Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society presents Souvenirs Fire Island 1970s: The Photography of Meryl Meisler, installed at the Ice Palace Resort, home of the Ice Palace Nightclub, a Fire Island staple since the 1950s and the location of several iconic images on display. Meryl Meisler grew up in the 1950s & the 60s on North Massapequa, Long Island. Souvenirs Fire Island 1970 will be the first exhibition dedicated to Meryl’s exhilarating Fire Island photos and her first solo show on Long Island.
While at Girl Scout Camp Edey in Bayport, LI, Meryl’s troop did a beach overnight. Girl Scouts whispered stories of Fire Island, where naked Faeries lived in little houses with cute names like ‘Shirley Temple’. Meryl looked far into the ocean, trying hard to get a glimpse of faeries, but didn’t see any.
While partying at Studio54, Meryl befriended a trans woman named Alexis, who introduced her to Rita, through whom she met Barnett, a Manhattan beautician with a summer home in Cherry Grove. Barnett invited Meryl to stay a weekend in his attic bedroom of ‘The Survivor’. Meryl quickly realized she had found the naked faeries. Barnett welcomed Meryl and her friend JudiJupiter to come anytime, and they did until he sold ‘The Survivor’ in 1979. Fortunately, Meryl also brought her camera and captured the sexy, free-spirited post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS summers on Cherry Grove and The Pines.
Upon retiring from a 31-year career as an NYC Public School Art Teacher, Meryl began revealing large bodies of unseen work. Fire Island Pines Historical Society curated the exhibit from her booksNew York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco (2021),Purgatory and Paradise SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The Cit y (2015), andA Tale of Two Cities Disco Era Bushwick (2014). Some images in the exhibit have never been published nor seen before.
Souvenirs Fire Island 1970’s : The Photography of Meryl Meisler
Curated by Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society
Ice Palace Resort
1 Ocean Walk, Cherry Grove, Fire Island NY 11782