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On and Off The Deck
By Jon Wilner

Once again, only in the Pines! Saturday, July 22 will remain a day that I will remember. It started at 11 a.m., when I knew that it was not going to be a work day for me because I had laryngitis. So I decided to partake in all the parties and all the benefits, and how convenient, having laryngitis, it was impossible for me to get into any trouble because I had to keep my mouth shut. Anyone who knows me well, knows what a hardship that is, for people have waited 35 years for me to be unable to speak..

The first benefit was a FIPAP adventure starring Laurence Isaacson, the chef du jour for the second installment of the Pines cooking class. He prepared a boeuf bourgignon, a salad of frisee with bacon, walnuts and blue cheese and oranges soaked in grande marnier, a meal you can enjoy to its fullest this Fall at his restaurant, the Paris Commune in the West Village. I had a great time with Laura Hartstein, Glen Wielgus, Laurence’s friend Joseph and Ed Lewis. Then I was off and running to Perry Wolfman’s bayfront mansion to meet Senators Chuck Schumer (after Saturday, he’s Chuck instead of Charles to all of us) and Barbara Boxer. Tony Roncalli and Eric Von Kuersteiner hosted this incredible afternoon luncheon where over 75 Pines residents raised over $110,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign. The luncheon, by the way, was magnificently and unbelievably prepared and served by Rebecca of 242 Bay Walk. Thank you Rebecca! I must tell you that I will remember this event for the rest of my life. As I stood next to Brandon Fradd, a mover and shaker in the Democratic party, I realized that finally our voices and dollars were appreciated and valued. Both Senators pledged to help us with our seashore replenishment, and not just for the five year projects that have been so successful and spearheaded by Tony Roncalli, but for a permanent solution to our beach and our future. And when Perry asked the Senators their views on Gay Marriage, both Senators gave us the answers we were hoping for. Both Senators and Congressman Tim Bishop, also in attendance, gave us their promises, their pledges and their support for us; we mattered to them, we are gay, we live in the Pines and we are able to raise $110,000 in a mere two weeks. Who was there? Everyone you’d expect, FIPPOA Prez Alan Brockman, Elisa and Richard Rosen, Board member and Pines Care Center President Ed Schulhafer with longtime partner Crayton Robey, the man who produced and directed “When Sky Meets Ocean,” Board members Robert Cory, Ron McKenna, Gary Clinton, Hal Rubenstein and partner David Nickle, Jack Lichtenstein and of course Rita by his side, Eric Sawyer and Roy Yaeger and partner Sumner Freeman. Both the Lewis-Wielgus’ and Mike and Laura Hartstein were also there following the FIPAP event. Also in attendance were John Stimmel and Bruce Camay, David Goodhand and Joshua Dunkelman, Andy Tobias, Evan Lobell, Ralph Gilmartin and Bill Herbst, fellow brokers Bob Howard and Doreen Katen, Alexander Baer, Former FIPPOA board members Eddie Schwartz with his partner Russell Vance and Morty Newburgh with his partner Michael Crisafulli, Joe McMillan and Michael Badger, Irene and Henry Muller, Ken Zarrilli and Josh McKinney, Billy Kolber-Stuart, Ken Ranftle and Craig Leiby, Albert LePage, Wayne Adler and William Meyer, Joe Little and Eric Winick, Tom Rabig, Tad Paul and Peter Hoontis, Bob Pontarelli and Richard Amiraian, and John Shea.

Politics in the Pines

Congressman Tim Bishop will be returning to the Pines in August for a fund raiser at the oceanfront home of Elisa and Richard Rosen. Brandon Fradd was very excited when he gave me the news that former Presidential candidate (not FIPPOA, but for the USA) Howard Dean was returning for his fifth visit to the Pines the weekend of August 27th. Let’s join Dean, the first ever and only Presidential candidate to ever visit the Pines in history, at Brandon’s for lunch that weekend benefiting the Democratic National Committee. Lula promises to outdo Rebecca!

Directly from Perry’s, I walked over to the former John Whyte oceanfront home for the annual LAMBDA event. Hosts David Goodhand and Joshua Dunkelman greeted one and all in their fabulously newly renovated home, that would have made John Whyte kvell, (that’s Jewish for being very proud). I visited—silently of course, because of the laryngitis—with Peter Cinelli and Michael LiPuma, Frank Stark, Gilbert Parker and old friends and visitors Pat and Peter Galloway, Rick Hill, the producer of the LAMBDA event, and his partner Stephen Naas, Jack and Rita Lichtenstein (Jack is the Pines founder of the LAMBDA event; he never got to tell his anecdote that he and Rita are in favor of gay marriage, for after 57 years, Jack said “misery loves company.” Only kidding, Rita and Jack are the best example of a long term gay relationship, right? Don’t argue on this one, just accept it.)

I was pooped at this point, but not one to retire for the afternoon. I took a stroll down Midway, the Presidential walk, where I joined Sumner Freeman and Roy Yaeger along with their houseguests and of course Prez Brockman, for a cool and refreshing sorbet by their gardens and pool. Finally, I returned to the harbor, congratulated Eric and Tony on a triumphant event for Senators Schumer and Boxer, and at the same time triumphant for every gay resident of the Pines, for in one short afternoon we received support for beach replenishment and gay unions.

All this political excitement in the Pines is just an overture for the FIPPOA elections coming up in September. It’s still a week too early to announce the candidates for officers and board members, but I can tell you that there will be a Candidates Day in the harbor on Saturday, August 5. This column will remain completely neutral and in the next few weeks will simply report who is running. For the first time in 24 years there will be a choice of two candidates for each officers’ position. With great appreciation we applaud the past 24 years under the guidance and leadership of President Alan Brockman, who is not running for reelection as President, but will remain a devoted and active member of the FIPPOA Board of Directors.

Our days and nights in the Pines are filled with parties and socializing, but the benefits remain the core or our community, and once again this past weekend proved that the Pines continues to devote our dollars and our energy to making a difference in the world. No other community in the world is as passionate and responsible as we are, and when we decide to roll up our sleeves and work for what we believe in, we succeed in whatever we set out to accomplish.

I know that I will definitely attend the next FIPAP cooking class the weekend of August 11, starring food critic, Pines resident and Pines Party 2006 co-chairman Hal Rubenstein at the home of Glen Wielgus and Ed Lewis.

Most importantly, this coming Saturday, July 29 is the Pines Party, all night long on the beach, benefiting the FIPPOA Charitable Foundation and Stonewall. The sponsors party will be held on Friday night on the dance floor. Thank you in advance, Jack Nolan and the Impression Group for all your hard work and mighty dedication as you are about to raise the curtain on your second Pines Party. Most of all thank you to Hal Rubenstein and Jay Pagano, our co-chairmen, with a special thank you to David Nickle and Mark Fortier, the men behind the men. Please join me in my Red Broadway Heroes and Villains Tent for a cocktail.