Six Months After Disaster, A Legendary Dance Hall Rises From The Ashes

June 01, 2012
Architectural Digest — By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

“Last November, a devastating fire ripped through the wooden walls of the Pavilion, the heart of the Fire Island Pines social scene. The New York Times memorialized it with not one but two glowing pieces, solidifying the Pavilion’s place among the great dance parties of recent New York history. The Fire Island community, for their part, described the Pavilion alternatingly as, “our church,” “a gay utopia,” and simply “an enormous dance party.” Most of all, the Pavilion was a kind of community hub, where celebrities, locals, and awestruck visitors rubbed shoulders at its legendary high tea dances.


Which is why it seemed essential that it be rebuilt.


A coalition of Fire Island businessmen, led by news anchor Andrew Kirtzman, Seth Weissman and FIP Ventures, began planning the Pavilion’s return almost immediately. “I was here 10 days ago and everything looked perfect,” a shocked Kirtzman told the Time after the fire. “The Pines needs a beautiful night club.” Kirtzman and his partners contacted Charles Renfro, of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, to begin the masterplanning of the sprawling harborfront commercial site. As for the architecture, the coalition hired young New York office HWKN.”