Fire Island Pines: Rose’s View

By Robert Levine

A ceremony was held at the Pines Harbor on Saturday, June 10 to dedicate the landing area where the ferries arrive. It is now officially known as Brockman Harbor Plaza, in memory of former Fire Island Pines Property Association (FIPPOA) President, Alan Brockman, who passed in 2014. FIPPOA President Jay Pagano spoke and introduced Fire Island Association Board Member Hugh O’Brien. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine also spoke and cut the ribbon with Jay. Gay Men’s Chorus member James Gedge then sang a moving rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At least 200 people were in attendance. PJ McAteer then hosted a luncheon at Sip N Twirl after the ceremony.

A tragedy in the Pines happened early Friday morning, which made headlines among the regional news outlets. At 1 a.m. a fire at Cedar and Pine Walks burned four houses down. Eleven members of the Pines, including some firefighters and others, helped with handling hoses and trying to contain the blaze before help arrived from neighboring Fire Island communities, as well as those who crossed from the mainland. Mario Preola was among the few firefighters at the scene reported as injured. He will be fine, but it will take a few weeks.

Tony La Rocco and Bill Moore are back in the Pines after spending two weeks in North Carolina. They love to travel, but love to come back home.

David Baker, who died in 1987, lived in the Pines for many years. He was a Broadway composer who wrote the music for Broadway shows “Copper and Brass” with Nancy Walker and “Come Summer” starring Ray Bolger. He is also credited with composing the incidental music for “Cabaret.” He wrote many songs with Sheldon Harnick. He and Sylvan Cole were the founders of Fire Island Pines Arts Project (FIPAP) in 1981. The first production for FIPAP was “Pines Needles” for which David wrote the music and lyrics. The revue starred Leonard Frey, off-Broadway and film star of “Boys in the Band,” as well as an Academy Award nominee for “Fiddler on the Roof.” The production also cast Sherry Mandel and yours truly, Bob Levine.

I was at the Lincoln Center Library last week and was thrilled to see a dedication to many Broadway composers including David Baker. He worked with me for seven wonderful productive years producing and writing original music and lyrics for many shows that we performed in the Grove and the Pines. We had a great working relationship.

Barbara Sahlman had her daughter Elizabeth Karaszewski as her guest. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her talented husband Larry, who has won Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and much more through the years for writing great movies like “Big Eyes,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Ed Wood” among others.

Jim Johnson and Jim Cashel are on an eight-week vacation touring Europe and cruising on the “Queen Mary 2.”

Michael De Falco and Bill Mathews who live at “Wits End” continue the list of house guests for the season. Last week they had Henry Grullon and Jonathan Schlesinger from Jersey City, Tom Horan and Keith Dorsch from Princeton, New Jersey, and Hervé Senequier and his husband Nicolas St. Grégoire from NYC. Hervé celebrated his birthday by cooking an authentic French dinner. Lila Swell and her house guest Michelle Cohen were among the dinner guests.

Happy Birthday Ward Auerbach! He, Hervé Senequier and Michael Fitzgerald all have a June 22 birth dates!

Ricardo Mulero an artist of oil paintings is having a show at 250 Bay Walk on July 8, from 2-6 p.m. He and his friend Colby Wong attended the recent Artist Tour in Cherry Grove.

Watching the Tony Awards and seeing Bette Midler win for Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly!” brought back wonderful memories from when Jerry lived in the Pines. Many of his Broadway Dolly stars were his guests in the Pines. Rumor has it that he wrote “Hello, Dolly!” in the Pines in the summer of 1962 when he bought his first house, after his first big Broadway hit “Milk and Honey.” In 1972 Bette Midler visited the Pines and stayed with her producer, Stuart Ostrow, when Bette appeared at the Continental Baths in NYC. Bette and Stuart came to the Grove and attended a performance of my show “Rose, a Special Entertainment” at the Ice Palace. I was introduced to them after the show.

At the same performance were my friends Ruth and David Manchester, who lived in Ocean Beach at the time. They are the proud parents of the talented Melissa Manchester. A few years later Melissa became one of the Staggering Harlettes, backup singers with Bette when they did concerts around the U.S. They proved to be major superstars of the music world winning all kinds of awards in all categories. Yes, I’ve been there with all of them and “I’m Still Here.”

• The “Blues” is back in the Pines at the Blue Whale, featuring John Putnam and his trio. After a successful 2016 season, they will be back again for you to enjoy during brunch every Sunday, from 12:15-3:15 p.m.

• On Saturday, July 1, at 8:30 p.m., Rose Levine will be performing in “The Best Of Times Is Now!” Musical Director is Jason Wetzel. Tickets at www.artsprojectcg.org or at the Theatre box office on Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Gods Love We Deliver will have its Fire Island Fundraiser in the Pines on July 8, from 4-6 p.m., at 396 Ocean Walk.

• Yoga at Whyte Hall with Jason Vinci begins again every Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m.-noon.

Ribbon cutting at Brockman Plaza with Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and FIPPOA President Jay Pagano. (Courtesy FIPPOA)

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