Forward Thinking

Fire Island: Like Israel for Gays

By Michael Kaminer

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“The Pines is to gay people what Israel is to Jews. It’s the spiritual homeland.”

That’s how journalist-turned developer Andrew Kirtzman described The Pines, a largely gay male enclave on idyllic Fire Island, the 31-mile-long strip of land just south of Long Island, about a 1-1/2-hour drive east of New York City.

“There’s just a sense of history in the air, almost tangible but not quite,” Kirtzman told The New York Times this week as Fire Island continues recovering from Hurricane Sandy. “You just feel like you’re part of some kind of grand creation meant solely for gays.”

How do Fire Island and Israel stack up? With Kirtzman’s claim in mind, The Forward investigated.

FIRE ISLAND
Population: 491
Size: 31 square miles
Anthem: Fire Island, (Village People, 1977)
Daily ritual: High Tea at the Pavilion
Boldface names: Calvin Klein, David Geffen
Getting there: Ferry $8.25
Real estate: 2 BR bungalow $595K
Slogan: The Gayest Island in the World
Michael Lucas porn film: “Fire Island Cruising”

ISRAEL
Population: 7.76 million
Size:8,019 square miles
Anthem: Hatikvah (Traditional, 1886)
Daily ritual: Prayer at the Kotel
Boldface names: Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin
Getting there: Overnight flight, from about $1,600
Real estate: 1BR seaside apartment, Tel Aviv, 2.75M shekels
Slogan: Beyond Belief
Michael Lucas porn film: “Men of Israel”


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