Fire Island is an extremely narrow but very long barrier island, with the Atlantic Ocean to its south and Great South Bay (and Long Island) to its north. Most of it is accessible only by boat, and to a first-time visitor stepping off the ferry, it seems like a charming paradise of modest cottages dotting the hushed woods, a magical summer camp where cars are banned and deer leap along the boardwalks spreading Lyme disease. All of this is true, but Fire Island also boasts an incredible array of spectacular beach mansions, built improbably on this skinny sandbar using construction materials delivered from the mainland at astronomical cost.
Click through for some enviable property porn, showing just a fraction of the elaborate piles and modernist homes that dot the island on the beach and bay side. All photos were taken from public space space while wandering around the island over Labor Day weekend, with exact locations, addresses and residents deliberately omitted—except for The Belvedere, which is a hotel. An amazing hotel:
If you're looking to get out there this year, you can still find rentals at more modest properties through October—summer's not over, after all, and Fire Island is said to be exceptionally tranquil in the early fall, if you're into that sort of thing. For a place that's accessible by mass transit (LIRR to the ferry, via shuttle bus), it really feels like you're Out There when you're out there.