The Latest on the Fire Island Pines Makeover

Paul and I opened up the house today in the Pines. Other than a couple of large tree branches which came down during some serious winter storms, the place was in pretty good shape. We’ve spent the day doing a lot of clean up projects, but the fact that I’m blogging again after a two month hiatus is testament to the fact that it’s pretty relaxing out here.

It’s also a bit of a dump out here at the moment, mostly because lots o’ change is in the air after a power trio plunked down $17 million to buy the majority of the commercial district. Make no mistake that Paul and I could just as easily have done that. That is, if we were powerful, and if we had $17 million.

Anyway, on the way back from the Pantry, where we bought a fabulous white trash lunch of Sloppy Joe ingredients (hey- at least it involved my getting out a skillet to brown the ground beef), we ran into a friend who is on the FIPPOA Board of Directors. There had just been a meeting, and the guy was like a walking, talking press release; we got lots of good scoop. In a nutshell:

  • The coffee shop has been gutted and expanded into the adjoining retail space (previously a real estate office). It will become a restaurant/bar with access to the pool in the back. Tables will be both inside and in the back near the pool. Name: Canteen. The idea is that it will become the low tea space, replacing the Blue Whale for that. [Update: that last sentence may not be correct; see comments section] Target open: mid May (seems do-able based on the progress we saw)
  • The Blue Whale is being gutted and will be operated solely as a restaurant, drawing on the menu/format of the Hampton’s Almond Restaurant. Target open: late May (I doubt it, though, based on the pics below. It’s a wreck, and there was only one person there today slugglishly moving some lumber around)
  • The previously dysfunctional high tea space has been opened up into one big room (buh bye and RIP “Glo Lounge”), and supposedly will be opened up even further to have a balcony+stairs going down to the Pavillion space. Target open date: not sure.
  • “Fresh Market” will have a new format as a 5 department store. It’s like a Shrinky Dink version of Bloomingdales! It was raining on the boardwalk at this point, so I had little interest in hearing the whole plan, but here’s what I remember: 1) housewares, 2) pets, 3) ready to eat meals, 4) flowers, 5) can’t remember. (There was also some mention about being able to order bulk materials- the 40 roll of Charmin or the 12 pack of 96 load Tide, for example. I can’t remember whether that was department 5 or in addition to everything else. I was soaked at this point, remember?)
  • The current liquor store will be moving to where the old hardware store was (North side of the Pantry) at the end of the season. Unclear what will happen to the current liquor store space after that move.
  • The gym will be put behind the Botel (sorry, Hotel Ciel).
  • The Botel will still be…The Botel.
  • Index (the retail store in The Botel adjacent to Blue Whale) will still be a store, but with some sort of fancy brand or owner that I was too wet (or indifferent) to remember.
  • I’m sure there was more, but Paul and I are soaked at this point, and poor little Nanu is starting to shiver. Plus, our Sloppy Joe ingredients are getting water logged. So that’s all I have for now.
  • Some pics below chronicle the big changes. Doesn’t this look like an incredible paradise?

Update: I just received a press release from Steel Gym in the city saying that they will be co-operating the gym in the Pines.

Outside of the old Blue Whale (to be redone in "Almond" format)

Inside of the old Blue Whale. "Book me a table for 9!"

What the storms did to our trees. We spent the day cutting these branches into itty, bitty pieces that fit into garbage bags. Meh.

The new owners tore down that stupid wall separating the two areas of the top of high tea.

Everything is currently a Big ol' Mess. Hopefully it will turn out great.

The High Tea furniture stacked together in a really sad way, including a lonely disco ball. This is random: some of the couches are IKEA SLEEPER beds. Bizarre.

I wondered if the lonely disco ball might make a good earring. But alas, it was kinda heavy. Plus, DOH! My ears aren't actually pierced.

Watch out for your headphones, DJ Lina: Paul and Nanu are ready to have a spin-off (as soon as there is power again in this joint)

"Save me that primo seat!" The pool before its transformation into part bar/restaurant blending into the new harbor space.

10 responses to “The Latest on the Fire Island Pines Makeover

  1. Hello my loves. So explain to me the pictures. Is this a new investment of yours? Or did you just stumble on it while you were taking a walk? Love to all – Rita

    P.S. Sloppy Joe’s is a regular at our house. And I’m much to glamourous to be considered white trash. xoxo

  2. Howdy Rita,

    With you on the Sloppy Joe’s…it’s heaven in a skillet (and on a soggy white bread hamburg bun).

    Most of the pics are in the commercial district of Fire Island Pines. It was recently purchased by a new investment group. We just documented some of the work being done, but for better or worse, we are not direct investors.

  3. Thanks for the up to date info. And the pics. Hope nanu has recovered

  4. So much for the beloved “fudgie the whale” terrazzo floor at the blue whale. Does this mean no more “low tea”?

  5. My original understanding was that Low Tea will be in the new restaurant/bar that was the old coffee shop, and it will extend back into the pool area as well. Although later I read something indicating it might still be at the Blue Whale. So not completely sure…

  6. We’re looking forward to visiting in June and seeing all the changes! It was nice to see Nanu (and Paul) in the pictures.

  7. Not counting on the renovations timing.
    I’ll make my reservations at Cardillo’Ford’s home
    on June 12th. Kelly Ford eating sloppy joes-NEVER!

  8. Kelly,

    Love this stuff! Not sure if you had seen this article a while back from Philly (no, it is not a Philly Steak Melt recipe to go with the Sloppy Joe’s.) It thoroughly details the harbor lipstick makeover. Like I say, “a change off color is a good thing.” I am still unclear on the whole Low Tea location, but what we heard was it is the reno is all about “flow” – traffic and revenue. Low Tea will spill out around the pool area and another bar will be set up for blender drinks thereby easing up the long lines at the traditional bars (it used to be that way before you were born :-). Canteen, with its indoor seating for sixty and outdoor seating for 36 will spill out bay and pool side. These flow changes with easy access from the Pavilion to High Tea and the Pool will all make for liquor pit stops. What I loved in the article was that 9000 sq. ft of deck/pool area was only used for the gym and the Botel’s laundry…ugh. Glad the reno isn’t going on in Arizona – or it wouldn’t be happening!

    Cheers, Russell

    http://www.edgephiladelphia.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=&sc3=&id=104277

  9. Russell: Thx for the comments and the additional info. “Liquor pit stops”… I think you have coined the phrase of the season! 🙂

  10. Just visited the Island for my first time with a few friends. While they reminisced and gave me a wonderful tour of the Island. I can see why a person would need over night accommodations as this Island comes to life once the sun sets. We visited the Canteen restaurant and we found it rather nice, though somewhat pricey for me, then again considering the cost of a rental it was down right affordable verging on cheap. LoL Over all my trip to Fire Island Pines was quite memorable. 🙂

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