Atlantique is a community for the serious boating enthusiast. Located on one of the narrowest parts of Fire Island, the community of Altantique was founded in 1912 by Carlton Brewster and Dr. George King. Shortly thereafter a strip of land to its west that had been known as Sea Fire Beach was acquired by the Town of Islip and deemed a public recreational facility. Subsequently Sea Fire Beach was renamed Atlantique Beach. Today the two Atlantiques are at once distinct yet linked. The community proper consists of only about 50 homes, including the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Fire Island headquarters.
The park consists of a marina with more than 150 slips that offer electrical and fresh water hook-ups, pump-out station, 24-hour restrooms and hot showers, children’s playground, handball and basketball courts, barbeque areas, as well as lifeguard protected bay and ocean beaches and sand dune guided walkways. Sorry, no pets allowed on or about the town-operated facilities. Marina docking rates are extremely reasonable for Islip Town residents, but higher for non-residents. Availability is at a first come first served basis at the digression of the dockmaster. Anchoring out on either side of the marina is permissible. The Altantique Marina dockmaster’s office monitors VHF Channel 9 and is also available by telephone at 631-583-8610. The snack shack serves as restaurant, mini-mart, and all-round social gathering spot.
Additional services are available via the western and eastern neighbors of Fair Harbor or Ocean Beach respectively, both of which are a short walk away via the ocean or the famous “Burma Road.” Ferry access on the Dunewood/ Atlantique line out of Bay Shore is limited to just a few boats a day, so those without private boat access often opt for using the Ocean Beach or Fair Harbor lines as alternatives. The quiet rustic charm of Altantique makes it worth the trip.
Located just to the west of Ocean Beach, Corneille Estates is most popular among single young professionals, and while group shares are common, so is a family atmosphere and sense of neighborhood. Only one and a half residential blocks in size, the developer of this diminutively sized community was once in business partnership with John Wilbur, the entrepreneurial founder of Ocean Beach, its much larger and more powerful neighbor directly east. However with different visions and business philosophies they parted ways prior to 1912. This vision is still apparent today as Corneille has a much more lush and natural appearance as well as some surprisingly handsome, yet understated architecture.
The compact community is accessible by winding boardwalks and defined by lush wooded areas that provide shade from the summer sun. Corneille Estates is also the official home of “Trangle Ball” ® a game somewhat related to handball which is a local favorite and along with volleyball played on the beaches almost every summer weekend for almost decades. Trangle Ball tournaments get very competitive and always draw the in crowds!
Close enough to enjoy all the amenities Ocean Beach has to offer, but far enough away as not to be stifled by its abundance of rules and ordinances. Corneille Estates residents have easy access to the downtown Ocean Beach scene just a short stroll or bicycle ride away. Woodhull Elementary School, the only public school facility that is part of Fire Island Union Free School District is also located in Corneille and offers a baseball field, basketball courts, and a public library that offers computer use and Internet access at no charge. There is no direct ferry line, water taxi landing spot, or a community marina in Corneille Estates. Residents must look to Ocean Beach for these services as well.
The unofficial capital of Fire Island, Ocean Beach is a 600-home community with the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants and stores on the entire island. Overflowing with small-town charm reminiscent of a simpler time, main street walks are lined with ice cream shops, mom and pop markets, and “beach chic” boutiques. Local children sell painted shell souvenirs out of red radio-flyer wagons. Just outside of town, Ocean Beach walkways are lined with traditional summer cottages that are both home to longtime Fire Island families and home away from home for many share-house transients.
Ocean Beach started as two communities that joined together after the fact when becoming an incorporated village in 1921. A businessman named John Wilbur founded the community of Ocean Beach in 1908 and its eastern boundary only extended as far as Bungalow Walk. What is the last three western blocks of Ocean Beach today (Ocean, Wilmot, and Surf Roads) were know as Stay-a-While Estates, a real estate enterprise organized by the heirs of New York Supreme Court Justice Wilmot M. Smith in 1912. Ocean Beach was once home to a grand hotel named the New Surf Hotel, which was destroyed by fire around 1918. To this day many confuse the history of the New Surf Hotel with its neighbor and namesake near Kismet that had been known as the Surf Hotel, but they were in fact separate entities.
Ocean Beach also has been known as “The Land of No,” a moniker it gained by its labyrinth of local laws and ordinances to govern life within the Village in ways both large and small. These rules restrict activities like bicycle riding, playing ball or picnicking on the beach. This idiosyncrasy hit a climax in 1977 when the great “cookie case” made national headlines when two teenage boys went to court to defend their right to eat freshly baked cookies purchased at a local bakery on the Ocean Beach public walk and prevailed. The Land of No characterization has relaxed in Ocean Beach over time, but it has never completely gone away.