The TV house 1967.
Owners were Robert Miller an art director & Edwin Wittstein a set designer, most notably for the Fantasticks.
The original set designer, costumer, prop master, and lighting designer was Ed Wittstein , who performed all four jobs for a total of only $480 plus $24.48 a week. The set was similar to that for “Our Town.” Wittstein designed a raised stationary platform anchored by six poles. It resembled a traveling players’ wagon, like a pageant wagon. As for a curtain, he hung various small false curtains across the platform at various times during the play. He also made a sun/moon out of cardboard. One side was painted bright yellow (the sun) and the other was black with a crescent of white (the moon). The sun/moon was hung from a nail in one of the poles and is referred to in the libretto.
Both were successful. With the influx of money from the now successful “Fantasticks” they set about building their own dream home in the Pines. Seeking out friends Rudy and Trudy Franks architect Andrew Geller who in 1961 built their home on one of the highest dunes in the Pines that stood out, and foreshadowed the future of building in the Pines.
That was until a young handsome architect named Horace Gifford showed up to become romantically involved with Wittstein, thereby stealing Gellers thunder and project. After overextending himself he rented his own newly built home, and moving in with Wittstein and Miller in the home he just designed it became the “Three’s Company” of the Pines.
His second commission from Wittstein and Miller was a home to be built on the eastern end of the Pines on Porgie Walk. Completely different than the first in every aspect. A viewless lodge like space. Wittstein and Miller’s influence is more apparent here in décor and design.
The magic in the relationship had cooled as they were spreading their own design wings with their next project…
The iconic home at Ocean and Oak known as the TV house. Taking the reigns themselves they set out to design this new home on the ocean. Capitalizing on the ocean view, it became the centerpiece of the home. The widest portion of the home became the view as it brought it into the home. They used the home year round as many residents remember seeing their Christmas tree in the window as they drove by on the beach.
The house was named the TV House for it’s unique shape resembling a TV. It stood alone until more and more castles were built on the ocean. All moving away precious dunes to compete for the view…
In the 1970’s architect Scott Bromley rented the home with friends. The home then became a hub of creative as many from all creative fields would meet there.
Through several seasons the group got bigger as more and more found their way to the Pines and eventually the TV house…
Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis was part of the group.
Inside the TV House 2015:
Ahead of its time the home has a open floor plan.
Combining Kitchen, Living and Dining room. All with that spectacular view. Bedrooms are downstairs, and include an upstairs loft bed.
The home as rented by architect Scott Bromley was host to much fun and games.
Nudity was commonplace and accepted.
Renowned photographer Tom Bianchi would use this home for the backdrop of his book ” Fire Island Pines Polaroids 1975-1983.
It was here that the parties called “Sunrize” and “Beach” were conceived. Scott Bromley remembers:
It was 1977 and Robin Jacobsen and I had just designed Abitare an award winning furniture store on East 57 Street in February and Ron Doud and I had also just designed Studio 54 in April. We all managed to rent the TV House at the end of Oak Walk and Ocean that summer in the Pines. Another house mate was Colin Birch who was the design director for Bonwit Teller. The house drink was a margarita and after several rounds early one weekend in June we all decided to throw a party on the beach and host whoever showed up. Colin said he had 12-12 foot tall bamboo poles and 16-8 foot tall poles at the store and we decided that we could make some sort of pavilion interwoven with hundreds of yards of gauze and create a statement. The party had invitations with the TV Guide logo stating at midnight “Sunrise” would start. We borrowed 2×6 planks from a construction site and made a dancefloor and conned Larry Lavorgnia into giving us his 2 giant speakers which were perched on the dunes. The music was on tape made by David Bruey from the Tenth Floor. We served Tequila sunrises made with grapefruit juice as Anita Bryant, the orange queen, hated gays. We served the drinks from bowls with dry ice. Two thousand people came. As the sun rose and the tape was playing some Opera warhorse naked boys delivered 50 dozen chocolate chip cookies to the throng. Among the revelers were Jim Meade and John Mack members of the Pines volunteer Fire Department. The next day they came over to ask us if we would design a party for the Fire Department to raise money for a new pumper. Robin and I said sure! In 1979 they would create “Beach.”
The largest party Fire Island had ever seen.
Click here for “Beach.”