By Robert Levine
Invasion 43 Over and Out
The balconies, ramps, windows, restaurants, and decks – the entire town was overflowing with people lined up a waiting for the arrival of Cherry Grove’s new Homecoming Queen Rose Levine.
Diane Romano drove me in a cart through town waving and smiling to all the fans. The Queen’s entourage of 16 met at the Community House so we could get ourselves organized in preparation for our big entrance in the Pines. Photographers were on hand to record the moment. For me it was an unbelievable experience.
We walked to the Ice Palace to join forces with some 300 additional Invaders. Then we walked down the ramp waving to the screaming crowds who were hanging over the rafters and the decks at local restaurants, where people had rented front row tables to enjoy the day’s festivities. Sitting atop the boat as we made our way to Pines Harbor on the hottest day of the year was pleasant and breezy but we had to hold on to our hats or our headdress!
Upon our return to the Grove, I took the helm of the boat for at least 15 minutes, which was a fantastic experience. If they ever need a captain in an emergency, I’m available. I want to thank the Fire Island News for the cover of the last issue, and the stunning photo spread and coverage.
On the cusp of the July Fourth holiday celebrations, we had a horrific tragedy in Cherry Grove. On Sunday, July 1, Pete and Linda D’Ancona, who have been residents of Cherry Grove for more than 50 years, lost their son Pete at the age of 54, and his 51-year-old girlfriend Tina Sgambati. They were sleeping on their boat docked in the Grove when carbon monoxide leaked from the motor. Linda is a partner of Sweet Licks in the Grove along with Frank from Cherry Grove Pizza. Linda’s husband, Pete, has been a building contractor in the Grove for many years. Their son, Pete, was a respected former New York City police officer, as well as a retired FDNY 9/11 Ground Zero firefighter. The entire community is still mourning their loss.
Michelle held a birthday celebration for her partner Karen. Michael, Jeffrey Mac Lean and I were the only men at the party among 12 lovely ladies that included Annie, Gerri, Keri, Nicky, Jamie, Donna, Danielle, Kathryn, Bob and Peggy Samson. Karen baked a strawberry short cake, which was delicious.
Diane Romano and Patricia Goff hosted a birthday party in New York City in honor of Diane’s mother, Kay, who turned 96. For many years the party was held in the Grove at Heaven ‘N Earth, but now it is held in the City, which is more convenient for Kay.
After being on a heart donor list for a quite some time, Lois Pisani, the wife of Joanne Tavis, was notified on Saturday after midnight that she should report to the hospital. They left immediately for New York City. She is doing very well. Lois, we are all looking forward to seeing you in the Grove very soon.
Visiting the Grove
From New Orleans was Rita George who arrived for the Invasion. She will return to attend Miss Fire Island for her 50th time later this summer. Her guest was former Grove resident, Bebe, who hasn’t been here for 20 years.
Two young ladies from Ocean Beach, Samantha Jones and Brenna Caico, came to Cherry Grove for the first time on their day off from bartending at The Landing. Touring the Grove’s sites, they stumbled upon “Roseland.” They told us all about The Landing’s famous special house drinks – the Daytripper and the Banana Rum Mudslide – both sound fabulous if we ever venture west.
Congratulations to our local resident Ernie Sqaglione, who recently bought the old “Monster” then “Tides” properties. Perhaps the day of rehabilitating this long vacant site is near.
Congratulations to Joan Van Ness and Lorraine Michels who are celebrating their 25th anniversary.
Ray De Forest (Doris Dear) and his partner Jim McGuinness are celebrating their 13th year together. They have rented a house in the Grove this season for the first time and are loving it.
Congratulations Daniel Nardicio for exposing Manhattan’s “Club Cumming” to the Grove for one very successful week at the Community House, featuring a variety of entertainers, artists and comedians including Broadway and TV Icon Alan Cumming. Actress and now governor candidate Cynthia Nixon also made an appearance, having a Q&A with the audience. Brini Maxwell and Josh Bennett introduced their knitting circle to our locals on Monday evening. Alison Brackman, Avery Ryan and I were trying to teach Jack Roullo, Michael McPherson, and John Adams how to knit. Fun!
Northwell Health, who services Ocean Beach and Cherry Grove, hosted a cocktail/buffet dinner party at Heaven ‘N Earth. Many Grove residents attended. This is their fifth year in Cherry Grove, and the community is better for it. Many representatives from the corporate office attended and spoke, including Eddie Fraser who lives in the Grove. Arthur Cohen spoke of his incident and thanked them for the attention and the urgent care he received. Doris Dear entertained, giving them all a taste and flavor of the Grove.
July 21: Mike Fisher’s documentary “Cherry Grove Stories” will be presented at Whyte Hall in the Pines, at 8:30 p.m.
July 20-22: The Cherry Grove Archives Collection Film Festival features many excellent films to view. See flyers in town.
July 28: The Arts Project will hold its 70’s Casino event at the Community House, from 8 p.m.- 1 a.m. Roulette, Blackjack, Wheels of Fortune. Donation: $10 at door.