The Meat Rack Est. 1950’s.
Photo by Sean Basil McGiver.
The stretch of land between the Pines and Cherry Grove has been called many things including Judy Garland Memorial park. Officially known as the Carrington Tract for on it sits the historic Carrington House. To the insiders it’s simply known as the Meat Rack.
Since the early 50’s the men of Cherry Grove found refuge and release in the wooded paths that connect the two communities of the Pines and Grove. In the early days of Cherry Grove’s gay population growth it was a big draw for many closeted homosexuals, and would initially take place on various boardwalks. As the Grove became more populated it moved east to the woods. There were rules of conduct including no lights or talking. All for the purpose of anonymity. The barriers of race and social class fell when you arrived. You could arrive alone, and be assured that you could find a casual encounter in “The Rack” as it was called. The word got to the mainland, and with that came the raids by the Suffolk Police where many were outed publicly.
Nudity has always been part of both communities. The land owned by the Fire Island National Seashore has struggled with that concept and the goings on daily. There have been conflicts on and off for years.
The sexual freedom of the 1970’s made the Meat Rack a meeting place for many. Day or night one could go there for casual encounter with one or more, or just to watch. It even made the movies in the cult porn movie “Boys in the Sand.”
In the camouflage and darkness of the Meat Rack one could connect in a place where age, size, beauty fall by the wayside for carnal pleasure.
Photo’s by David Morgan.
For those on the outside sometimes it was spelled out literally…
Photo by Diana DiPrima
In a world where we now connect through devices the raw physical connection still goes on.
Photo by Sam Zalutsky
It is also the place where Art can flourish…
Robert Zash George Towne
The Pines Nude Drawing group uses the Meat Rack as a back drop.
In 1975 there was a proposed walk between the Grove and the Pines. This never came to pass…
More Artwork by George Towne.
Today it continues to be one of the many wonders of the Gay Fire Island experience…
Aerial photo’s by Mike Fisher.