Pines Phone Directory
In 1988 Charlie Ziff a Pines resident decided to create a project that would enable him to spend time with his 10 year old daughter Emily. They came up with the idea of a Pines Phone directory. A place one could look to to find a neighbor or someone new. It was also their wish that proceeds would go to AIDS organizations fighting the disease that had just begun taking those who were loved.
What made the directory unique was that, in addition to last names being listed in traditional alphabetical order, names were also arranged by house address and by first name. The first names listings proved invaluable because they addressed those situations that didn’t lend themselves to easily catching ea dance , on the beach or in the… woods. Recognizing the utility of these listings, the publisher put them in front of the directory someone’s last name, e.g., jam-packed , on the beach or in the, ahem, woods. Recognizing the utility of these listings, the publisher put them in front of the directory.
- Most popular was the first names section. Since they were already arranged alphabetically, it was relatively easy to determine the most prevalent names on the Island. (I’m surprised the publishers didn’t do it.) During the six summers between 1996-2001 I’d leisurely page through the directory and take a count (while sipping a cocktail, of course). In the summer of 2000 the Fire Island News even reported on the the analysis. The names Michael, David and John always vied for the top (no pun intended). However, the long stereotyped name, Bruce, wasn’t even among the top 20.
Most popular names in the Pines 1996-2001 average.
Michael – 82
Peter – 37
Jim – 37
Bill – 36
Paul – 34
It’s striking how mainstream the names were. For example, in 2000 there were just four listings for Carlos, three for Juan, while Miguel and Julio each had two. And, not surprisingly, there were fewer than a dozen women listed. As an indication of how popular the directory became, the number of persons listed jumped 60% between 1996 and 2001, from 1,470 to 2,500.
Covers were often Fire Island scenes done in ink and water colors by Pines artists such as the late John Laub and Ferron Bell or Glen Wielgus.
Alas, like print media in general, the directory seemed to lose its utility in the 21st century. Although e-mail addresses were added and listings could be be submitted to a website, it seemed to come out later, suffered from sloppy proofreading and one summer a sizable number of names were missing. But in its heyday it was indispensable – and worth remembering.
Copy provided by ZeitGAYst.
Phone books courtesy of Bruce McDougald.