The Pavilion Est.1980-2006
The Pavilion was built in 1980 on a site of much history. The site originally held a model home for new buyers in the community. After being purchased by Pines pioneer Arden Catlin it became her Real Estate office, Post Office, and Picketty Ruff café. In 1965 she leased it to Gene Smith and Ron Malcolm with partners who opened the Sandpiper restaurant/club. See Sandpiper history on this site. In 1979 lease negotiations fell through, making way for partners Charles de Rohan Chabot, Steve Goodfriend, Sam Haddad, Scott Facon, Harvey Einman, Jerry Acaro, and Larry Lavorgnia to open their new Pavilion.
Jerry Arcaro, one of the original owners of Pines Pavilion and his partner Harvey Einman(r) circa 1977.
Completely different than the Sandpiper it solved some of the sound issues by enclosing the club in its center with no windows to let sound escape, and having an outdoor restaurant upstairs overlooking the harbor.
The community at first despise it calling it the box that the then new ferry came in. Longing for the beach feeling of the former Sandpiper they did eventually embrace it, enjoying its dark moody interior complete with balconies overlooking the dance floor to view all. Up to that point many in the Pines would go to the Grove’s Ice Palace for all night dancing. This soon changed as the Pavilion became the place to dance. DJs like John Ceglia, Robbie Leslie, Michael Fierman, Warren Gluck, Susan Morabito, Buc created the soundtrack to the Pavilion experience. In 1987‐88 realtor Bob Howard leased the Pavilion. Gone was the restaurant, opening up the upper deck to what would become a new Pines ritual “High Tea.” In 1989 owner of the Blue Whale, and Botel John Whyte purchased the Pavilion adding it’s trademark chandeliers, and bringing in a new era of late night dancing.
1980. Artist Jack Brusca created what is the first logo art for the new Pavilion. A painter, costume and jewelry designer he was obviously involved. Below he inscribes the painting done in his style to Bernie. I am assuming this is Bernice Lubitch who was an owner in the Sandpiper.
The cause was AIDS, said Samantha LePage, a friend.
Mr. Brusca won critical praise when he had his first one-man show, in 1969 at the Bonino Galleria on West 57th Street, for painting that came out of Leger and the mechanistic tradition but was not enslaved to those origins.
At a 1973 show in that gallery, he was lauded by one critic as being “just about as sharp as they come” in the illusionistic representation of sleek three-dimensional forms through a mixture of surrealism, pop and hard-edged neo-realism.
“Beck,” 1986, Jack Brusca, acrylic, 75″ x 60″, Courtesy of the Estate of Jack Brusca
His last one-man show, in 1989, was at the Paraty Gallery in SoHo. His paintings were also shown at several museums and acquired by the Whitney Museum and others. Mr. Brusca also designed sets and costumes for ballet. His costumes for Louis Falco’s ballet “Escarpot,” performed by Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at City Center in 1991, won critical praise. He also designed jewelry. He was born in Flushing, Queens, and graduated from Flushing High School and studied at the University of New Hampshire and the New York School of Visual Arts.
He is survived by his companion, Mark O’Connor.
“Hybrid,” 1979, Jack Brusca, Silkscreen, Signed and numbered in pencil, 28 in. x 28 in. (71.12 cm x 71.12 cm
“The Pool,” 1975, Jack Brusca, acrylic, 60″ x 60″
What would turn out to be my first home in Fire Island was as unextraordinary as it turned out to be beachily practical. Once indoors it became immediately obvious that these guys did not earn their living in Design & Decoration, like so many of our neighbors, nor did they subscribe to Architectural Digest. Externally, it consisted of two slanted-roof wings in ginger-colored cedar planking, attached to a central living-dining area. Inside, was the same planking although in a lighter shade. Above the large refectory table, a good sized skylight opened to aid circulation from opposing floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The bedrooms were rectangles just large enough to hold a double bed, with a closet. John’s room had its own bathroom with a tall shower, and backed onto the kitchen, and was thus bit more private. Jack and Frank’s rooms were in a wing across the spacious center and they shared a bathroom. The kitchen was in dark greens and reds. Functional. Two pieces of art decorated the barely furnished—couch, two rattan chairs, a few lamp tables—living area: a brightly colored parrotlike papier-mâché sculpture upon one wall, and a pop-art painting of a slice of American flag and the right half of someone’s face. I later discovered these had been brought out by their creator: house guest number one Jack Brusca. One deck held wooden chairs and a table.
The entire place looked simple and masculine and I said as much to Frank and Jack. They’d evidently been out late Friday night and looked not totally awake when I arrived and they unhelpfully grunted in response.
It was the oddest meeting of future house mates. John and Randy vanished into John’s room to fuck, while Jack and Frank ate breakfast, made plans succinctly for the rest of the weekend, and occasionally would ask me a question, although they barely heeded my answer. I found both men to be dauntingly handsome, although in distinctive and individual ways, and ultrabutch. Jack, with his sculptured head, close-cut curling hair, and prizefighter’s face—large soft eyes, broken nose, and sensuous mouth—took the breakfast dishes and began washing them. He wore tight fitting shorts and a loose A-shirt which couldn’t help but show off his lithe compact body and catlike movements, his heavily muscled arms. Frank, meanwhile brooded darkly over a third cup of coffee, brushing crumbs out of his luxuriant black beard. He was more muscular than Jack, with a “Draw Me and You Too Will Become an Artist” conventionally dark-eyed beautiful face that defied precise ethnicity. Both men were much photographed later on and Frank’s head and torso would be photographed and drawn by David Martin to represent Zeus, king of the Gods, in my retelling of the Ganymede legend, An Asian Minor.
For the moment, however, I was made to understand that Frank Diaz was the number three person in the tonily successful New York Endowment for the Arts. While the other roommate, Jack Brusca’s art had become so successful, that he’d been commissioned by the government to go to still abuilding jungle capitol Brasilia and put up a hundred-foot sized sculpture.
Like myself, Jack had to battle his family’s wishes and plans in order to become an artist. That lack of parental support continued to breed insecurity. It galled him, remaining internalized for years, but making every tiny defeat he encountered more bitter, and every step forward more gratifying. Even so, whenever Jack and I met he was always filled with future plans and recent successes—he was doing murals for a ministry in Sao Paolo, he’d had a museum show in Mexico City, he’d just designed the costumes and sets of Roland Petit’s ballet corps—filled with optimism, and that is how I best remember him now that he’s gone –True Stories by Felice Picano.
The original plans seen here called for a restaurant “Natural Source” upstairs. It evolved then in 1984 to the Pavilion Café owned by Frederic Rambauod, Dominique Rougier, and Alan Ceppos. Both were not a success.
Contractor Bill Katen was hired for the job.
1982. The Red Star Cafe opens with new management Leonard Gal, John Minchik, and chef Leon. Sulanowski. This effort fails also, and the emphasis on nightclub becomes more dominant.
1983 The Pavilion wore many hats. Below as a market.
1983. Frequent Pines visitor Disco producer Jaques Morali brings his group The Ritchie Family to perform at the Pavilion.
DJ John Ceglia begins his residency bringing in a new era of late night dancing in the Pines. Up until then it was all about the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove.
1985 Bar staff.
1986-87. Realtor Bob Howard leases the Pavilion, and begins a new tradition called High Tea. This takes place on the former restaurant site on the upper deck. It was here where you migrated from the Tea Dance at the Blue Whale ending at 8. Stand and model, as it was sometimes called you got caught up on all the comings and goings of the weekend.
Upstairs were 3 bars. On the left was what was called the garage bar. Center the main bar , and right corner bar with back side exit/entrance.
Alexandra Akira was the first woman bartender in the Pavilion.
Pavilion t shirt 1987.
1988. Jason McCarthy as manager of the Pavilion.
1989-Pavilion bartenders with Bobby Gurecki, Andrew Tonio, and Felix VanDewilde.
Artist John Laub’s painting of the harbor and the Pavilion.
1989 . John Whyte purchases the Pavilion adding the chandeliers and skylights to the club design.
1991. Lighting designer Marsha Stern working the lights at the Pavilion.
Lighting designer Marsha Stern gives her history with the Pavilion:
It was the Summer of 1979 and in The Pines the most exciting event of the season was Beach ’79 (a ground-breaking fund raiser for FIPFD) however the ‘buzz’ was all about what was going to happen next season because we knew this was the last season of the Sandpiper. I spent many a summer evening with friends as we discussed what WE would do to to create the ‘ideal dance club’ in The Pines…SHOULD we ever get the chance. Only a few months later, I found myself sitting at Roy Thode’s kitchen table with Harvey Einman as we awaited the news…a call came from Harvey’s partner Jerry Arcaro, who was in Key West. We closed!! At that moment we know our plans and hopes from the summer had a chance to be realized.
Charles de Rohan Chabot , Sam Haddad, Jerry Arcaro, Steve Goodfriend and Larry Lavorgnia , and Harvey Einman all came from various backgrounds and with the exception of Sam, none of them really knew anything about the nightclub business. But they were all part of The Pines Community and DID know what they wanted the space to offer the Community and it was from that point we went forward. Construction began as soon as possible that Winter/Spring with William Katen Custom Building at the helm and the club opened it’s inaugural season in May 1980. Alan Dodd was chosen as “house DJ” and opened the Pines Pavilion to kick off the season. Tom Kozalka had been chosen as lighting & technical director. While the sound system was permanently installed the lighting system for the first season was all rented.
DJ Alan Dodd
It was in the Fall of 1980 that I was approached by ‘The Partners’, specifically Larry, Jerry and Charles to take the helm as next season’s technical director. Much to my surprise at the time, I was also informed that the lighting system from opening season was rented and I needed to design and install the light-show as well. March and April 1981 saw me and my crew (Total Stage Associates) implementing my lighting design and completing installation in time for a early/mid May opening. George Corwin, Electrical Contractor, worked closely with me, to insure all electrical codes and issues were met and personally signed off on our installation. While elements of the light-show changed over the years, the electrical plan and basic design of power, control and distribution remained the same until 2006 when the building was ‘peeled back’ to some of Bill Katen’s original work and some old Sandpiper remnants.
Just as Flamingo and 12 West were to the Sandpiper, the Pavilion enjoyed a natural relationship with the Saint, especially when it came to talent – obviously they were both seasonal and attracted the same crowd. Alan Dodd’s success that opening Summer led to his being chosen to open The Saint and become one of it’s premier house DJ’s. The initial DJ roster of the Pines Pavilion contained all the expected favorites from NYC — which also included many DJ’s from The Sandpiper’s last season. Along with Alan there was Wayne Scott, Richie Rivera and Robbie Leslie among the many recognizable popular DJ names of the era. As the Saint’s DJ roster grew over the years one can also find parallels to the growth of the Pavilion’s roster. By the time the summer of ’81 rolled around I, too, was firmly ensconced in my own relationship with The Saint having spent their opening season working with Mark Ackerman as both a ‘behind the scenes’ lighting person and also became the first female to ‘perform on lighting’ in March of 1981, working alongside my dearest friend and soulmate Roy Thode. In my position at the Pavilion during the summer of ’81, I was able to bring in various ‘talent’ by way of lighting operators to compliment the DJ selections and naturally Mark Ackerman, Jim Hicks and Richard Tucker were among the notable ‘light-people’ quickly added to our roster. The following season and for many years afterward that roster (with the notable addition of Richard Sabala as Mark Ackerman had relocated to Baltimore by 1984) until the John Whyte era which brought in Michael Stein at the helm along with the famous chandeliers.
DJ Roy Thode
DJ Robbie Leslie joins the Pavilion experience.
DJ Michael Fierman begins his residency and the art of late night dancing becomes part of the Pines culture.
DJ Susan Morabito with DJ Michael Fierman.
A favorite feature the balconies enabled you to view down below, but also feel part of the scene.
The reputation of the Pavilion joined the ranks with clubs like the Saint and Paradise Garage as a haven for the party experience.
DJ Susan Morabito joins the male dominated DJ pool at the Pavilion.
Soon others like Buc, DJ Sharon White, Warren Gluck, Fernando-Mola-Davis, Lawrence -Needham, Mark Tarbox were joining the Pavilion experience.
The High Tea deck as it became know…
The 90’s defined the Pavilion as the late night experience of Fire Island. Michael Trillo on lights with DJ Michael Fierman.
More and more DJs like David Martinez were adding the Pavilion in the Pines to their resume.