1970s seeing one more barrier to too much civilization threatened.

The Water Island Association maintains the community's dock and guards homeowners' interests. Shopping at Davis Park or F.I. Pines, via your own boat; the nearest ferry services are really too far to be practical.

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Davis Park/Ocean Ridge

Davis Park-Ocean Ridge is a bit of an anomaly among Fire Island's communities. It is really three entities in one: Davis Park proper in the west; Leja Beach, the Brookhaven Town Beach center; and Ocean Ridge to the east. Davis Park is the generic term for the lot, a fact many in Ocean Ridge take some exception to despite its historical accuracy. Not separate communities, yet not fully integrated with one other, D.P.-O.R. nonetheless cheerfully abides with its slightly schizophrenic self-image.

Davis Park is the last outpost among the island's communities. This, plus its distance from its sister town (Water Island, its nearest such neighbor, lies a mile and a half down a broad and unused beach), makes Davis Park something of an island unto itself and residents have been quick to make most of their situation. Far from disconcerting them, Davis Park's relative isolation is viewed as a boon by its people. The community has few amenities but is entirely self supporting, commercially and socially. It was a mark of pride for most denizens that their town resisted such trappings of civilization as electricity until the last few years; even today some households do without it, and other attendant domestic conveniences. Young in comparison with other villages, Davis Park embodies still a sense of freedom and escape to an extent not fund elsewhere on Fire Island.

Despite its remoteness, "tranquil" is not a word one would associate with Davis Park. Perhaps, because of its isolation, the party circuit has become all important in the community's social like. It was here that the "sixish" made its debut--basically a bring-your-own-bottle get-together held at a different house every weekend, attended by practically everybody. Otherwise, the focal point of D.P. night life is the Leja Beach Casino: the "Caz", smack in the middle of town, atop a dune commanding a view of the bay, the ocean and the entire community.

Although a few tarpaper shacks were put up on the site as early as 20s, Davis Park is really a postwar phenomenon. Named for the Davis brothers of Patchogue who brought over the first houses and donated the Leja Beach strip to Brookhaven as a public beach, the community began to develop in 1948 after ferry service had begun to the public area. The town rapidly became a haven for singles, who to this day have given the place its particular style and ambience. During the 50s and 60s Davis Park proper filled with modern homes and chic vacationers out to take advantage of Fire Island's incomparable natural assets. Over the years a post office and food store were added; the Casino maintains a restaurant, bar and snack bar.

Ocean Ridge began springing up about 1960 as the spillover from the western area indicated the need for more space. Houses here are equally as fascinating architecturally as in its older counterpart, but the impetus for settlement came from groupers and other singles who became interested in ownership and a more stable community. Davis Park-Ocean Ridge's reputation as a singles' paradise is today overdrawn; the present ratio between groupers and families is about even, and, as many of the latter originally arrived in the guise of the former, the two sides mix easily.

The three sections of the community are quite distinguishable from one another. Davis Park proper has thicker growth and more trees and shrubbery (a wall of pines has been planted along its line with Leja Beach); Ocean Ridge, flatter, sandier, stretches away along a central boardwalk all open to view. Leja beach is the commercial district: the stores, Casino, and small boatel all abut its solitary bay-to-ocean walk. The marina has been enlarged over the years and can now accommodate 200 boats; it is presided over by a conning tower manned by Brookhaven Town code inspectors and is open to Brookhaven residents only. Lifeguards and Suffolk police help maintain health and harmony.

The Davis Park Association represents the interests of homeowners and residents and sponsors a variety of social and civic events, including an art show and Fourth of July costume parade. The Catholic Church serves both as spiritual and community center, and the medical and fire associations draw support for their causes as well. Overall, there are over 550 homes in Davis Park-Ocean Ridge (housing as well a few refugees from Bayberry Dunes, an ultra chic settlement east of Ocean Ridge which thrived for a few brief years before the National Seashore appropriated its land and houses in 1979), with a diverse mix of people out to enjoy as free and uninhibited an existence as possible. Davis Park ferry from Brightwood St. Patchogue.

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Watch Hill

Watch Hill has the Fire Island National Seashore's largest complex including three miles of boardwalks. One, about a third of a mile long to the west, brings you to Davis Park. Watch Hill includes seven miles of unspoiled beach in the Fire Island National Wilderness Area. Ferries from Patchogue leave regularly May-Oct.; Tel. 516-475-1665. Visitors center tel. 516-597-6455. Rest rooms, changing rooms, cold showers, picnic areas, camping, nature programs, visitors center, marina concessions, restaurant, and lifeguard on duty.

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