The award-winning Cherry Grove, Fire Island tells the story of the extraordinary gay and lesbian resort community near New York City. First published in 1993, this 2014 paperback edition includes a new preface by author Ester (Mother Camp) Newton.
After spending five summers in Cherry Grove, lesbian anthropologist Newton wrote a soundly researched cultural history of this unique homosexual summer retreat in N.Y. where, as a demographic majority, gays "achieved American ideals of independence and citizenship." Based on interviews with 46 former and current residents, the author chronicles the colony's development from an isolated few cabins to a thriving, commercial, publicized community with Mafia-run discos and occasional police raids. The island's theater, drag balls, athletic and campy events entertain residents and visiting celebrities alike. However, the gay liberation movement of the '70s and '80s temporarily caused friction among owners, landlords and businesses; the era was marked by an influx of lesbian couples and hordes of day-trippers, many of them black or Hispanic. Although many aspects of gay culture have changed since the '80s, the Grove remains a place where gays and lesbians still go "to be part of something unique." Newton shows us why.
Stonewall 50 at New-York Historical Society features two exhibitions, Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After, By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and a special installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride. On view May 24 through Sept 22, 2019.