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The Long Island Blog

July 31, 2006

One Ocean View

Filed under: Fire Island,Rant by Bill @ 9:04 pm

One Ocean View, ABC’s latest reality TV show premiers tonight. Ugh…

What’s the big deal? Why do I, the one who doesn’t even watch TV, care?

One Ocean View, in case you don’t already know, was filmed this summer in Ocean Beach, Fire Island.

If you know Fire Island at all you know that hosting a reality TV show is the last thing Fire Island would wish upon itself.

If you don’t know Fire Island, let me explain…

Fire Island is Long Island’s best kept secret and most of us would like to keep it that way. Just a few miles across the Great South Bay, Fire Island offers 32 miles of pristine beaches, shops restaurants, summer cottages, small marinas, and a charming old lighthouse.

Local residents, summer renters, and regular visitors all love Fire Island for the tranquil, unpretentious escape it affords us.

Once Ocean View will bring undue attention to Fire Island. While that’s great for the business owners it’s not so good for the rest of us or the Island itself.

I’m not necessarily worried about crowds, but crowds that don’t care. Imagine hordes of people who know nothing about Fire Island coming over and treating it like the mall parking lot. That’s what I’m afraid of.

Once Ocean View will probably misrepresent Fire Island. Fire Island is already victim enough of misunderstanding. “It’s gay” is the most common myth and today’s Newsday article, Ocean View is same old by Verne Gay is case in point.

Writing for “Long Island’s hometown newspaper,” Verne carries on the myth by suggesting that since this is Fire Island there’s a chance of “guy getting guy” on the show.

There are two gay towns on Fire Island, Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines. Ocean Beach isn’t one of them and the chances of a gay relationship happening in Ocean Beach are the same as anywhere else, not higher because it’s on Fire Island.

But, gay romance is not the misconception I’m concerned about from One Ocean View. One Ocean View is about a bunch of very attractive, very successful twenty-somethings living it up on the beach.

The Fire Island lifestyle? It’s not like that and I don’t want people watching One Ocean View to think that’s what it’s all about. Sure, there are rich people on Fire Island, but they wear old jeans and torn up boat shoes just like the rest of us.

And that’s how I want it to stay. You want fancy, go to the Hamptons, but don’t try to turn Fire Island into the Hamptons. Just leave it alone.

And that’s what I think One Ocean View should have done in the first place—left us alone. Fire Island is a fragile place. And now, it’s not only the beaches that are subject to erosion, but the very essence of Fire Island itself.

Maybe One Ocean View will stink and all this unwanted publicity will just go away.

We’ll know in six weeks.

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