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Lambda Legal: Protecting LGBT rights for 45 Years

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By Thomas McGann Lambda Legal is a civil rights organization that specializes in lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LBGT) rights, as well as those living with AIDS/HIV. In 1971, Lambda Legal’s founder William J. Thom was sitting around a pool in the Fire Island Pines lamenting the frequent arrests of local gay men. Before being a liquor store owner, the … Full Story

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Von Steuben (1730-1794)

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Friedrich Wilhem von Steuben and the American Revolution By Lorna Luniewski This is a name that many may not be familiar with, myself included, but Baron von Steuben is credited with being one of the fathers of the Continental Army, teaching military drills, tactics and disciplines. He is still considered one of the most important German Americans, as his training … Full Story

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The William Floyd Estate

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Gunpowder and Gumption By Thomas McGann This year celebrates the 300th anniversary of the William Floyd Estate, one of the gems of the Fire Island National Seashore. The estate is the ancestral home of William Floyd (1634-1821), one of only 56 original signers of the Declaration of Independence. The estate is not contiguous with the rest of the FI National … Full Story

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History: Rumrunners of Fire Island

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By Thomas McGann It started with Prohibition. Thanks to the active political participation of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Anti-Saloon League, and the likes of Carry A. Nation, an uncorseted woman (“bad for the vital organs” she claimed) who went about town with her handy hatchet chopping up taverns preaching “Death to Rum!”, in January 1919, the Eighteenth … Full Story

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Fire Island on the Small Screen

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By Thomas McGann Fire Island has had its share of exposure on the big screen (movies), not often, but enough to be notable. However, it is not much seen on the small screen (television), until fairly recently. To touch on just a few movies, perhaps the most significant was “Last Summer,” a 1969 coming-of-age story about burgeoning adolescent sexuality. The … Full Story

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Fire Island’s Woodhull School Celebrates Its Centennial

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By Thomas McGann Happy birthday to the Fire Island School District! Fire Island’s only school, the Woodhull School, is a public school located on the southeast corner of Midway and Surf Road on the border of Ocean Beach/ Corneille Estates on Fire Island. It is named after Richard Woodhull who served first as a teacher and then as principal from … Full Story

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Fire Island

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By Thomas McGann Fifty years ago, on Sept. 2, 1967, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the guest of honor at a fundraiser in Seaview, Fire Island. Despite the fact that the summer of ‘67 was called “the Summer of Love,” the country was in the midst of political and cultural turmoil. While Scott Mackenzie was … Full Story

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History: Life on Fire Island

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Then and Now By Thomas McGann Introduction: With our eye on FIN’s 60 Anniversary, we sent History columnist Tom McGann a well-worn vintage copy of Fire Island News to get his perspective on what has changed and what remains the same on our beloved Fire Island. His insights might surprise you. We thank Ocean Beach Historical Society for their assistance with this project. The June 17, … Full Story

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The LIRR and Fire Island

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By Thomas McGann Besides the obvious — beaches, beauty, and solitude — a major reason Fire Island is so popular is its proximity to New York City and its environs, drawing on a population of 12 million people within a 50-mile radius. Its draw is also the ease of access for those who choose Fire Island for their getaway, the … Full Story